Australian batters paid the price for some atrocious shot selection as Ravindra Jadeja’s career-best figures of 7 for 42 put India on verge of another big victory on day three of the second Test here on Sunday.
Starting the day at 61 for 1, Jadeja’s arm balls became a lethal weapon as Australia were bowled out for 113 inside the first session, leaving India with a paltry victory target of 115-run target to go 2-0 up in the series and also retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
Any team that wins the previous Border-Gavaskar series needs to draw the next series to retain the trophy. Australia lost nine wickets for only 52 runs and it was not the pitch but the messed up minds that led to their downfall for the second time in the series.
At lunch, India were 14 for 1 with out-of-form KL Rahul (1) once again being dismissed cheaply.
As many as five Australian batters went for the ugly slog sweep and some tried non-existent reverse sweep off deliveries bowled on either off-middle or leg-middle line. They were either bowled or leg before in the process as the deliveries started keeping low.
Ravichandran Ashwin (3/59) also played the supporting act to perfection as eight Australian batters failed to reach double figures save overnight pair of Travis Head (45) and Marnus Labschagne (35), who had briefly counter-attacked last evening with some degree of success.
But it all changed in the morning session once Head got an off-break from Ashwin and the edge was picked up by Kona Bharat behind the stumps.
It is a cardinal mistake to play a sweep or reverse sweep off straighter ones or sliders if there isn’t enough bounce. The ball that trapped Steve Smith plumb in-front was on leg middle and it was a fair call.
Labuschagne, who looked confident until then, went on backfoot to a delivery that was supposed to be met on the front-foot with a big stride. The result was the ball kept low and the batter was castled.
Matt Renshaw doesn’t have the technique or wherewithal to guts it out on these Indian dustbowls and he has been a ‘walking wicket’ for the home team.
Having replaced a concussed David Warner, Renshaw went for a sweep off Ashwin when the ball kept really low and the shot was not on.
The only delivery that was classic left-arm orthodox one was bowled to Peter Handscomb (0), the best batter in the first innings. Jadeja, for a change, tossed it up and drew him forward before it turned away enough to get an outside edge into Virat Kohli’s hands.
Pat Cummins’s ugly slog sweep shot was more out of anger and frustration rather than purpose and Matt Kuhnemann, while giving Jadeja his seventh wicket, looked as clueless as possible.
Australia 2nd Innings: Usman Khawaja c Iyer b Jadeja 6 Travis Head c Bharat b Ashwin 43 Marnus Labuschagne b Jadeja 35 Steven Smith lbw b Ashwin 9 Matt Renshaw lbw b Ashwin 2 Peter Handscomb c Kohli b Jadeja 0 Alex Carey b Jadeja 7 Pat Cummins b Jadeja 0 Nathan Lyon b Jadeja 8 Todd Murphy not out 3 Matthew Kuhnemann b Jadeja 0 Extras: 0
Total: (All out in 31.1 overs) 113
Fall of wickets: 1/23 2/65 3/85 4/95 5/95 6/95 7/95 8/110 9/113 10/113
Bowling: Ravichandran Ashwin 16-3-59-3, Mohammed Shami 2-0-10-0, Ravindra Jadeja 12.1-1-42-7, Axar Patel 1-0-2-0.
India 2nd Innings (Target: 115 runs) Rohit Sharma batting 12 KL Rahul c Carey b Lyon 1 Cheteshwar Pujara batting 1 Extras: 0
Total: (For 1 wicket in 4 overs) 14
Fall of wickets: 1/6
Bowling: Matthew Kuhnemann 2-0-12-0, Nathan Lyon 2-1-2-1.