Kuhnemann and Lyon spell India’s doom, spin hosts out for a paltry 109

India’s Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel during the first day of the 3rd Test match against Australia, at Holkar Cricket Stadium, in Indore on Wednesday.

India’s Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel during the first day of the 3rd Test match against Australia, at Holkar Cricket Stadium, in Indore on Wednesday.
| Photo Credit: ANI

There was turn, bounce and puffs of dust from the dry surface in the first hour. It was a sign of what to expect.

India, electing to bat, was spun out for 109 on the opening day of the third Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy at the Holkar Stadium here on Wednesday.

The odd delivery kept low too, but the Australians did better than expected, finishing the day at 156 for four. Ace left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja scalped all four.

Australia, ahead by 47, holds the edge. Thursday’s first hour will be critical.

Matthew Kuhnemann was Australia’s hero with five for 16. He settled on an ideal length, in the dry area of the pitch, and struck with his quicker variety of spin. On view was control, accuracy, turn and incision.

Then, the pitch appeared to settle down. The Australians too batted normally without pre-meditation.

Jadeja struck early, having Travis Head leg-before playing across. Then big fish Marnus Labuschagne, on zero, played on to the left-arm spinner, but it turned out to be another no-ball from Jadeja.

The left-handed Usman Khawaja and Labuschagne negotiated the Indian spinners capably. There were no desperate sweeps. Both batters trusted their defence and used their feet.

Labuschagne, in particular, played a lot off his backfoot, using the depth of the crease.

Desperate measures

As the partnership swelled, the Indians became desperate. Reviews were wasted and the one occasion when replay showed R. Ashwin had trapped Labuschagne leg-before, the review had not been taken. Khawaja’s cover-drives had elegance. Like Labuschagne, he was picking runs in front of the wicket, which is a good sign. He was also the dominant partner.

Eventually, Jadeja ended the 96-run second-wicket partnership, castling Labuschagne (31) with low bounce.

Khawaja was coasting on 60 (147b, 4×4) when he swept Jadeja into Shubman Gill’s hands at deep mid-wicket. A big strike.

Steve Smith was batting with belief. However, soon after whipping Jadeja to the boundary, he nicked an away-spinner to be well held by ’keeper K.S. Bharat.

Earlier, Kuhnemann gave little away, keeping it tight, Consistently turning the ball from the right-hander, he also got a few to go through straight.

Rohit Sharma charged him and was fatally beaten by the away-turner and the crisp-stroking Gill edged a Kuhnemann delivery that turned from off-stump.

Shreyas Iyer, denied width for the cut by Kuhnemann, played on. And Ashwin fell to a full delivery of sharp turn from the left-armer.

Wily off-spinner Nathan Lyon maintained the pressure created by Kuhnemann. He spun one into Cheteshwar Pujara, who was bowled attempting to cut. Lyon spun his deliveries, and mixed his trajectory. Jadeja, promoted for a left-right combination, attempted to punch Lyon, mistimed into cover’s hands. Young off-spinner Todd Murphy chipped in too, sending back a battling Virat Kohli (22) with a quicker, fuller delivery.

Bharat sparkled briefly with his slog-sweeps but fell to a Lyon delivery that held its line.

Tottering at 84 for seven going into lunch, the Indian innings concluded soon despite some hefty blows from Umesh Yadav.

The Test began dramatically. Replays showed Rohit was out twice in Mitchell Starc’s fiery first over, caught behind and then leg-before. The Aussies did not review on both occasions.

How will the Test end? Australia is ahead but this match could go either way.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *