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India leads Australia by 62 after taking lead in 1st test


ADELAIDE: India took a vital 53-run first-innings lead despite dropping at least four catches Friday on the second day of the first cricket test against Australia at the Adelaide Oval.

Australia captain Tim Paine made an unbeaten 73 off 99 balls before his team got bowled out for 191 on a wicket where 15 wickets fell in a day.

Paine’s side started the day promisingly when it needed only 22 minutes and 4.1 overs to wrap up India’s first innings for 244 after the visitors resumed on 233-6.

But off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin took apart the Australian top order to finish with 4-55. And the two pace bowlers – Umesh Yadav (3-40) and Jasprit Bumrah (2-52) – were rewarded for their immaculate bowling with the pink ball in the day-night test.

“Certainly not our best performance but you have to give India credit, they bowled really well and put us under pressure,” Paine said. “We couldn’t get any momentum, get some partnerships. We’ve got to chase what we’ve got to chase.”

India lost Prithvi Shaw (4) cheaply for the second successive innings during a nervy six overs to finish the day at 9-1 for an overall lead of 62 runs. Mayank Agarwal was unbeaten on 5 while Bumrah had yet to score.

Ashwin extracted a lot of bounce from the wicket and removed Steve Smith for 1 in his first over, and Travis Head could score only 7 while debutant Cameron Green departed for 11. Ashwin’s three-wicket burst left Australia in trouble at 92-5.

Yadav struck twice in one over early in the last session to leave Australia at 111-7. The right-arm fast bowler had Marnus Labuschagne trapped leg before wicket for 47 after the Australian was thrice dropped and also successfully overturned an lbw decision against him.

Paine, who hit 10 fours, did the bulk of the scoring in the company of the tail-enders to reduce the deficit before the Australian innings folded late in the last session.

India captain Virat Kohli took a stunning two-handed diving catch at short mid-wicket to dismiss Green off a mis-timed pull shot against Ashwin. Kohli will leave after the day-night test to be with his wife, who is expecting his first child next month.

Bumrah trapped makeshift opener Matthew Wade and Joe Burns leg before wicket in successive overs before the dinner break to leave Australia at 35-2 in the first session. Both openers struggled to score runs against a tidy three-pronged Indian pace attack led by Bumrah.

Bumrah jumped unnecessarily at the fine leg boundary and dropped a regulation catch off Labuschange in the penultimate over before the break. And Shaw gave another lease of life to Labuschagne when he dropped a head high catch at short mid-wicket off Bumrah.

Labuschagne also survived a close caught behind when he edged Bumrah and the ball went underneath the gloves of diving wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha.

India’s new-ball bowlers bowled four maiden overs in a row up front to Burns and Wade before the latter drove Yadav off the backfoot though to the covers for Australia’s first runs in the fifth over.

Pat Cummins removed Ashwin with the third ball of the day Friday, when a regulation edge resulted in a catch for Paine. Mitchel Starc struck with his third delivery of the day, dismissing Saha after the keeper’s loose stroke resulted in another catch for Paine.

Starc also fired out Yadav to finish with figures of 4-53 from 21 overs as he enhanced his reputation as the world’s best pink-ball bowler.

“We all know how good a bowler he is, then you throw a pink ball into his hands and he grows an extra pair of legs,” Australian bowler Nathan Lyon said of Starc during the innings break.

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