Monday, May 25, 2020 09:01:26 PM
Virat Kohli and his boys' woes against quality spin bowling continued on the opening day of the second Test against Australia in Bengaluru. If Steve O'Keefe wreaked havoc in the first Test, it was the turn of his spin partner Nathan Lyon to rip through the Indian batting on Saturday as he finished with figures of 8/50 to bundle out India for a paltry 189 in the first innings.
KL Rahul was the only Indian batsman who looked to apply himself on a wicket that had no demons in it. It was unfortunate that he missed out on a well-deserved century as Lyon dismissed him for 90, the ninth Indian wicket to fall on the day, caught by Matt Renshaw at mid-off.
At stumps, Australia were placed at 40 for no loss, trailing by 149 runs in the first innings with David Warner (23) and Matt Renshaw (15) at the crease. The advantage clearly lies with the visitors at the end of the first day's play.
Earlier, Kohli won the toss and decided to bat first on a wicket that looked tailor-made for batting. But then, his faith wasn't reposed by the batsmen as Australia struck early. Pace spearhead Mitchell Starc struck in the third over of the morning as he removed Abhinav Mukund for a duck.
Picked in place of an injured Murali Vijay, Mukund failed to make it count as he missed a full delivery on his legs to be adjudicated leg-before with India's score reading 11. Rahul and Cheteshwar Pujara looked to consolidate after the loss of the early wicket as the Aussie bowlers kept bowling a disciplined line and length.
With skipper Steve Smith looking to restrict the flow of runs, he waited till the 22nd over of the innings to introduce Lyon to the bowling crease. And Lyon struck in his fourth over. Bowling a tight line, Lyon got one to bounce after pitching, only for Pujara to inside edge it straight to Peter Handscomb at forward short-leg. With Pujara (17) dismissed at the stroke of lunch, India went into the break with the score reading 72/2.
Back after lunch, Kohli and Rahul started defensively as both looked to play the Australian bowlers with respect. But there was no stopping Lyon as he struck again. And this time, it was the all-important wicket of Kohli (12). Playing for the turn and bounce, Kohli shouldered arms to one that thudded onto his pads after pitching.
Even though it looked pretty plumb, Kohli decided to use the DRS. The end result was a wasted review as the third umpire decided in favour of the on-field umpire. A dejected Kohli walked back as Ajinkya Rahane came in to join Rahul.
Having had a torrid time in recent games, Rahane started cautiously as he looked to bide time in the middle. Rahul on the other hand looked composed as he played every ball on merit. He was particularly severe on anything pitched up, as he unleashed the cover drive with elan.
But a sudden rush of blood saw Rahane trying to jump down the track and hit Lyon over the in-field. The end result was a simple stumping for Matthew Wade, as Lyon picked his third wicket. Wade did fumble to collect one that didn't turn after pitching, but Rahane (17) was so far down the track that Wade had all the time in the world.
Karun Nair's dismissal was almost a repeat as the Karnataka batsman jumped down the track to miss the line of the ball and get stumped. Only this time, the bowler was Steve O'Keefe. Playing beautifully, Nair (26) suddenly decided to jump down the track and missed the line completely. India's score read 156/5 as Ashwin walked in to join a hapless looking Rahul.
Ashwin's stay at the crease was again cut short by a beautiful delivery from Lyon that turned and bounced just enough to kiss his glove and land into the safe hands of David Warner at leg slip.
Wriddhiman Saha too followed Ashwin back to the pavilion as he managed just one run after facing 14 deliveries. While Ashwin was done by one that turned and bounced, Saha was foxed by one from Lyon that held its line after pitching. Saha looked to play for the turn and ended up giving an easy catch to Smith at first slip.
After that it was a clear case of just cleaning up the tail as Lyon dismissed Ravindra Jadeja (3) and Ishant Sharma (0) in quick succession. In between he also dismissed Rahul as the opener looked to pick up some quick runs with the tail showing no signs of wagging.
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