Australia v India: Ravichandran Ashwin stars as tourists open up lead


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Ravichandran Ashwin celebrates a wicket
Ravichandran Ashwin’s three wickets came in the space of eight overs
First Test, Adelaide Oval (day two)
India 244 (Kohli 74, Starc 4-53) & 9-1
Australia 191 (Paine 73*; Ashwin 4-55, Yadav 3-40)
India lead by 62 runs

India took the upper hand as 15 wickets fell on day two of a fast-moving first Test against Australia in Adelaide.

The superb tourists bowled Australia out for 191 but lost opener Prithvi Shaw in reaching 9-1, a lead of 62.

Australia captain Tim Paine made an unbeaten 73, while Ravichandran Ashwin took 4-55 and Umesh Yadav 3-40.

Earlier, India slipped from 233-6 overnight to 244 all out inside the first 19 balls of the day as Mitchell Starc finished with 4-53.

Pat Cummins claimed 3-48 and also bowled Shaw through the gate in the six overs possible before the close in India’s second innings.

It could have been better for India, but they dropped Paine on 26 and twice reprieved Marnus Labuschagne, who made 47, in a sloppy fielding display.

Although Australia, superbly marshalled by Paine, added 80 for the final three wickets, India remain favourites to win this day-night encounter and take a 1-0 lead in the four-Test series.

How costly were India’s drops?

At the end of day one batsman Cheteshwar Pujara spoke about India’s desire to get up to at least 275, but their lower order succumbed tamely to the pace and accuracy of Starc and Cummins.

As disappointing as they were with the bat, India were superb with the ball on a pitch that offered some turn but little for the seamers.

Stand-in opener Matthew Wade and Joe Burns dug in for over an hour before both were trapped lbw for eight by Jasprit Bumrah.

Steve Smith, Australia’s talisman, looked unusually scratchy – he edged short of Virat Kohli at slip before fencing to Ajinkya Rahane at slip in off-spinner Ashwin’s first over to depart for one.

Travis Head and debutant Cameron Green fell cheaply to Ashwin – the former to a leaping Kohli catch at mid-wicket – to leave the hosts 79-5.

Labuschagne struggled against the shorter ball, dropped by Bumrah at fine leg on 12 and by Shaw at square leg on 21. He also overturned a caught behind on 41.

When Labuschagne and Pat Cummins were dismissed in the same Yadav over Australia were 111-7 and facing a three-figure deficit, but the superb Paine – who was also put down by Mayank Agarwal at deep fine leg – combined solid defence with counter-attacking strokeplay.

He hit 10 fours in his 99-ball innings, receiving useful support from Starc, Nathan Lyon and Josh Hazlewood to limit India’s lead to 53.

‘Test cricket like this cannot be beaten’ – reaction

Australia’s Marnus Labuschagne: “It was a day full of action. We fought hard with the bat and got ourselves close to their total, which is big. We got their bowlers bowling a few more overs, so we’re very much in this game.

“It’s just one of those wickets where you never quite feel in; you are just grinding your way into the innings.

“It was a nice opportunity to come out and bowl again – a few more overs might have been nice to potentially get them two or three down.

“The way Tim and the lower order batted was superb, scrapping our way through, and that’s the way it’s going to be for the whole game.”

Commentator Jim Maxwell on the BBC World Service’s Stumped podcast: “India will be happiest going into day three because Australia has to bat last.

“There’s a bit of uneven bounce – that’s why batting has been so difficult and at times very painstaking to watch – but the contest has been thrilling.

“If India can lead by 200-plus, they’re in an excellent position to go one up in the series.”

Listen to live coverage of day three on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra and the BBC Sport website on Saturday from 04:40 GMT.

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