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India bounce back but Australia still on top

Indian allrounder Hanuma Vihari alongwith skipper Virat Kohli and wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant celebrates after taking the wicket of Australian opener Marcus Harris on the first day of the 2nd Test at Perth, on Friday.
 PERTH, Dec 14: India recovered from a patchy start to reduce Australia to 277 for six on the opening day of the second Test but the hosts still walked out with advantage considering the bowler-friendly conditions, here on Friday.

A 112-run opening stand between Marcus Harris (70) and Aaron Finch (50) vindicated their decision to bat on green top before Indian bowlers made a decent recovery by taking three wickets each in the last two sessions.

With the pitch offering better assistance from the post lunch session and the Indian bowlers managing to rectify their line and length, the visitors made in roads into the Australian batting line-up.

Skipper Tim Paine (16 not out) and Pat Cummins (11 not out) were unbeaten at stumps after enduring a testing spell from Jasprit Bumrah.

Pacer Ishant Sharma (2/35) and spinner Hanuma Vihari (2/53) took two wickets apiece while Bumrah (1/41) and Umesh Yadav (1/68) accounted for one batsman each.

Following a good start, Shaun Marsh (45) and Peter Handscomb (7) looked to extend their fourth-wicket partnership but could only manage to add three runs as Sharma broke through early in the final session.

Handscomb looked to cut away too close to his body, and Virat Kohli held a stunning one-handed catch at second slip to dismiss him in the second over after tea.

Marsh and Travis Head (58) then added 84 runs for the fifth wicket, and in doing so took Australia past 200 in the 69th over. India could have broken through early, but Rishabh Pant put down a regulation catch from Marsh (on 24) off Vihari in the 67th over.

India were looking in bother again when Marsh fell against the run of play, trying to cut Vihari and edging to first slip where Ajinkya Rahane made no mistake.

Head reached his third Test half-century off 70 balls but threw it all away as he square cut a wide delivery off Sharma six overs later and was caught at wide third man.

Earlier, India struck thrice post lunch as Australia were reduced to 145-3 at tea.

Jasprit Bumrah (1/41) and Umesh Yadav (1/68) struck during a tight spell in the second hour of play after lunch, as Australia lost three wickets for 22 runs.

Post lunch, Marcus Harris had brought up his maiden Test half-century off 90 balls as he took his opening stand with Aaron Finch (50) to 112.

Their 100-stand had come up in the 34th over, with India leaking another 48 runs in the hour’s play after the break. Mohammed Shami (0-63) conceded 23 runs in his four-over second-spell after lunch.

Finch too reached his second Test half-century off 103 balls as Australia reached a position of strength. But things turned thereafter as Bumrah struck first up in the 36th over, trapping Finch lbw with a fuller delivery.

KL Rahul dropped Harris (on 60) off Shami in the 45th over, with the fielder failing to time his jump at second slip. It didn’t cost India too much though as four overs later, he hit a surprise bouncer from Vihari straight at Rahane at slip.


Australia 1st Innings: Marcus Harris c A Rahane b Hanuma Vihari 70, Aaron Finch lbw b Bumrah 50, Usman Khawaja c Pant b Umesh 5, Shaun Marsh c A Rahane b Hanuma Vihari 45, Peter Handscomb c Kohli b Ishant 7, Travis Head c Shami b Ishant 58, Tim Paine batting 16, Pat Cummins batting 11. Extras: (LB-3, B-4 W-7, NB-1) 15. Total: (For 6 wickets in 90 overs) 277. Fall of wickets: 112-1, 130-2, 134-3, 148-4, 232-5, 251-6. Bowling: Ishant Sharma 16-7-35-2, Jasprit Bumrah 22-8-41-1, Umesh Yadav 18-2-68-1, Mohammed Shami 19-3-63-0, Hanuma Vihari 14-1-53-2, Murali Vijay 1-0-10-0. – PTI

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