Perth Test: India Bounce Back After Aussie Domination on Day 1
One session into the first day of the second Test between India and Australia, and captain Virat Kohli had a thing or two to worry about. The Indian bowlers were yet to pick up their first wicket of the day, while the Aussie openers looked comfortable at the crease.
But after Marcus Harris and Aaron Finch returned from the lunch break with 66/0 on the scoreboard, the visitors managed to get back into the game.
Indian bowlers picked up three wickets in the second session, and three after Tea to restrict Australia to 277 for six on the opening day of the Test.
Australia Opt to Bat, Umesh Replaces Ashwin
In the morning session, Australia defied a green-top wicket and made steady progress to reach 66-0 at lunch.
This was after the hosts won the toss and opted to bat. Australia named an unchanged eleven from the first Test, while India made two changes. Hanum Vihari and Umesh Yadav came in for the injured Rohit Sharma and R Ashwin, as India fielded an all-pace attack for only the third time in their Test history.
The Australian opening pair of Harris and Finch cruised to 47-0 in the first hour of play, and brought up their 50-run partnership off 90 balls in the 15th over of the morning.
India bowled better in the second hour of play and conceded only 19 runs in 13 overs. But the damage had already been done as the duo was set and the new ball had been wasted on a fresh pitch.
India Bounce Back Into the Game
Post lunch, Marcus Harris 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 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.
The big moment came soon after when KL Rahul dropped Harris (on 60 not out) 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 Ajinkya Rahane at slip. He only added 10 runs for the chance given.
In between, Yadav used the pressure built and etched out Usman Khawaja's (5) wicket, out caught behind in the 46th over as India gained the fruits of their hard work in this second hour of play.
Marsh, Head Build Strong 5th Wicket Stand
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.