New Delhi, 18 February:  Pacer Mohd. Shami (4/60) spinners R.Ashwin (3/57) and Ravinder Jadeja (3/68) restricted Australia to 263 in their first innings and in reply India were 21 without loss at stumps on the opening day of the second cricket test at Arun Jaitely Stadium here on Friday Usman Khawaja (81)and Peter Handscomb (72 not out) were the standout batsmen for Australia 

Australia captain Pat Cummins won the toss and opted to bat.The opening pair of David Warner and Usman Khawaja put up 50 runs in 15.2 over before Mohd Shami struck for the home side with a sharp delivery as he had   David Warner (15) caught behind by wicket keeper  S.Bharat. 

However, on the other end Usman Khawaja remained unfazed and negotiated the seam and spin with ease. He and Marnus Labuschagne put up 41-run for the second wicket and the visitors looked like putting up big score but then R.Ashwin  not only broke this stand but claimed another wicket in quick succession to put the visitors on back foot. 

It was in the 23rd over, Ashwin struck twice in three balls. First, he trapped Labuschagne (18) leg before with an off-break delivery and then off the last ball of the over he sent back Steve Smith (0) as the former Aussies captain gave a low catch behind to Bharat.  Shami then got rid of Travis Head (12) to reduce the visitors to 108 for 4 

Khawaja was in defiant mood and looked well set for a century. The well-set opener went for a reverse sweep against Ravinder Jadeja and KL Rahul took a stunning one-handed catch to end his stay in the middle.  

It was Jadeja his 250th Test wicket while Khawaja, who scored 81 runs off 125 balls (12 fours and a six) was left shell shocked and Australia was 167 for 5. 

Ashwin then claimed his third wicket as he claimed wicketkeeper Alex Carey, before he could open his account and Australia was in trouble.  

But Peter Handscomb stood between India and quick breakthrough . He faced spin and seam with aplomb as he shared crucial partnerships with the tailenders to help the visitors post a respectable total.  He remained unbeaten for 72 off 142 balls (9 x4) and his 59-run partnership with skipper Cummins did frustrate the bowlers. 

Interestingly India took two wickets on the score of 91. Then two on 167 and 168. And now they have taken two more on 227. 

Shami wrapped up the Australian innings in the final session as he bowled left-arm spinner and debutant Matthew Kuhnemann for six. Handscomb scored nine boundaries in his 142-ball knock. 

Ashwin was the most incisive bowler, He had two long spells for to pick up 3 for 57 in 21 overs, Mohd Shami bowled attacking lines and lengths, which showed in his economy rate of over four, but he also produced four wickets.   Ravinder Jadeja went at 3.23 an over but still managed to take three wickets. 

India managed to survive the nine overs before stumps without a loss but the way Australian spinners bowled it was evident that it is going to be tough for the batters tomorrow. 

Test specialist Cheteshwar Pujara was presented with a special cap on his landmark 100th match and entered the field through a corridor created by the players. 

The hosts have not lost a Test at the venue – previously called Feroz Shah Kotla – since 1987. 

"If we bowl really well, think 260 is very competitive." Said Usman Khawaja 

Talking to media persons after the stumps, Mohd Shami said "Winning or losing toss isn't in our hands. But no matter what the conditions are, the mindset of the whole team doesn't get affected by winning or losing the toss, as one doesn't have to go to that frame of mind. One has to keep the mindset that whatever responsibilities are given first, we will do it very well."

"We always have that kind of mindset and be positive all the time. All the boys are in good mood and laughing as well as chatting with each other. Our mindset is that, whether we win or lose the toss, we will do our best as a team, and not think too much," said Shami .

"If you see specially, there isn't much difference in Indian wickets. It is just that you get help from the new ball and with the old ball if you are able to get the reverse swing. But in the Indian conditions, as a fast bowler, you have to bowl well in the areas and have to maintain your pace. There wasn't a difference as such, as runs were coming, but it is important to find a good area," he added.

About the pitch ,Shami opined  "According to me, when we come after playing domestic matches, I think all the fast bowlers have come here after performing well and know the home conditions very well. It will be wrong to say that pitches are conducive for fast bowlers or spinners."

"Take up the recent domestic season records, the fast bowlers have performed very well. But it is necessary to focus on line and length, maintain pace and improve fitness. Even if there isn't something for the Indian fast bowlers, we will get reverse."

"There isn't much difference, but it is a bit slow at the top. But if you see the areas for a fast bowler, where there should be this line and length, there is bounce and some help for them too. We do need to accept that wickets in India will be on the slower side."


must read