IND vs AUS, 3rd Test: AUS lead by 47 runs with 156/4

Khawaja gives Australia the lead after India collapse against spin. Matthew Kuhnemann took his maiden five-wicket haul to dismiss India for 109 in Indore

IND vs AUS, 3rd Test: AUS lead by 47 runs with 156/4
  • Sinchan Saha | March 1, 2023 | 2:28 pm

3rd Test, Day 1, SCORE: Australia 156 for 4 (Khawaja 60, Jadeja 4-63) lead India 109 (Kuhnemann 5-16, Lyon 3-35) by 47 runs

Australia had their best day of the tour thanks to Matthew Kuhnemann’s first five-wicket haul and Usman Khawaja’s hard-fought half-century. They finished the first day in Indore 47 runs ahead of India’s 109 runs with six wickets remaining.

Image Source: ESPN Cricinfo

After winning the toss for the first time in the series, Rohit Sharma did not hesitate to bat on a pitch that was bare at both ends and had a green patch in the middle. However, Australia’s spinners Nathan Lyon and Kuhnemann bowled India out for 109 in 33.2 overs, taking advantage of plenty of turn and variable bounce.

Kuhnemann, who was only in his second Test, finished with 5 for 16, while Lyon took 3 wickets. One was taken by Todd Murphy, and the final batter, No. 11 Mohammed Siraj was chased away.

In place of Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc took no wickets, but he could have bowled Rohit twice in the first over of the match. With the first ball of the Test, Starc found Rohit’s outside edge, but the umpire Nitin Menon was unmoved; Ultra Edge showed a spike after Australia rejected a review of caught behind. Three balls later, Starc beat Rohit’s inside edge, and the ball made its way to the wicketkeeper by brushing the back leg. Menon denied the appeal once more; Ball-tracking indicated that the ball would have continued to hit the stumps as Australia once again chose not to review.

However, Rohit was unable to take advantage of those reprieves. Rohit attempted to take on Australia’s left-arm spinner Kuhnemann in the sixth over. Carey completed the stumping after he skidded down the track but was beaten by the turn.

Shubman Gill tried to push at one in Kuhnemann’s second over, but he missed the turn, and Steven Smith caught slip easily. With a ripping offbreak that pitched on the edge of the green patch in the middle of the pitch and shot through his back-foot defense, Cheteshwar Pujara was bowled off his fourth ball.

Shreyas Iyer and Ravindra Jadeja both fell to the surface’s sluggishness. In the match against Lyon, Jadeja failed to prevent a cut, and Iyer punched Kuhnemann in the stumps. India was at 45 for 5 at the end of the first hour.

Virat Kohli was apparently the main top-request India hitter who looked agreeable in testing conditions. While playing across his front pad, Murphy had him lbw for 22—India’s highest score—despite his decisive footwork and soft defense.

KS Bharat attempted a counterattack, sweeping for a four and a six, but Lyon also caught him in the lbw for 17. India were on the verge of falling short of 100 at 82 for 7, but Axar Patel and Umesh Yadav helped them reach it.

Image Source: ESPN Cricinfo

Rohit started the bowling with R Ashwin and Jadeja, who pinned Travis Head lbw in his first over due to the assistance Australia’s spinners received. The flick’s head had gone back and across to a length ball but failed to hit it. India was successful in overturning the decision, but umpire Joel Wilson was unmoved.

In his second over, Jadeja had Marnus Labuschagne playing on, but unfortunately for India, he had overstepped.

India lost two reviews in the subsequent six overs. On both occasions, Jadeja punched Khawaja in the pads, resulting in the correct on-field ruling of not out. Therefore, Rohit was unwilling to risk wasting the third review when Ashwin appealed for lbw against Labuschagne in the eleventh over. Labuschagne would have been fired if he had.

Ashwin and Jadeja had trouble hitting this pitch, which was just fuller than good length, from that point on. Jadeja was too fast and too full, while Ashwin erred on the shorter side almost immediately. Khawaja and Labuschagne took advantage of the difficult batting during this time to add 96 runs for the second wicket. Khawaja scored most of the points while Labuschagne still appeared cautious.

When Bharat failed to capitalize on a difficult opportunity presented by Ashwin, the outside edge flew over Kohli at the first slip, giving Labuschagne yet another reprieve. When Jadeja bowled him with an arm ball, he fell for 31.

In the final half hour before the end of play, Jadeja picked up two more wickets. Smith would regret giving away yet another start, and Khawaja would be dissatisfied with his top-edged slog sweep to deep midwicket. In an almost-action replay of the Labuschagne run-out, Bharat dropped Smith off Jadeja as well, but he took advantage of the opportunity in the spinner’s subsequent over. As early as day one of the third Test, India’s door was not completely shut due to those late wickets.

Image Source: ESPN Cricinfo