India fight back with double-strike in Pune

Sports Thursday 23/February/2017 14:48 PM
By: Times News Service
India fight back with double-strike in Pune

Pune: Indian spinners picked up two wickets in six balls to peg back Australia after the touring side had made a solid start on the opening day of the four-match series on Thursday.
Australia captain Steve Smith and Peter Handscomb fell in successive overs shortly before tea as the hosts fought back with three wickets in the session to restrict the tourists to 153 for four at the interval.
Opener Matt Renshaw, who had earlier retired ill due to an upset stomach, returned to the crease and was unbeaten on 38 with Mitchell Marsh on two at the other end.
Earlier, David Warner made a watchful 38 and added 82 for the first wicket with Renshaw after Smith had won the toss and opted to bat against a spin-heavy India.
Smith said he expected turn from ball one on the dry pitch at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in the Western Indian city of Pune, a venue making its debut as a test centre.
India captain Virat Kohli appeared to agree with his counterpart by bringing on spin spearhead Ravichandran Ashwin, the top-ranked test bowler, in just the second over of the day.
After four overs from paceman Ishant Sharma, Kohli opted to utilise spin from both ends when he brought on Jayant Yadav against the left-handed duo.
The sparse crowd thought Jayant had bowled Warner around his legs for 20 but the off-spinner had overstepped the crease by a big margin and it was correctly called a no-ball.
Warner and Renshaw were able to put loose balls away during their partnership before Kohli decided to bring on his other paceman, Umesh Yadav.
It was the 28th over of the morning and 100 minutes had passed before Umesh got his first opportunity to join the fray but he needed just two deliveries to break the opening stand.
Looking to up the tempo, Warner went for an expansive drive against the paceman but could only drag the ball on to his stumps for India's only success of the session.
Australia opted for an ultra-defensive approach in the second session against a side unbeaten in their last 19 tests and as the pressure mounted on the batsmen, more chances came India's way.
Smith and Shaun Marsh added 37 for their stand in almost 20 overs before the latter was caught down the leg side attempting to sweep Jayant as India made their first breakthrough after lunch.
The hosts then struck two quick blows to eat away at the Australia middle-order when left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja dismissed Peter Handscomb (22) leg before after the right-handed batsman had added 30 runs with Smith.
In the next over, Ashwin lured Smith to hit an uppish drive which was gleefully accepted by Kohli at midwicket to dismiss the world's top-ranked test batsman for 27.
India were celebrating again when Mitchell Marsh was given out caught behind off Ashwin two deliveries later but the batsman overturned the decision on review with replays showing the ball had merely brushed his pad.