2nd Test: Indians hit back after Australia’s steady start on Day 1

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Perth: December 14:  Australia were 277/6 at stumps on the opening day of the second cricket Test against India here on Friday.

Pat Cummins (11) and skipper Tim Paine (16) were at the crease when umpires dislodged the bails for the day.

The hosts had enjoyed a steady start, dominating the opening session before the Indians started to claw their way back into the game after lunch.

All the six wickets fell in the post lunch session with pacer Ishant Sharma and part time spinner Hanuma Vihari claiming two each. Fast bowlers Jasprit Bumrah and Umesh Yadav bagged one wicket each.

Despite having some grass cover, the newly-laid wicket at the Perth Stadium did not have too much bounce with the occasional delivery keeping low.

Openers Marcus Harris and Aaron Finch gave the hosts a steady start. Batting comfortably on a pitch which did not help the bowlers too much, they frustrated the all-pace Indian attack with a 112-run stand. It was the first opening stand against India to cross the 100-run mark in 46 innings.

Harris scored 70 runs off 141 deliveries with 10 hits to the fence. Finch stroked six boundaries on his way to 50 off 105 balls.

Australian captain Tim Paine saw his decision to bat first upon winning the toss being vindicated as the opening pair batted comfortably throughout the session.

A couple of leg before appeals against Finch and a minor run out scare against Harris were the only times the batsmen were somewhat troubled.

Forced to go in with an all pace attack due to a minor injury to star off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, the Indian bowlers seemed a bit jaded due to their exertions in the last match.

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Both Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami were down on pace and struggled at times to maintain line and length.

The Indians managed to claw their way back into the game after lunch.

Bumrah gave India the first breakthrough after resumption by trapping Finch leg before with an excellent delivery which kept low and seamed in sharply.

Usman Khawaja batted 38 balls for just five runs before virtually gifting away his wicket to Umesh Ydav with a rather forgettable stroke.

Australia suffered another blow just three overs later when Vihari bagged Harris’ wicket thanks to a superb catch by Ajinkya Rahane at first slip.

Peter Handscomb departed in the second over after tea when some extra pace and uncomfortable bounce from Bumrah saw the ball take the edge of the bat and travel to second slip where India captain Virat Kohli pulled off a stunning catch.

Shaun Marsh and Travis Head then added 84 runs in an attempt to halt the slide. The flow of runs however, had been reduced to a trickle. They batted for almost 23 overs before Marsh tried to cut a ball from Vihari only to edge the ball which deflected off wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant’s thigh and went to Ajinkya Rahane at first slip.

Marsh, who hit six boundaries during his stint in the middle, scored 45 runs off 98 balls.

The Australians sustained another blow as the day drew to close with Ishant sending Head back to the pavilion. Head, who posted a well made 58, tried to go after a delivery outside the off-stump, only to see the ball sky up for an easy catch to Shami at third man.

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Brief scores:

Australia: 277/6 (Marcus Harris 70, Aaron Finch 50; Ishant Sharma 2/35, Hanuma Vihari 2/53) at stumps on Day 1 vs India. (IANS)