ADELAIDE, Australia – Travis Head’s fighting 61 off 149 balls helped Australia reach 191/7 on Friday, the second day of the first test against India, after off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin took three top-order wickets and helped India dominate the day’s play.
India was all out for 250 runs in the first innings when Mohammad Shami got out on the first ball of the day at the Adelaide Oval.
Ishant Sharma bowled opener Aaron Finch in the very first over of the Australian innings with a beautiful in-swinger, providing a crucial breakthrough before Ashwin started troubling the hosts with his drifters.
Marcus Harris was caught at silly mid-off trying to defend an Ashwin ball after making 26 off 57 balls, and soon after Shaun Marsh attempted a drive against the spinner and ended up dragging the ball back on to the stumps.
With Australia reduced to 59/3, Usman Khawaja and Peter Handscomb slowed down the tempo and tried to stabilize the innings before Khawaja nicked an Ashwin delivery to wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant.
Down at number six, Head defended well and attacked loose deliveries as wickets continued to fall at the other end, with Handscomb departing for 34 and keeper Tim Paine managing just 5 runs.
India took the new ball in the 81st over and Pat Cummins fell lbw to Jasprit Bumrah immediately, but Head and Mitchell Starc managed to stay on until stumps.
Pacers Sharma and Bumrah took two wickets apiece, while Mohammad Shami looked off-color after an injury-scare on Thursday.
India will look to take early wickets and ensure a first-inning lead on Saturday after Chetweshwar Pujara’s century on the first day helped them reach a decent total.
Australia will expect Head to stay put and take them beyond the Indian total.
With the wicket already offering some turn, the hosts will be backing off-spinner Nathan Lyon to trouble the Indian batsmen in the second innings.
The visitors are playing the first test of the four-match Border-Gavaskar Trophy, and will also play three one-day games in their nearly two-month long tour of Australia.