The first day of the Delhi Test continued to move along quickly, with Australia scoring at a rate of more than three runs per over. Yet despite their improved batting performance, which was headed by Usman Khawaja’s 81, India continued to nibble away, adding three more wickets to the list to keep Australia to 199/6 at the Tea break.
In the second session, Australia contributed 106 runs, 59 of which came from a strong partnership between Khawaja and Peter Handscimb (36*). The visitors ran the risk of submitting cheaply once more after losing Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith in one Ravichandran Ashwin over before lunch. particularly since Rohit Sharma’s scheme to begin the second session with a seamer from one end paid well. In an attempt to cut a Shami delivery, Travis Head, who was called back for this game, only succeeded in giving KL Rahul a sharp catch at second slip.
The second half-century stand of the innings was then shared by Handscomb and Khawaja, who both appeared confident against spin. As Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel bowled together, India was at its least effective. Handscomb in particular got going by hitting three fours out of the first 20 deliveries he faced. On the other end, Khawaja carried on from the first session, making excellent use of the sweeps, particularly the reverse.
First inning runs were few, so Rohit stationed in-out fields, which meant the two batters had a chance at singles. Despite the pitch giving turn, it was far simpler to play spin with the softer ball because it had no hidden devils.
Finally, India was given some relief thanks to a brilliant fielding performance. Khawaja timed a reverse-sweep off Jadeja but was unable to outmuscle a bounding Rahul at cover-point, falling for 81. As Alex Carey edged Ashwin to slip, India took the initiative and added another wicket, but Pat Cummins and the outstanding Handscomb put on another brief stand before the break to keep Australia on track for a respectable score.
Khawaja’s half-century helped Australia, which had won the toss earlier in the day, quickly advance to 94/3 in the opening session. Before India fought back with Ashwin’s double-wicket over, the left-hander put on 50 with a fidgety David Warner and then another quickfire 41 off 44 with Labuschagne.
Short results: Australia defeats India by a score of 199/6 (Usman Khawaja gets 81 and 36*; R. Ashwin bowls 37-57).
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