IND vs AUS: Advantage at Adelaide for Team India

Dec 09, 2018, 07:27 IST | Gaurav Joshi

India take 166-run lead with 7 wickets in hand to put Oz under pressure in opening Test

IND vs AUS: Advantage at Adelaide for Team India
India opener KL Rahul plays a reverse sweep en route his 44 on Day Three of the first Test against Australia at Adelaide on Saturday. Pic/Getty Images

Jasprit Bumrah had just dismissed Mitchell Starc for Australia to be eight down and trail by 46 runs. At the other end, Travis Head stayed unbeaten on 66 and was joined by the No.10 Nathan Lyon. The modern trend is to deprive the well-set batsman of the strike, give him an easy single and try knock over the tailend batsman.

But Virat Kohli ditched that theory on the third day of the opening Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series. He decided on Saturday that he was going to dislodge Head and not just focus on the No.10 and 11. Seven overs later, Kohli decision to back his pacer worked. Mohammed Shami knocked over Head and Josh Hazlewood in the space of two balls and Australia were bowled out for 235 to give India a 15-run lead.

India had won the first battle of the day by not allowing the tail to wag. Then, Australia applied the clamps with the ball by conceding only 11 runs in the first nine overs. The pressure had been built, but once again, it was India via the audacious strokeplay of KL Rahul that broke the shackles. Rahul smashed Hazlewood over cover for a boundary and then went on an attacking spree as India scored 40 in the next six overs. The horse had already bolted. The lead was over 60 in the space of 10 minutes. For the second time in the day, India had broken free and repelled the Australian fight back.

But, as is so often seen in Test cricket, the home side found a way to crawl back into the contest. Australia picked up Rahul and Murali Vijay in the space of 13 runs to have India 76-2. Once again, Australia tried their best to wrest back the initiative, but Chesteshwar Pujara and Kohli stood firmly through some gritty batting.

Kohli shelved his ego as he resisted the urge to drive or poke at deliveries on the line of the fifth stump. For a period of time, he appeared to find it hard to score against Cummins. On the other side, Pujara constantly went down the pitch and padded Lyon out of the rough. In between, the pair also ensured they put the bad balls away by stroking them to the boundary. It was the third small battle India had won on the day. The India captain fell for 34 on the stroke of stumps, but Pujara (40 not out) and Rahane (1 not out) had taken India's score to 151-3 for an overall lead of 166.

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