Australia strengthen hold on Day 2 at Perth
India made a brief comeback into the third Test on the afternoon of Day 2, restricting Australia to a 208 run first innings lead but failed to seize advantage by ending the day on 88/4 at the Western Australia Cricket Association (WACA) ground in Perth.
India’s day began agonizingly with Virat Kohli dropping David Warner when he was on 126 and Australia on 193. But soon enough, Umesh Yadav gave India a brief look-in, striking thrice before lunch to take Australia from 214 for no loss to 242/3, sending back Ed Cowan, Shaun Marsh and Ricky Ponting in quick succession.
Warner carried on from where he had left off on Day 1, speeding his way to 180 off 159 balls before a miscue landed in the hands of a backpedalling Umesh Yadav at the long on boundary. Michael Clarke and Brad Haddin followed soon as Zaheer Khan got into the act, using his angle across right handers and late swing to good effect, taking 2/91.
Michael Hussey rallied with the tail but India’s pacers persisted to dismiss them before they got too far away, dismissing Australia for 369 with a first innings lead of 208.
Umesh Yadav returned for another burst in which he sent back Peter Siddle and Ryan Harris, recording his best Test figures of 5/93 after having conceded 80 runs for only 3 wickets at Lunch.
India’s response began purposefully; Gambhir was determined with his defence but still the ball found his outside edge and luckily went into the gaps in a packed slip cordon and offside field. A brutally lifting snorter from Mitchell Starc gave him no choice but to fend at it, he did so unsuccessfully and the edge carried to gully where Michael Hussey held it with no fuss.
Peter Siddle had Sehwag edging an impeccable straight delivery which faintly swung away at the very last possible moment before it passed the batsman. From 24/0, India were now 25/2.
Sachin Tendulkar fell LBW to a superb piece of inswing from Mitchell Starc, missing a ball which pitched on middle and straightened to hit him in front of off. Hilfenhaus returned to pick up VVS Laxman with the same kind of delivery that Laxman has been falling to since the tour of England. Pitched just short of a good length on off and moving away just enough to hit top of off, a thick edge found its way to Marsh at third slip, Laxman going for a duck.
Virat Kohli and Rahul Dravid arrested the slide to see India bat out the day. India limped to 88/4 at Stumps on Day 2, their top order removed by persistent bowling from Australia’s pace quartet, their deficit at 120 runs.
Kohli was unbeaten on 21 and Dravid on 39 at Stumps. Kohli threw away his chance to make a substantial contribution in the first innings, he will hope to make amends by building on the start he already has while Dravid will want to play a knock similar to his 93 here on India’s last tour of Australia which ultimately proved to be a match winning one.