Ashwin's strikes dent Australia to 117/4 at tea

Indo Asian News Service

Adelaide, Dec 7 (IANS) India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin struck twice in the second session to restrict Australia to 117/4 at tea on Day 2 of the opening cricket Test at the Adelaide Oval here on Friday.

At the break, Peter Handscomb (33 not out) and Travis Head (17 not out) remained undefeated after Ashwin, the lone spinner in the India side bowled his heart out to return 3/38 from his overs.

Ashwin has extracted enough turn and bounce from the Adelaide pitch to create doubts in the Australian camp, and thanks to poor shot selection by some of the home batsmen that the session yielded just 60 runs at around 2 runs per over.

Already with his tails up after dismissing debutant opener Marcus Harris (26) in the morning session, the Chennai tweaker started the second session by packing back Shaun Marsh (2) in the very first over after lunch.

Marsh had himself to blame for trying to play an expansive drive which only resulted in a thick inside edge that trickled back onto the stumps.

Ashwin then doubled the joy for the Indian camp with the wicket of the in-form Usman Khawaja (28), who got a faint bit of glove to be caught behind by stumper Rishabh Pant, only for the third umpire to certify it using the DRS.

Khawaja was Ashwin's 179th left-handed victim, as the Indian became only the second after Sri Lankan maestro Muttiah Muralitharan (191) to claim more southpaws in Test cricket.

Next up Travis Head and Handscomb joined forces and survived a few early scares from the tweaker before heading for the breather undefeated.

Earlier, Ishant Sharma and Ashwin struck in the morning session to reduce the hosts to 57/2 at lunch after Australia took just one ball to wrap up the visitors' innings for the overnight score of 250.

Pacer Josh Hazlewood got the last man Mohammed Shami (6) caught behind on the very first ball to deny the visitors any addition to the overnight score.

For the hosts, Hazlewood shone with three wickets, while fellow quicks Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins took two scalps each. The spinner Nathan Lyon also bagged a couple of wickets.

Brief Scores: India 250 (Cheteshwar Pujara 123, Rohit Sharma 37; Josh Hazlewood 3/52, Pat Cummins 2/49) vs Australia 117/4 (Peter Handscomb 33 bating, Usman Khawaja 28; Ravichandran Ashwin 3/38, Ishant Sharma 1/17).

--IANS

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