India and Australia are two quality cricket sides, known for their feisty battles, and the second day of the ongoing Test in Bengaluru on Sunday was a close contest in the 22-yard surface, which showed inconsistent bounce and turn, making scoring difficult. Despite these problems, Australia batsmen looked good in the middle, especially Matt Renshaw and Shaun Marsh, with both the left-handers scoring half centuries to help the visitors take a 48-run lead.
The crowd turned up in good numbers to support Team India and they might have been entertained with some war of words between Virat Kohli and Steve Smith. Also Ishant Sharma was having a go at the Australian batsman. It surely looked like a gameplan to unsettle the Australian skipper.
With India having been dismissed for a paltry 189 in the first innings on Day 1, they were in desperate need of a wicket in the first few overs. Ravichandran Ashwin troubled David Warner a few times, and finally managed to dismiss the left-hander with a beauty of a delivery in the 22nd over of the second innings.
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The ball had pitched outside leg, and crashed into the off-stump, and Warner (33, 67b, 3x4) was done in by the magical delivery. Indian bowlers including Ashwin, Umesh Yadav and Ishant were brilliant with the ball, asking questions consistently, and making run-scoring extremely difficult.
Even the likes of Smith found it difficult with bowlers showing some great consistency and not giving away freebies. The skipper was dismissed for an uncharacteristic 8 runs from 52 balls, which reiterated how tough the surface is.
The Indian bowlers in the second day of the Test never gave up. Australian batsmen played and missed a number of times, but India were not able to take wickets with Matt Renshaw and Shaun Marsh showing some great batting skills. India bowlers were frustrated as Renshaw crossed his half-century, and his solid defence did not give India much chance.
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Renshaw (60, 196b, 5x4, 1x6) gained great confidence after playing more than 60 overs as the left-hander began to use his feet against the spinners, scoring some quality runs. However, Jadeja understood that Renshaw was coming down the track too often and fired a wide ball down the leg side and was stumped brilliantly by Wriddhiman Saha for 60 runs.
India, just before the tea break, managed to take two more wickets. Peter Handscomb (16, 30b, 2x4), was dismissed by Jadeja, and Ishant picked up his first wicket of the Test as Mitchell Marsh was trapped leg before in the final ball of the second session.
Matthew Wade and Marsh formed a good partnership in the first hour of the final session, and Kohli decided to take the new ball with the hope of making a breakthrough. India were aware of the importance of breaking this partnership as it would allow them to have a go at the Australian lower order.
Around half an hour left for day's play, Umesh broke the important partnership, dismissing Marsh (66, 197b, 4x4) in the 101st over of the Test, which also happened to be the last wicket to fall for Australia on Day 2. Mitchell Starc and Wade remained not out at stumps.
Though Australia might have taken 48-run lead, India bowlers showed real fighting spirit on day 2. Australia will look to mount the lead on day 3 as India will give it all to dismiss the visitors as early as possible and come to bat with a positive frame of mind.
Score: First innings: India: 189 all out in 71.2 overs.
Second innings: Australia: 237/6 in 106 overs, lead by 48 runs
Batting in the middle:Matthew Wade (25, 68b, 2x4), Mitchell Starc (14, 19b, 2x4).
Bowling: First innings: India: Ishant Sharma 23-6-39-1; Umesh Yadav 24-7-57-1; R Ashwin 41-10-75-1; Ravindra Jadeja 17-1-49-3; Karun Nair 1-0-7-0
Fall of wickets: First innings:52/1, Warner (21.1 ov), 82/2, Smith (41.2 ov) 134/3, Renshaw (66.3 ov), 160/4, Handscomb ( 76.4 ov), 163/5 Mitchell Marsh (79.6 ov), 220/6, Shaun Marsh (100.2)