After Kuhnemann’s five-fer, Khawaja’s 60 puts Aus tad ahead

Indore: After Matthew Kunhemann’s maiden five-fer, Usman Khawaja’s half-century put Australia a tad ahead of India as the visitors reached 156/4 with a 47-run lead on Day 1 of the third Test of Border-Gavaskar Trophy at Holkar Cricket Stadium here on Wednesday.

After getting a hammering in the first two Tests, Australia could not have asked for much today as they came out after losing the toss and put India under the pump in the morning session on a track that was turning and bouncing, with the odd balls keeping low.

The devil on the surface seemed to have gone off for a sleep as day wore on, and Australia did well to keep six wickets in hand before the umpires called off the day’s play.

After India were bowled out for 109 runs, thanks to Kuhnemann’s dream figures of 5/16 and Nathan Lyon’s 3/35, Khawaja smashed a spotless 60 before crumbling to the sweep shot.

Khawaja and Marnus Labuschagne (31) weaved a 96-run stand for the second wicket, the highest of the series for Australia, before Jadeja removed the duo in the space of 9 overs.

Jadeja also struck six overs before stumps by removing the dangerous Steve Smith for 26.

At stumps, Cameron Green and Peter Handscomb were batting on 6 and 7, respectively.

In the morning session of Day 2, India will look to be at their best to capitalise on early moisture to revive their chances in the match, especially when they have lost all three reviews off Jadeja’s bowling.

In the first session, Kuhnemann and Lyon tore into India’s top-order batting and sent India reeling at 84/7 after the hosts opted to bat first.

Kuhnemann ripped off openers Rohit Sharma (12), Shubman Gill (21) and middle-order batsman Shreyas Iyer (0), while Lyon eliminated Cheteshwar Pujara (1), Ravindra Jadeja (9) and Srikar Bharat (17).

India’s innings began on an interesting note as Rohit couls have been out caught behind first ball of the game, but Mitchell Starc and company did not opt for the DRS as they had doubts. A couple of balls later, they once again did not opt for the review when Rohit was clearly trapped in front.

Gill and Rohit belted some exquisite boundaries against Green and Starc, but soon captain Smith handed the ball to the spinners. Kuhnemann got Rohit stumped in his first over and in the next, he got rid of Gill caught at slip.

Lyon cleaned up Pujara in his first over and nearly trapped Ravindra Jadeja LBW in his second over, but the very next ball he hit the short ball straight to short cover. Iyer dragged on the second ball against Kuhnemann.

With 20 minutes to go for the break, Murphy trapped Kohli in front, and Lyon struck at the stroke of lunch by trapping Bharat in front on DRS.

Australia did not take much time to grab India’s last three wickets,

‘Third over after lunch, Kuhnemann got Ravichandran Ashwin (3) caught behind Alex Carey.

Umesh Yadav slogged a couple of sixes, taking India past 100 runs mark, but Kuhnemann put an end to the tailender’s entertainment, claiming his maiden five-wicket haul.

Indian innings folded with the runout of Mohammad Siraj.

All eyes were on the Indian spinners whether they can match up to Australian slow bowlers, but they were too full or a bit short, while labouring hard to get their line and length perfect.

A paltry 109 runs in the first innings did not help them either as captain Rohit Sharma had pushed back his fielders, giving a chance for the Australians batsmen to get singles.

However, Jadeja did strike early and could have had another, but was no-balled. Khawaja had a nervous start, but he settled down quickly and looked the best batsman of the day.

Jadeja bagged makeshift opener Travis Head’s wicket plumb in front of DRS in his very first over, and would have had Labuschagne clean bowled for a duck, but was no-balled.

India then lost two reviews in the span of five overs, both against Khawaja. Ashwin trapped Labuschagne LBW on 7, but India decided against opting for DRS.

A solid 50-run partnership between Khawaja and Labuschagne guided Australia to 71/1 at tea. The duo looked pretty comfortable, though the ball was turning.

Brief scores: India 109 all out (Virat Kohli 22; Matthew Kuhnemann 5-16, Nathan Lyon 3-35) trail Australia 156/4 (Usman Khawaja 60, Marnus Labuschagne 31; Ravindra Jadeja 4-63) by 47 runs. UNI

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