Indore: Australia’s left-arm spinner Matthew Kuhnemann took his maiden five-fer in his second Test match as India were bundled out for just 109 after opting to bat first on day one of third Test at Holkar Stadium on Wednesday.
Since morning, frenetic play followed, where every ball was literally an event as the ball turned big apart from variable bounce coming into play. Kuhnemann used conditions well to set the ball rolling for an Indian collapse and ended up with 5/16 in nine overs.
Off-spin duo of Nathan Lyon and Todd Murphy took three and one scalps respectively as Australia’s troika of spinners shared all the wickets that fell; with the final wicket coming out of a calamitous run-out.
Being out for 109 in 33.2 overs is also India’s lowest Test total at home since 107 and 105 against Australia in Pune 2017 and is their fifth shortest innings while being all-out in-home conditions.
The opening over produced exciting action, as a returning Mitchell Starc produced a faint edge off Rohit Sharma, but Australia didn’t take the review. Replays later showed it could have been a wicket for Australia if the review was taken.
On the fourth ball of the over, Starc hit Rohit’s back pad, but didn’t take a review again. Later on, ball tracking showed three reds, giving Rohit another life and Australia ruing their chance of taking a wicket going yet again.
Rohit and Shubman Gill hit six delightful boundaries in the first five overs. But from there, Australia’s spinners spun a vicious web to trap the Indian batters. Rohit was the first to fall, dancing down the pitch to go over mid-on but couldn’t get to the pitch of the ball as it turned sharply and was stumped off Kuhnemann in the sixth over.
The left-arm spinner returned in his next over as Gill perished to a defensive prod and was caught at first slip. Lyon then got one to turn in sharply and break through Cheteshwar Pujara’s defence to hit the stumps. Ravindra Jadeja’s promotion backfired as he couldn’t keep the cut down and was caught at cover off Lyon.
In the next over, Shreyas Iyer chopped on to his stumps off Kuhnemann for a two-ball duck, as India lost five wickets in the first hour’s play. While other batters crumbled, Virat Kohli looked assured in his defence and also found some timely boundaries.
But his stay ended at 22 when off-spinner Todd Murphy trapped him in front of stumps. KS Bharat cracked a powerful sweep and slog-sweep, but was also trapped lbw off Lyon at the stroke of lunch.
Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel hanged around, but Kuhnemann struck again post lunch by getting some turn to take the edge of the former’s bat and was snapped by Alex Carey behind in a good low catch.
A brace of slog-sweeps followed by a hoicked four from Umesh Yadav took India past 100. But Kuhnemann got his five-fer by trapping Umesh lbw which stayed low and hit him on the back pad. Mohammed Siraj was late in responding to the second run from an alert Axar Patel and was out by miles for India’s innings to wrap up just after lunch.
Brief Scores: India 109 all out in 33.3 overs (Virat Kohli 22, Shubman Gill 21; Matthew Kuhnemann 5/16, Nathan Lyon 3/35) against Australia
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