Day 1 of the Second Test saw an enthralling day of game’s play wherein both teams didn’t surrender and kept on fighting until the final ball of the day’s play.
The Australians opted to bat after winning the toss. It was expected that the fiery pace attack of the Indians would dismantle the Kangaroos batting line-up. Those expectations were lowered after Marcus Harris and Aaron Finch posted a gritty 112-run partnership. This advantage, however, was soon surrendered as Australia lost a flurry of wickets post lunch session. Both the openers along with Usman Khawaja departed, thus diminishing the Aussies to 145/3 at tea.
Peter Handscomb was sent back to the pavilion via a beautiful Virat Kohli catch off an Ishant Sharma delivery. The score, at that juncture, was 148 runs for the loss of four wickets. It again seemed that the Aussies will bottle-up, being restricted to below 250. This time Travis Head and Shaun Marsh came to the Baggy Greens’ rescue with an important 84-run partnership.
As the ball got old and the Indians were saving their seamers for the new ball, the pair of Marsh and Head started attacking the spinners Hanuma Vihari and Murali Vijay. Marsh, trying to cut Vihari for a boundary, found a thick outside edge which was comfortably grasped by Ajinkya Rahane at slips.
The new ball was taken in the 81st over and soon Ishant got the better of Travis Head. Head was caught out to Mohammed Shami at third man. Pat Cummins along with his skipper Tim Paine then soldiered along, making sure that the hosts did not lose any more wickets at the day’s conclusion.
For Australia, Marcus Harris top-scored with 70 runs while Travis Head (58) and Aaron Finch (50) also scored half-centuries. Ishant Sharma and Hanuma Vihari pitched in with two wickets apiece.
Australia are on the advantage at the end of day’s play having scored 277 for the loss of six wickets. If they are to make an excess of 350 runs, then India would be in pressure.
India on their part needs to reduce the Aussies below 350 and then try and take a lead of 80-100 runs. Batting fourth at this pitch would be tough, and hence India really would have to give their all when they bat at some point tomorrow.
Pitch Condition: The pitch of the Second Test played at the Optus Perth Stadium contained green grass which signaled movements and bounce. It was expected that the batsmen would have to toil to make runs.
Toss: Australian Captain won the toss and sent the hosts to bowl first. It was a good decision as the bouncy nature of the Perth pitch would trouble batsmen while batting in the fourth innings.
First Session: Marcus Harris and Aaron Finch opened the Australian innings while Ishant Sharma kickstarted the bowling for India. Australia, and especially Harris, started their innings in a positive note by scoring a couple of drives to both Ishant and Jasprit Bumrah. Ishant especially was looking off color as he bowled below 130 km/h and was also going for plenty of runs. Australia were clearly dominating the first hour of play wherein they scored 47 runs without losing any wickets. But the Indians soon found their rhythm and bowled in consistent tight lines to disallow the Australians for scoring easy runs. The openers, however, were watchful and didn’t want to take any risks. They were quite happy to toil for their runs rather than playing some rash shots. At the end of session one, Australia made 66 runs for the loss of two wickets.
Second Session: Australia resumed the second session on a positive note scoring runs freely. Marcus Harris soon raced down to his fifty and Finch followed the suit. In nine overs, the Kangaroos scored 46 runs before Bumrah got the better of Finch, trapping him leg before wicket. Usman Khawaja who joined Harris in the middle soon perished off Umesh Yadav’s delivery. India were clawing their way back into the match as Hanuma Vihari, a part-time spinner, through a peach of a delivery got Harris caught out to Ajinkya Rahane in slips. At the end of the second session, Australia scored 145 runs for the loss of three wickets with Shaun Marsh and Peter Handscomb present at the crease.
Third Session: India started the third session on a positive note. Indian Captain Virat Kohli caught a stunner thus sending Handscomb back to pavilion off Ishant’s delivery, thus leaving the Australians reeling at 148/4. Travis Head joined Marsh in the middle and steadied the Australian innings. They both together stitched a partnership of 84 runs thus again putting Australia in a commanding position. However in the twilight of the days play, Shaun Marsh while playing an attacking shot to Hanuma found a thick outside edge which was grasped comfortably by Ajinkya Rahane which sent him back to pavilion after a gritty knock of 45 runs. In the meantime, Travis Head reached to his third Test fifty. The new ball was taken by the Captain in the 81st over and he handed the new cherry to Mohammed Shami. In the very next over. Ishant got Head caught out to Mohammed Shami present at third man. Pat Cummins along with his skipper Tim Paine then marshaled the Aussie Innings, making sure that the hosts did not lose any more wickets at the day’s conclusion. At Stumps, the Aussies were 277/6 with Paine playing at 16, while Cummins playing at 11.
What should Australia aim for tomorrow?
Australia should look to add 60–80 runs to their overnight score of 277 which will give them a tremendous boost while heading onto the Indian innings. They should then try to decimate India as cheaply as possible. Even a lead of 50 runs would be enough for Australia to stronghold their claim on the match.
What should India aim for tomorrow?
India would look to diminish the Kangaroos below 320 and then go on and bat positively. They should at least take a lead of 50 runs that would give them a comfortable cushion to fight back and decimate the Aussies cheaply.
Day 2 would be an interesting day of play as one would actually get to know who would be on top and have an advantage in the coming days. Whom do you think would go on to win this test match? Will it be Australia or India?