INDORE: Australia spinners dominated and the hosts were left tottering at the end of the first session of the third Test of the four-match series at Holkar Stadium in Indore on Friday.
At lunch, Australia were in a commanding position with India at 84/7, with Axar Patel 6(13) and Ravichandran Ashwin 1(5) at the crease.
India were off to a quick start with the openers finding boundaries regularly, racing to 26/0 at the end of five overs. The Aussie pacers sprayed the new ball all over the place to help the batters get easy boundaries.
However, the game changed after skipper Steve Smith introduced spin into the attack. Matthew Kuhnemann drew first blood for the visitors, dismissing in-form Rohit Sharma in his first over.
The Indian skipper wanted to dominate the spinner and stepped out to heave the ball only to miss it. Alex Carey pouched the ball to whip the bails off in a flash. Rohit scored 12(23) before being stumped.
India lost Gill in the left-arm spinner’s next over, reducing the hosts to 34/2. The spinner was on song, bowling beautifully on a pitch that offered turn and bounce. The right-hander looked in good touch but a delivery found the outside edge of his bat while he was prodding forward in defence.
The hosts were banking on Cheteshwar Pujara to steady the innings, but he was dismissed by Nathan Lyon after the ball turned square to disturb the stumps. Pujara had to walk back for 1(4).
India all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja was promoted to bat up the order. However, he could not make the most of the opportunity. He was adjudged leg-before wicket but reviewed the decision to survive a close call against Lyon but played a loose shot to gift his wicket on the very next ball.
Shreyas Iyer dragged the ball onto his stumps in the next over to be dismissed for a duck off Kuhnemann, leaving India struggling at 45/5.
The hosts were looking down the barrel but the fifth wicket stand between Virat Kohli and Srikar Bharat revived India’s hopes of getting to a respectable total. However, the partnership was cut short by Todd Murphy who found Virat plumb in front of the stumps, dismissing him for 22(52).
Bharat, who looked in good nick lost his wicket just before lunch to Lyon, leaving India tottering at 82/7.
Axar Patel 6(13) and Ravichandran Ashwin 1(5) were at the crease for the hosts at lunch, with India’s score at 84/7.
Kuhnemann and Lyon took three wickets each while Murphy took the prized wicket of Virat Kohli.
Brief Score: India 84/7 (Virat Kohli 22, Shubman Gill 21; Matthew Kuhnemann 3-14). (ANI)