India bounce back through Ashwin’s brilliance

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India wrested the initiative back from Australia on the 2nd day, thanks to three men, in particular.

Firstly, Jasprit Bumrah.

No surprise there!

Pace and bounce one thing. But when these weapons combine with the X factor of accuracy, it creates a deadly cocktail from which no batsmen can escape.

This is the same recipe which the great fast bowling greats from the Windies relied on, from Garner to Ambrose and it’s on these weapons that Bumrah relied on.

By the time he came back for his second spell, though, Bumrah had worked out the line and length to bowl. He was fuller and straighter, and his second spell already has two lbws, figures reading 3-2-4-2.

Both Joe Burns and Mathew Wade fell for 8, trapped right in plumb, after consuming 51 and 41 balls respectively.

It revealed a defensive mindset and probably led to Australia’s undoing as they came under immediate pressure.

Their second fatal mistake was to underestimate India’s greatest off-spinner of all time, Ravichandran Ashwin.

There was lot of chatter about going in with 4 seamers but Ashwin proved how ridiculous the idea was – by dismantling the heart of the Aussie middle order.

Liberated from the relentless pressure of Yadav and Bumrah’s interrogation, the Aussies relaxed against Ashwin and as events showed, it was a fatal mistake.

Steve Smith was the first to depart, caught by Rahane off an outstanding Ashwin ball that rushed to the bat faster than expected.

Travis Head was the second victim, bamboozled by an Ashwin ball that promised to turn and held is line, resulting in a caught and bowled.

When Cameroon Green was snapped up by Kohli off Ashwin, Australia was effectively reduced to 79 for 5.

Paine had shown urgency at the crease from the start – although he, too, had been given a reprieve on 26 when a hook was spilled by Agarwal at deep square – and managed to conjure 80 runs from the last three wickets, top scoring with 73 in the process.

Yadav’s 54th over was pivotal. From the 3rd and 6th ball, he dismissed Labuschagne and Cummins leaving Australia tottering at 111 for 7.

Yadav finished with 3 for 40.

Australia finished at 191 leaving India with a handsome 53 run lead that might prove decisive.

But India could not get through six overs unscathed as Pat Cummins breached Prithvi Shaw’s defenses.

Australia have clearly identified a flaw in Shaw’s technique and Shaw needs to put in some serious work at the nets to ensure that his series doesn’t end earlier than expected.