India openers steady after Jadeja takes six

Lunch India 189 and 38 for 0 (Rahul 20*, Abhinav 16*) trail Australia 276 (S Marsh 66, Renshaw 60, Jadeja 6-63) by 49 runs
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Ravindra Jadeja picked up 6 for 63 © Associated Press

India’s openers made a swift start in their aim to overhaul Australia’s lead on the third morning in Bengaluru, after Ravindra Jadeja earlier wrapped up Australia’s first innings with a six-wicket haul. The Australians added 39 to their overnight total for the loss of their final four wickets to finish with an 87-run first-innings advantage; by lunch, India had cut that deficit to 49 runs, with KL Rahul on 20 and Abhinav Mukund on 16.

India had cruised along to 38 for 0 with relative ease, and the Australians could see their advantage in the match slipping away with every run scored. The cracking pitch, which provided turn and variable bounce, was only expected to become harder to bat on, and even a small target could prove tricky for the Australians to chase down.

Jadeja claimed three of the four wickets in the opening session to finish with 6 for 63, the second-best figures of his Test career after the 7 for 48 he collected against England in Chennai in December. However, it was R Ashwin who made the first breakthrough of the morning when Mitchell Starc slogged high to deep midwicket but failed to clear Jadeja, who completed a good catch near the boundary.

Matthew Wade moved on to 40 before he was done by Jadeja’s spin from around the wicket and was trapped in front, finding no solace in his review of the decision. Next ball, Jadeja struck again as Nathan Lyon tried to sweep a fullish delivery and was lbw for a golden duck; like Wade, Lyon asked for a review, but likewise was denied satisfaction.

Although Josh Hazlewood survived Jadeja’s hat-trick delivery, the final wicket fell in Jadeja’s next over when Hazlewood skied a catch to long-on to leave Steve O’Keefe unbeaten on 4. Jadeja’s efforts had kept India in the match and stopped Australia from building too big a lead, and by lunch the runs Australia had put on in the morning had been all but matched by India’s openers.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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