Australia gain upper hand in Delhi Test against India

Nathan Lyon picks up five wickets before Axar and Ashwin rescue hosts with century stand

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The second Test between India and Australia witnessed a see-saw battle throughout the second day before the visitors gained the upper hand by stumps in Delhi on Saturday.

When spinner Nathan Lyon picked up his fifth wicket, India were 139-7 and a long way away from Australia's first innings score of 263. But a century stand between Axar Patel (74) and Ravichandran Ashwin (37) rescued the hosts and brought their score to within one run of the Aussies' total.

And while many expected India's spinners to make early inroads in the dozen or so overs before stumps, Australia opener Travis Head went on the attack, scoring 39 from 40 balls to take the tourists to 61-1 for a lead of 62.

The day started positively for India. They were in cruise control at 46 for no loss before Lyon (5-67) turned the match on its head.

The off-spinner mowed down India's top order to leave them reeling at 66-4.

Australia blew all three reviews inside 25 overs but Lyon, leading the tourists' three-pronged spin attack, kept chipping away at India's top order.

The off-spinner trapped KL Rahul lbw for 17 and, two balls later, had a strong lbw appeal against Cheteshwar Pujara turned down.

Pujara could not make the most of the reprieve though as Lyon, in his next over, struck a double blow.

The off-spinner bowled India captain Rohit Sharma (32) and trapped Pujara lbw for a duck in the batsman's 100th Test.

Peter Handscomb took a brilliant catch at short leg to remove Shreyas Iyer off Lyon. Virat Kohli (44) combined with Ravindra Jadeja in a 59-run stand to stage a mini-recovery but both fell to spinners in the second session.

Todd Murphy removed Jadeja for 26 but debutant Matt Kuhnemann dealt a bigger blow when he trapped Kohli lbw for his maiden Test wicket.

Australia looked poised for a significant first-innings lead but Patel and Ashwin forged the only century-plus partnership of the match to frustrate them.

The wicket misbehaved for large parts of the day but settled down towards the end, allowing India's lower order and Australia's top order to bat with freedom.

The Australians will have to navigate the third day without David Warner. The opener was ruled out of the second Test after sustaining a concussion while batting in the first innings.

Warner was struck on the helmet by a sharp bouncer from pace bowler Mohammed Siraj in the 10th over on Friday. Warner didn’t field during the Indian innings late on day one and Cricket Australia announced before the scheduled restart on Saturday that the veteran opener would take no further part in the match. Matt Renshaw was called into the XI as a concussion substitute.

Updated: February 18, 2023, 12:31 PM