Khawaja (180), Green (114) and Ashwin (6-91) highlight absorbing day’s play in Ahmedabad

SUMMARY: Australia 480 (Usman Khawaja 180, Cameron Green 114; Ravichandran Ashwin 6-91) lead India 36-0 (Shubman Gill 18*, Rohit Sharma 17*) by 444 runs


Ravichandran Ashwin picked up his 32nd five-wicket haul, leading India’s retort with the ball after Usman Khawaja’s epic 180 ground the hosts out for the major part of the first two days.

Khawaja was given excellent support by Cameron Green, who put on 208 with him for the fifth wicket, before Ashwin got into the act and restricted Australia to 480.

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Ravichandran Ashwin picked up his 32nd five-wicket haul (Photo: Getty Images)

For a large part of the first half of the Day Two, Australia threatened to get in excess of that because of an unflustered, fluent partnership. Green, who started the day on 49, was fluent throughout even as India attempted to keep things tight on a flat pitch.

He managed to cash in whenever India erred in their lengths, picking up 18 boundaries in total, en route to a maiden Test century.

At the other end, Khawaja did little to change his methods and continued to bat serenely, barely showing discomfort against any bowler. The duo had batted through the first session of the day unscathed, and stayed together for 378 balls in total to grind India down.

It helped Australia when Green partnered Khawaja earlier in the day. India’s ploy to bowl dry was kept up at one end right through but Umesh Yadav’s profligacy proved to be a deterrent to their overall strategy.

Despite his waywardness, Rohit Sharma persisted with Umesh over a six-over spell that ended up going for 37 runs in the session, adding the punch to Australia’s solidity.

Green was the beneficiary of many of these freebies and he accepted them with glee. Their 177-run stand left India searching for answers as Australia’s grind was near perfect once again.

However, just as Green was about to up the ante in the second session, starting off with well-timed drives, he fell gloving a sweep against Ashwin which was caught well by KS Bharat down the leg-side.

Ashwin topped up that breakthrough by dismissing Alex Carey for the fifth time in the series. With a tossed up ball, he lured Carey to play a big shot and had him caught at short third man for a duck.

The inspired spell continued as he had Mitchell Starc caught at short leg with one sliding on. In the space of five overs, Australia lost three for nine to stymie a lot of the good work that had been done earlier.

But despite the slip-ups at the other end, Khawaja went about unfazed in occupying the crease and became the first overseas batter in 13 years to bat 400 balls in an innings in India. His dismissal eventually came soon after Tea when Axar Patel managed to get past a shot that had been largely productive, the flick, and had him LBW on 180.

Khawaja’s departure could have signaled a quick end, but India were made to toil for their wickets again with Nathan Lyon putting on 70 with Todd Murphy.

It was only with the third new ball that the end came swiftly as Ashwin had one sliding on from round the wicket to get Murphy LBW and then had Lyon nicking a similar one to slip to bowl Australia out and finishing with a six-wicket haul.

India’s openers saw off the remaining 10 overs without much problem to give the hosts a confident end after a fighting day’s play. (cricbuzz)


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