Brisbane: Debutant Australian pacer Josh Hazlewood’s five-for might have grabbed all the headlines but Indian quickie Umesh Yadav picked up three wickets to restrict Australia to 221 runs for four, in reply to India’s first innings score of 408 at stumps on the second day of the second Test here Thursday.
An unbeaten 64 from captain Steven Smith meant Australia are still 187 runs behind.
Things could have been a lot different for the hosts had the top-order batsmen not thrown their wickets away after making good starts.
After being 121 for three at tea, the final session belonged completely to Australia.
Smith along with Shaun Marsh (32) put on 87 runs for the fourth wicket as the hosts reduced at the deficit.
However, the timely wicket of Shaun, following a brilliant catch by Ravichandran Ashwin at slips, gave India the initiative again.
Bad light put an end to the day’s play with Smith and Mitchell Marsh (batting 7) at the crease.
Yadav was the pick of the Indian bowlers and got good support from offie Ashwin, who picked up a wicket too.
Varun Aaron bowled fast but without much luck. The pacer found the top edge of Shaun Marsh’s bat but Ajinkya Rahane grassed the chance.
Luckily for India the left-hander fell in the very next over to Yadav.
Earlier, a five-wicket haul by Hazlewood helped Australia bowl out India for 408 at the stroke of lunch.
India, who were in the driving seat at stumps on day one, managed to add only 97 runs to their overnight score of 311 for four.
The visitors were put on the backfoot almost immediately when Rahane (81) was dismissed in the third over of the day. His overnight partner Rohit Sharma (32) also didn’t survive much longer, getting dismissed six overs later.
After adding just 17 runs, India had lost both their overnight batsmen and had relinquished their strong position.
A 57-run partnership for the seventh wicket between skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (33) and Ravichandran Ashwin (35) stabilised the situation. But Ashwin’s wicket once again opened the floodgates as the visitors surrendered rather meekly in the end.
Dhoni looked good for a while but edged a Hazlewood delivery to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin while trying to leave the ball.
India’s tail failed to put up a fight and fell without much trouble for the hosts.
Australia, in their reply, came out all guns blazing with last match’s double-innings centurion David Warner (29) once again looking dangerous.
The hosts got off to a quick start, reaching 47 for no loss as Warner peppered the boundaries with some aggressive batting.
But a leading edge proved to be the downfall for the left-hander, giving India some reprieve.
Shane Watson (25) and opener Chris Rogers (55) were in no mood to hand the initiative back to India and took on the bowlers.
The duo shared a 51-run stand for the second wicket and scored at a fair clip, threatening to take the game away from the visitors.
But an overzealous Watson tried to take on Ashwin and was caught brilliantly by Shikhar Dhawan at mid-on.
Rogers kept the scoreboard ticking and was joined by new skipper Smith, forged a 23-run stand before gloving an Umesh delivery down the leg side to Dhoni.