India scent victory in Hyderabad
Ravichandran Ashwin followed up Cheteshwar Pujara’s double-hundred as India continued to dominate Australia in the second Test at Hyderabad.
Having resumed on 311 for one, India looked set to post a score beyond 550 - especially as Murali Vijay passed 150 and Pujara 200 having resumed on 129 and 162 respectively.
However, following Vijay’s dismissal for 167, the hosts collapsed somewhat; they lost their last nine wickets for just 116 runs and were dismissed for 503.
Despite their resilience, Australia still had a mountain to climb with the bat given the 266-run deficit.
The tourists started impressively as Ed Cowan and David Warner posted a half-century opening stand. But the former was bowled for 26 around his legs sweeping before Phil Hughes’ torrid series continued as he departed in identical fashion, Ashwin claiming both wickets.
Australia, already behind in the four-match rubber, subsequently reached 74 for two - still 192 runs behind - as Shane Watson, who signalled his intentions with a straight six, accompanied Cowan to stumps.
Vijay and Pujara initially prospered this morning, playing themselves in once again before profiting with positive strokes all round the wicket.
Indeed, it appeared neither would be ousted - only for Test debutant Glen Maxwell to have the former taken at short-leg with a delivery that bounced more than anticipated.
Pujara was undeterred and reached his second Test double-century with a gorgeous flicked four between mid-on and midwicket. Yet he departed in the next over, hooking James Pattinson to Xavier Doherty at long-leg.
Virat Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni impressed with cameos of 34 and 44 after Sachin Tendulkar had unfortunately been caught down the leg side off Pattinson.
Australia continued to chip away, though, as Maxwell impressed. He had Dhoni taken at mid-off, Jadeja caught and bowled following a smart parry and Kohli taken at short-leg.
In between the latter two wickets, Doherty got rid of Ashwin and Harbhajan Singh, who were caught at gully and mid-on. The left-arm spinner later wrapped up the innings by having Bhuvneshwar Kumar stumped.
Cowan and Warner overcame some scares to briefly look solid in response, the highlight of their stand being the latter’s straight six that was caught in the crowd by unmistakable figure of Merv Hughes.
The smiles and handshakes from the former Australia paceman soon turned to frowns as Warner showed poor technique in failing to cover leg stump with his pad, Ashwin jubilant as a result.
If that lapse was frustrating, Hughes’ was even more so. The left-hander made exactly the same mistake to be castled via the glove, meaning he has scored just six runs from 51 deliveries against spin in the Tests while being dismissed four times.
His efforts just about sum up the plight of Australia, who will do well to avoid an innings defeat tomorrow.