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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Australia lose quick wickets with India Test evenly poised


Australia lost two wickets in the morning session Friday in reply to India’s 250, leaving the first Test evenly poised with the experienced Usman Khawaja and Shaun Marsh at the crease.

India finished the opening day at 250-9, on the back of a battling 123 from Cheteshwar Pujara, and they failed to add to the total.

When they resumed, tailender Mohammed Shami was out for six on the first delivery of the day, caught behind by Tim Paine off Josh Hazlewood, leaving Jasprit Bumrah unbeaten on 0.

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Hazlewood finished with 3-52. Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon all took two wickets each. In reply, Australia were 57-2 at lunch with Khawaja not out 21 and Marsh unbeaten on one.

The home team got off to a horror start with Aaron Finch’s credentials as an opener again called into question after he was spectacularly bowled without scoring on only the third ball he faced.

A beautiful delivery from Ishant Sharma took out his middle and off stumps after getting an inside edge as Finch attempted a drive. In muggy and overcast conditions, a slimmed-down Usman Khawaja, returning after knee surgery, joined debutant Marcus Harris to show Finch how it should be done.

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He compiled a patient 21, putting aside disrupted preparations after the shock arrest of his brother this week for allegedly framing a love-rival with a fake terror plot.

Harris, who was picked on the back of being the second highest run-scorer in Sheffield Shield this season, looked in good nick and unruffled by the occasion, hitting three fours in a solid 26.

But he was undone by a drifting ball from spinner Ravi Ashwin, getting an edge to Murali Vijay at silly mid-off, ending a 45-run partnership with Khawaja. Paceman Shami went off the field in the run-up to lunch, apparently due to a shoulder niggle, but soon returned, although he did not bowl again.

© Agence France-Presse