Ishant Sharma set the benchmark high with the very first delivery he bowled – the first ball of Australia’s innings – pitching it just ahead of good length around the fourth stump. He got the next delivery back into Finch and almost had him leg before wicket. And then came the wicket-taking peach of a third delivery – bowled fuller on off stump getting it to swing back just a wee bit inducing Finch to go for a drive only to inside-edge it onto the stumps – the off and middle stumps were uprooted! It was a great first over. Ishant set the tone for the rest of the innings.
He was getting late movement and bowled a testing length and maintained a tight leash on the batsmen with his first couple of overs being maidens.
Jasprit Bumrah, not to be left behind, got a length delivery outside off to nip back sharply just beating the edge of a tentative Khawaja. He was bowling at pace touching speeds of almost 145 km/hour. He was mixing his length surprising the batsmen with his variations – sometimes short of length, mainly full and a bouncer at pace in between.
The first ten overs set the course for the rest of the day for India. Ishant had bowled three maidens and conceded just six runs in his five overs. He was relentless outside the off-stump getting the ball to jag back into Finch and move away from the left-handers. Both, Ishant and Bumrah beat the batsmen on seven occasions each in their first spell – such was their control over proceedings.
Shami complemented his peers well and started off proceedings with three consecutive maidens. Bumrah returned for his second spell and was more restrictive, bowling with greater discipline than he did in his opening spell. He bowled four maidens on the trot as Australia were choked for runs. After scoring 30 in the first 10 overs, they had only managed to score just 27 off the next 17.
The Indian pace trio had put the Aussie batsmen on the backfoot and created conditions for Ashwin to thrive from the other end.
The post-Lunch session saw Ashwin bowling unchanged from one end while the three seamers shared the burden keeping things tight from the other. They conceded just 37 runs from their combined 14 overs – this included a 12-run over from Shami. That is how restrictive the Indian pacers were – bowling 5 maidens in the session. The pressure they created from one end helped Ashwin to bowl slower with attacking fields and in turn he was rewarded with two wickets post Lunch.
Bumrah returned post Tea and saw the back of Handscomb getting him to edge one to Pant behind the stumps ending a solid 33-run stand. Bumrah was now bowling at his absolute best – he followed a yorker with a beautiful full delivery that came in to leave the Australian captain, Paine, all ends beaten.
Shami and him did not let the Aussie batsmen get away before Ishant returned and set up Paine – first bowling a scorching bouncer and then pitching the ball full inducing the outside edge – ending Paine’s uncomfortable stay at the crease. Eight overs of pace post Tea – just 10 runs and two wickets – the Indian pacers were all over the Australian batsmen.
Australia fought back before Bumrah ended a threatening 50-run stand for the seventh-wicket striking immediately with the new ball as he saw the back of Cummins with a huge late in-swinger.
The balance of the match was again tilted slightly in India’s favour.
While Ashwin picked three wickets it was the combined effort of the Indian pace trio that was equally damaging and relentless from one end – never letting the batsmen settle – mixing aggressive outbursts with long restrictive disciplined spells. They aggregated to bowl 51 overs in the day, conceding just 116 runs, including 21 maidens and took 4 wickets. The lengths they bowled was the key to their success.
While Shami and Bumrah bowled between short of length and good length, Ishant kept it fuller outside off getting the ball to swing. Shami was not at his best on the day and played more of a support role. India would hope he finds his rhythm early on day 3 and polishes off the Australian tail.
India vs AustraliaIndia vs Australia 2018Indian cricket teamishant sharmajasprit bumrahmohammad shamiR Ashwin
First Published: December 8, 2018, 2:05 AM IST