Starting with a 47 lead, Handscomb and Green took to their task with a lot of calm and without undue haste. Only 30 runs came together in that first hour, but you’ll go a long way to see better batting from two Aussies on such a difficult surface.
Watching his lbw decision play out on the big screen at Holkar Stadium, Green tossed his head in despair as the ball pursuit verdict was passed. Not only because of the proximity of the call, but also with the foreknowledge of what might follow.
Inspired by his spinners after a few quieter overs, Rohit Sharma’s call to try Yadav’s pace and backswing presented an extremely difficult set of questions for newcomers at either end.
Shubman Gill and Rohit started 88 down and made it to lunch without a loss, but the former was soon gone after raising his head and trying to smack Lyon into the stands. Rohit’s innings were better considered, but he was eventually knocked out by Lyon’s bite on the backfoot.
A Matt Kuhnemann grenade attempting to exit Virat Kohli bounced high enough to hit the edge of his raised bat before flying for four. Kohli managed another, more authoritative boundary from Kuhnemann only to be lbw as the next ball slipped low.
Ravindra Jadeja found himself increasingly entangled in the Lyon net. His stay ended minutes from tea with a three-ball sequence that put him dangerously close to lbw on the back foot, being hit pointlessly by a prancing off-break next ball, then very lbw to a ball that cleared the line directed along.
Lyon’s appeal might have been audible in Ahmedabad, but it took a referral to the third referee to lift Joel Wilson’s finger. Shreyas Iyer showed up for the evening to launch a counterattack. He aimed for a tired Kuhnemann’s short balls to put India ahead and the lead quickly grew.
Smith recalled Starc hoping for a backswing. It was an inviting ball on a leg stump that Shreyas sliced cleanly close to Khawaja, who dove both hands like a keeper to take the chance – remarkably lithe after spending time on the field with a back ailment.
After Lyon made quick work of KS Bharat, Marnus Labuschagne missed a valuable chance in front of Pujara when Kuhnemann elicited a penalty. Australia’s frustration was short-lived as Lyon put Ashwin ahead in the next over but again needed DRS to deliver the verdict.
Pujara leaped down the track to propel Lyon to a six, but Smith’s magic moment took the grins off the home side’s faces. Indore, thrown into the Test schedule in place of Dharamshala, could prove to be a supersub for Australia.
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