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3rd Test, Day 1: Ravindra Jadeja helps India fight back, but Australia in control at stumps




The Indian batsmen’s long-standing struggle against spin was fully exposed when Australia applied themselves to rank turners to take control of the third Test on the opening day of the match here on Wednesday. Left-arm spinner Matthew Kuhnmann (5/16) took his first five-wicket haul as Australia bundled out India for just 109 shortly after lunch on the first day. For India, Virat Kohli scored the highest 22 runs in 52 balls. Having trailed the series 0-2, Australia looked strong in determination and purpose to end the day at 156 for four with a lead of 47 runs.

Ravindra Jadeja (4/63) took all four wickets for India, including that of stand-in captain Steve Smith (26 off 38) before the end of play.

Usman Khawaja (60 off 147) was the standout performer for Australia as he dealt with the skilful Jadeja and R Ashwin with a straight bat and soft hands.

Marnus Labuschagne (31 off 91 balls), who was bowled a no-ball early in his innings, rode on his luck to stitch a 96-run stand with Khawaja, the highest partnership of the series for the visitors.

Although the usually accurate Indian spinners were not rigid with their lines and lengths, Khawaja and Labuschagne corrected the “massive” mistakes made in Delhi by playing straight and relying on their defence.

The pitch looked unplayable when India were batting but Khawaja and Co. showed the way for the home team.

Khawaja’s gritty knock also took a few drives on the off side. He did not shy away from playing the reverse sweep as well but mostly played straight.

The left-handed batsman hardly put a foot wrong in his clever knock but when he did, he paid for it. In the 43rd over of the innings, Khawaja went to sweep Jadeja’s ball around the off stump and was caught at deep midwicket.

Like Nagpur and Delhi, the game is set for another three-day conclusion and a 100-run lead on this surface would be gold.

India was also found guilty of bowling four no balls.

Earlier, after losing seven batsmen towards the end of the opening session, India could only add 25 more runs to their total, with Kuhnmann finishing with career-best figures in first-class cricket.

Had it not been for Umesh Yadav’s 13-ball 17, India would have struggled to cross the 100-run mark.

In the afternoon session, India’s only wicket came in the account of Travis Head (9), who missed a straight delivery from Jadeja.

It was a sign of desperation that India ended two of their three runs in the first 10 overs. Labuschagne got a second life after India didn’t review an LBW call off Ashwin. The great Matthew Hayden on air called the black clay surface at the Holkar Stadium a day-three pitch and it certainly behaved like one.

Three Indian batsmen including skipper Rohit Sharma (12), Jadeja (4) and Shreyas Iyer (0) were killed trying to attack.

Kohli looked assured in the middle order before being dismissed lbw by Todd Murphy towards the end of the session. After winning the toss for the first time in the series, India decided to bat first as expected. Shubman Gill came in place of out-of-form KL Rahul, while Umesh Yadav came in place of Mohammed Shami.

After regaining match fitness, both Mitchell Starc and Cameron Green made it into Australia’s playing XI.

Starc’s first over to Rohit was the highlight of the morning session. Before the spinners took the Indian batting to task, Starc swung the ball and put the Indian skipper in trouble.

Rohit’s outside edge got weak on the very first ball but Australia didn’t take a review. Three balls later, Starc swings the ball back and flicks it off Rohit’s pads. Ball tracking showed that the ball would have hit the off stump but Australia did not take a review.

Spin was introduced in the sixth over and Kuhnman got the ball to turn quickly. On the last ball of the over, Rohit came out to play across the line and was beaten in flight and clean stumped by Alex Carey.

Kuhnmann had Gill caught at first slip and the opener, offering forward defence, took a thick edge outside off.

Cheteshwar Pujara’s stay lasted only four balls as Lyon got a massive turn from wide off stump which crashed into the middle stump. The ball was low too and Pujara was found wanting on the back foot.

India had lost half their team when Shreyas Iyer attempted a cut at his stumps.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and was auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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