India has Australia in trouble early in 1st cricket test

ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) — Ravichandran Ashwin spun a web around Australia's top-order batsmen with 3-27 as India fought back hard in the first cricket test at the Adelaide Oval on Friday.

Off-spinner Ashwin extracted a lot of bounce from the wicket and removed Steve Smith for just 1 in his first over; Travis Head could score only 7 and debutant Cameron Green departed for 11. Ashwin’s three-wicket burst left Australia in trouble at 92-5 at tea on the second day.

The home team still trails by 152 runs after Australia took the last four India wickets for just 11 runs when the visitors resumed on 233-6 and were bowled out for 244 earlier in the day.

Marnus Labuschagne survived three dropped catches and then successfully overturned a caught behind decision against him on 42 to go to the break unbeaten on 46 with captain Tim Paine not out on 9.

Virat Kohli will leave after the day-night test to be with his wife, who is expecting his first child next month. The Indian skipper took a stunning two-handed diving catch at short mid-wicket to dismiss Green off a mis-timed pull shot against Ashwin.

Fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah trapped makeshift opener Matthew Wade and Joe Burns leg before wicket in successive overs before the dinner break to leave Australia at 35-2 in the first session. Both openers struggled to score runs each against a tidy three-pronged Indian pace attack led by Bumrah.

Bumrah jumped unnecessarily at the fine leg boundary and dropped a regulation catch off Labuschange in the penultimate over before the break. And Prtithvi Shaw gave another lease of life to Labuschagne when he dropped a head high catch at short mid-wicket off Bumrah.

Labuschagne also survived a close caught behind when he edged Bumrah to third man boundary as the ball went underneath the gloves of diving wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha.

India’s new-ball bowlers Bumrah and Umesh Yadav bowled four maiden overs in a row up front to Burns and Wade before the latter drove Yadav off the backfoot though to the covers for Australia’s first runs in the fifth over.

Earlier, Australia captain Tim Paine’s side needed just 22 minutes and 4.1 overs to wrap up India’s first innings.

Pat Cummins removed Ashwin with the third ball of the day Friday, when a regulation edge resulted in a catch for Paine. Mitchel Starc struck with his third delivery of the day, dismissing Saha after the keeper’s loose stroke resulted in another catch for Paine.

Starc also fired out Umesh Yadav to finish with figures of 4-53 from 21 overs as he enhanced his reputation as the world’s best pink-ball bowler.

“We all know how good a bowler he is, then you throw a pink ball into his hands and he grows an extra pair of legs,” Australian bowler Nathan Lyon said of Starc during the innings break.

Meanwhile, a new COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney has resulted in some broadcasters and media at the Adelaide match taking precautions to ensure the safety of staff.

Fox Cricket’s Brett Lee, a former Australian fast bowler, flew home to Sydney on Friday while both Fox and the Nine Network have sent a number of staff to undergo COVID-19 testing.

Lee, who lives on Sydney’s northern beaches where a new cluster of 28 cases has emerged, does not have any symptoms and has not been to any listed hot spots.

It followed a memo from Cricket Australia urging the media covering the game who have been to the northern beaches over the past three weeks to contact them as soon as possible.

Fox Sports’ executive director Steve Crawley said Lee was comfortable with the decision to fly home to Sydney.

“We had a good talk last night. He went back this morning. Of course everyone is being responsible and he totally understood that,” Crawley said.

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