Rookie India attack dismisses Australia for 369 in 4th test
BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — India’s injury-depleted attack dismissed Australia for 369 on the second morning of the series-deciding cricket test at the Gabba in a confidence-boosting session for the tourists.
Thangarasu Natarajan clean bowled last man Josh Hazlewood to return 3-78 on his test debut and end the Australian innings at lunch on Saturday.
Spinner Washington Sundar took 3-89 on his test debut and Shardul Thakur had figures of 3-94 in only his second test match.
The series is tied 1-1 and India needs only a draw to retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy. But the inexperienced Indian bowling attack did exceptionally well to contain Australia despite missing pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah and leading spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.
The Australian innings was steadily building in a 98-run partnership between skipper Tim Paine (50) and allrounder Cameron Green (47) until India snared three wickets for four runs in 14 deliveries to slump to 315-8.
Thakur got the big breakthrough, when Paine chased an outswinger and was caught at second slip by Rohit Sharma. Sundar bowled Green out in the next over with an off-break delivery that turned the other way, straightened and beat the edge.
When Thakur trapped Pat Cummins lbw with a full ball hitting around ankle height, the Australians were in danger of an embarrassing batting collapse.
But a 39-run ninth-wicket stand between Nathan Lyon, in his 100th test, and Mitchell Starc staved that off and helped Australia pass the 350 mark before Washington Sundar struck again close to lunch.
Lyon, whose cameo innings grew in confidence when he pulled Thakur behind square for a boundary and drove the next ball straight down the ground for another four, was dismissed for 24 from 22 deliveries when he attempted a sweep to a straight ball from Sundar that rattled his stumps.
Starc finished unbeaten on 20 when fellow paceman Hazlewood was out for 11.
The first session followed a similar rhythm to the opening day, when Australian batsmen made starts but didn't go on with it.
Marnus Labuschagne (108) shared partnerships of 70 with Steve Smith (36) and 113 with Matthew Wade (45) to build the innings after Australia won the toss, batted and slipped early to 17-2.
The Australians reached stumps on Friday at 274-5 in an evenly-contested day and added 37 on Saturday before India hit back.
Paine reached his 50 from 102 balls but was out two deliveries later. Green got one chance, when his edge to Sundar deflected off wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant's thigh guard and fell short of Ajinkya Rahane at slip, but only added two more runs before the Indian allrounder made sure of the wicket by knocking over the stumps.
The pace attack, led by Mohammed Siraj in his third test, performed above most expectations despite dealing with yet another injury. Navdeep Saini left the field on Friday with a ball remaining in his eighth over because of a groin strain and wasn't able to bowl on Saturday morning.
More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports