Dharamsala, March 26 (IANS) Off-spinner Nathan Lyon was delighted to have utilised the sharp turn and venomous bounce on offer at the Dharamsala pitch as his four-wicket haul pulled things back for Australia, who reduced India to 248/6 in their first innings on the second day of the fourth and final cricket Test on Saturday.
India were cruising with Lokesh Rahul (60) and Cheteshwar Pujara (57) having taken the hosts to 153/2 with Lyon looking not efficient, among others.
But in the post-tea session, Lyon turned out to be the most lethal bowlers, extracting a lot of bounce off the surface that created troubles for the Indian middle-order.
Lyon bagged Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (46), Karun Nair (5) all being caught by close-in fielders. While Pujara gloved it to Peter Handscomb at short-leg, Nair also failed to fend off sharp turn and bounce as he ended up being caught off the glove by wicket-keeper Matthew Wade at the short-leg position.
Rahane was beaten by sharp turn and could only edge it to Steven Smith at first slip, while Ravichandran Ashwin (30) was dismissed LBW as these wickets left India 52 runs behind.
As the day progressed, the pitch started to show variety of bounce and spin.
“After bowling a couple of overs before lunch I sat down and thought about what it (pitch) is similar to. And it was closer to a home wicket where the bounce is my biggest weapon, where I am getting guys caught at bat pad and slips,” Lyon said.
“I went back to how I bowl, which is probably how I should bowl. I should just go out there and back my skill and enjoy the challenge of bowling to the best side in the world in their home conditions,” he added.
With the series tied at 1-all, Lyon reckoned that the deciding game is very much balanced at the end of second’s play. “We’re quite positive. It’s an unbelievable feeling to be pretty evenly poised after day two,” said Lyon.
“I know probably left a few runs out there (batting), but to have them 6-240 odd I am quite happy. Coming over here everyone wrote us off and to be in this position in the last Test with pressure slightly on India is fantastic.
“Hopefully (batting last) is going to be a massive challenge for them, but that really depends on how long we bat for and how many runs we can set them. We believe we’re good enough.”