Tuesday, June 18, 2024

WTC Final, Day 2: India lose Rohit, Gill in quick succession after Siraj four-fer bowls out Australia for 467

Mohammed Siraj picked a four-wicket haul to lead a solid fightback for his team on day two of the World Test Championship final and bowl out Australia for 469 in 121.3 overs of their first innings but Pat Cummins and Scott Boland then attacked stumps relentlessly while bowling fuller to dismiss Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill in quick succession to leave India at 37/2 in 10 overs at Tea, here on Thursday.

For India, still trailing by 432 runs, Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli are unbeaten on 3 and 4 respectively. A lot hinges on the highly-experienced duo to lead India’s charge with the bat in a crucial final session.  

India made a positive start with Rohit pulling a short ball off Mitchell Starc while squeezing a drive off him to take two fours. Gill played a glorious drive off Cummins through the gap for four on the very first ball he faced and went on to play a cracking pull on the backfoot over mid-on to pick another boundary.

Cummins bounced back by getting some inward movement to beat Rohit’s attempted clip and trap him plumb lbw for 15. In the next over, Gill horribly misjudged a straighter delivery from Boland coming in and saw his top of off-stump being rattled without offering a shot.

Pujara and Kohli then took India to safety till tea, with fans awaiting another gripping session of Test cricket.

Earlier, Australia began day two from their overnight score of 327/3 with Steve Smith making 121, his 31st Test century while Travis Head crossed 150 for the fourth time in his career to top-score with 163 as the duo shared a massive 285-run stand for the fourth wicket after being reduced to 76/3.

But India, who took only three wickets on a lacklustre day one, made a spirited fightback to pick the rest of seven wickets to bowl out Australia for 469 on a pitch where there is some movement and variable bounce on offer.

A persistent Siraj was the pick of bowlers for India with 4/108, also becoming the 42nd bowler from the country to scalp 50 wickets in Tests. Pacers Mohammed Shami and Shardul Thakur took two wickets each while Ravindra Jadeja had a scalp to his name.

The second session began with some traces of variable bounce being seen. Carey clipped off Shami for four, before taking three boundaries off him – twice through leg-side and one past mid-off – in the 113th over. He went on to launch Ravindra Jadeja over long-on for six, taking Australia above 450.

But Jadeja bounced back immediately as Carey missed a straighter delivery on reverse-sweep and was trapped lbw, ending his knock at 48 and his 51-run stand with captain Pat Cummins for the eighth wicket. Mohammed Siraj rattled Nathan Lyon’s off-stump to pick his 50th Test wicket and had Cummins caught at extra cover to end Australia’s innings.

Brief Scores: Australia 469 in 121.3 overs (Travis Head 163, Steve Smith 121; Mohammed Siraj 4/108, Shardul Thakur 2/83) lead India 37/2 in 10 overs (Rohit Sharma 15; Scott Boland 1/2, Pat Cummins 1/20) by 432 runs

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