It was a day for the spinners in Pune on Day 2 of the second Test between India and Australia. Chasing Australia’s 260, India were on fairly safe waters when they were 94/3 in the second session. What followed was one of the most sensational implosions in India’s Test history that saw them collapsing to 105 all out. Steve O’Keefe was the tormentor-in-chief for Australia and took six wickets for 35 runs in 13 overs.
In the morning, R Ashwin was the man to bowl the first over of the day with Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood continuing from an overnight total of 256/9 with Starc providing some last wicket resistance to India. It took five balls for Ashwin to send Starc back and soon enough India openers KL Rahul and Murali Vijay were out in the middle.
Starc troubled the batsmen early on but they seemed to have weathered the storm. That was until Josh Hazlewood got the breakthrough for the Aussies with the wicket of Vijay. Cheteshwar Pujara was the next man to the crease and he, along with Rahul stuck on for the next eight overs. Pujara then fell to Starc in the 14th over and in came India skipper Virat Kohli. The noise levels rose in the crowd as he made his way. That applause was still present when he left his first ball. It got silenced when he got out on the next. Starc bowled it full and wide, something that has been an Achilles heel for the otherwise infallible Kohli, and the Indian skipper went for it only to nick it to Steve Smith at slips. It was Kohli who had taken his Australian counterpart’s catch on Day 1. Only difference is that, while Smith went for 27, Kohli went for none.
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Starc’s spell set the tone for the rest of the Indian innings. Although Rahul and Ajinkya Rahane stuck on to make a half century stand for the fourth wicket, the duo couldn’t prolong the fight. The collapse, the terrible collapse started with KL Rahul, Rahane and Wriddhiman Saha falling to Stephen O’Keefe in the 32nd over. R Ashwin, Jayant Yadav then fell in the next four overs and India were 98/8. Jadeja then slogged around a little bit before being dismissed himself and thus became the fifth man to fall to O’Keefe. Umesh Yadav was the last man to depart and the sixth man to be dismissed by O’Keefe.
Australia started with a lead of 155 runs, something that would have been unthinkable judging from India’s recent batting performances. But Kohli fired in the spinners and Ashwin, yet again, got the breakthrough in the first over in the form of the dangerous David Warner. Ashwin struck yet again with the wicket of Shaun Marsh and later, sent back Peter Handscomb. But Australian captain Steve Smith has stuck on despite his team mates falling on the other end and has scored 59 runs. Alongwith him is Mitchell Marsh on 21. Australia are 143/4 at the end of Day 2 and lead by 298 runs with six wickets remaining.