Lyon takes eight as Australia extend dominance on day two

Lyon takes eight as Australia extend dominance on day two

Nathan Lyon Australia

Australia closed in on victory against India on another riveting day’s play in the third Test of the series in Indore. Nathan Lyon led the way for the visitors with the ball, picking up eight wickets in the second innings to skittle India for 163 and set Australia a 76-run target in the fourth innings to secure a memorable win. Cheteshwar Pujara scored a masterful 59 in treacherous conditions for the Men in Blue but received little assistance from his teammates as India suffered another poor day with the bat.

After a strong performance from the bowlers in the morning, the hosts began their second essay with a deficit of 88 runs. However, the Indian batters had no answers to the magic of Nathan Lyon on the Holkar Stadium track as the off-spinner ran riot with the ball. Shubman Gill started India’s slide after dancing down the track and attempting a wild slog across the line against Lyon in the first over post Lunch, only to lose his stumps. Lyon also removed his opening partner, Rohit Sharma, in a similar manner to his first innings dismissal, getting one to spin back sharply and wrap the skipper on his pads.

Matthew Kuhnemann ended Virat Kohli’s stay with a delivery that kept low and trapped him on the pads for 17, while Lyon removed Ravindra Jadeja before the Tea break thanks to a smart review from the visitors.

Shreyas Iyer showed his aggression and launched an admirable fightback after Tea to unsettle the spinners. But the right-hander’s stay was cut short by a terrific catch from Usman Khawaja at mid-wicket off Mitchell Starc. Cheteshwar Pujara kept India in the hunt with a sublime half-century, with the number three using his feet and judging lengths expertly to deal with the Australian spinners.

However, he kept running out of partners, as Lyon pocketed KS Bharat and R Ashwin to bring up his five-wicket haul. The off-spinner also got the wicket of Cheteshwar Pujara for 59, with Steve Smith taking a blinder at leg slip to remove the set batter.

Lyon also ensured that Australia don’t get stung by the Indian tail, removing Umesh Yadav and Siraj for a pair of ducks to finish with 8 for 64, his second-best figures in Test cricket, and bowl India out for 163. Earlier in the day, Australia added 41 runs to their overnight score of 156 to stretch their advantage. Cameron Green and Peter Handscomb stitched a vital partnership to see out the first hour, but the Men in Blue turned things around after the drinks break, picking up the final six wickets for just 11 runs to limit Australia’s lead to just 88. The hosts are going to need a similar miraculous performance on day three if they are to have any chance of completing an improbable victory.