Indian spinners strike to peg back Australia

Last Updated: Fri, Mar 15, 2013 09:40 hrs

Mohali: Australia failed to capitalise on a good start and reached 180 for three in their first innings on the second day of the third cricket Test against India at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) Stadium here Friday.

Opening batsman David Warner (71) and Ed Cowan (76 batting) gave a steady start with their 139-run stand, the first century-partnership for Australia in the series.

But Australia's inability to play left-arm spinners came to the fore as Ravindra Jadeja (2/37) and Pragyan Ojha (1/45) struck in tandem and the visitors lost three wickets for 12 runs. Giving Cowan company was Steve Smith, who was unbeaten on 19.

After the first day's play was washed out due to rain without a ball being bowled, bright sunny skies welcomed the two teams on the second day. Play started 30 minutes early at 9 a.m.

Australia did well in the first session scoring 109 runs without any loss but slipped in the second when they lost three quick wickets for 71 runs.

Following Michael Clarke's decision to bat, Warner and Cowan made a cautious start but grew in confidence as the game progressed. They played within their limitations and collected runs efficiently.

Cowan was lucky on 35, when his attempted cut shot whizzed past Virat Kohli at slip off recalled left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha. Warner also had a lucky escape on 50 when his edge went past Kohli's right hand off left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja.

Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and Ojha extracted bounce and spin, but that hardly troubled the two openers, as Australia took lunch at 109 for no loss.

It was Jadeja who drew first blood as Warner edged to Mahendra Singh Dhoni and struck on the next ball to get rid of Clarke. The Australian captain, who had made good use of his feet in the series, came out only to be beaten and Dhoni was quick enough to remove the bails. It was Clarke's first golden duck as he promoted himself up the order at No.3.

Ojha, who has been included in the side replacing local hero Harbhajan Singh, removed an out of form Phil Hughes (2) to leave Australia tottering at 151 for three.

Earlier, India made one change by leaving out Harbhajan Singh for Ojha. Debutant Shikhar Dhawan got his Test cap from Sachin Tendulkar.

Australia made four changes. Brad Haddin comes in place of Matthew Wade, Steve Smith for Shane Watson, Nathan Lyon for Glenn Maxwell and Mitchell Starc for James Patinson.

More from Sify: