A bit of aggressive banter goes a long way and it helped Australia rattle India’s batsmen on day two of the fourth Test in Delhi, Aussie spinner Nathan Lyon says.
India have dominated the series and are still in a strong position to push for a four-nil sweep.
However they were made to fight awfully hard for a first-innings advantage on Saturday, reaching 8-266 at stumps in reply to Australia’s 262.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar will resume on Sunday on 10 with only Pragyan Ojha and Ishant Sharma for company after Lyon claimed 5-94 including the wicket of Ravi Ashwin lbw from the last ball of the day’s play.
Five long years after the Monkeygate scandal of the 2008 Sydney Test, tensions between the two sides exploded in the 51st over on Saturday. India batsman and captain MS Dhoni appeared to be warned by the umpire for running down the pitch.
Australia fielder David Warner became involved in a verbal spat with Dhoni and reports suggested Warner had been warned by the umpires, although an Australia team spokesman said he was unaware of any action taken against the fiery opener.
Warner’s captain Shane Watson stepped in to have a word with his player. Watson also spoke to Dhoni as both captains attempted to calm the situation.
It’s understood Warner gave Ravindra Jadeja a spray for taking a drinks break during the over, which led Jadeja to complain the umpires about Warner’s tactics.
“We do wish that we did do it earlier,” Lyon said of Australia’s sledging tactics.
“That’s a way that Australia plays its best cricket, when we’re putting the contest to the opposition.
“And no matter who the opposition is, I think it works well.”
Dhoni was out two overs after the incident for 24 at 6-210 but India fought back with a 44-run partnership between Jadeja (43) and Ashwin (12).
“Yeah there was definitely a lead-up (to Dhoni’s dismissal),” Lyon said.
“We need to have that aggression. We need to get in the contest and that led to every wicket that fell out there.
“That was how it was with the conflict that went out there in the middle. The aggression that was going on, Dhoni fell away to Patto.”
Dhoni’s pull shot landed in the safe hands of Watson at mid-wicket off the bowling of James Pattinson in a key blow.
Australia had resumed on 8-231 and were bowled out for 262 including tailender Peter Siddle’s career-best 51.
Offspinner Ravi Ashwin claimed 5-57, giving him 27 wickets for the series in a dominant performance.
India raced to 0-59 at lunch off 14 overs. Murali Vijay (57) and Cheteshwar Pujara (52) completed half-centuries after lunch, adding 108 for the first wicket.
However Australia’s aggression paid dividends as India lost 6-102 in a collapse before Jadeja and Ashwin made sure the home side’s tail wagged, just as Siddle and Pattinson (30) had done for Australia with a 54-run partnership for the ninth wicket.