Australia’s Nathan Lyon spun a web that caught the India’s batsmen on the wrong foot on the second day of the Delhi Test to leave the game tantalizingly poised. We’ll have live scores and commentary from 3.00pm AEDT.
Grabbing five wickets in the day, four of which came in a 21-over spell from the South Australia off-spinner, Lyon brought Australia back on level terms in the game after India’s new opening pair had threatened to take the game away from the visitors.
Interestingly it also came on a day when the Australian side showed on-field aggression that was a throwback to their dominating years, something that was conspicuous by its absence in the first three games. It will be no different come the second innings.
Chasing Australia’s 262 in the first innings, India had gotten themselves to 0/108 before Lyon reeled out those overs and grabbed four of the first five wickets to fall.
There were half-centuries for Murali Vijay and make-shift opener Cheteshwar Pujara before the fightback came on the back of a spell that mesmerised the Indians.
The pitch had a lot to do how Lyon went, of course, but that would be under-rating the bowler to a great extent.
That he managed to get the speeds and lines and lengths right for the track was a huge plus in itself but more vitally he made survival on the wicket an arduous task for a side that relishes taking on spinners like Lyon.
Sachin Tendulkar, for instance, could have been given out lbw twice before he finally fell to Lyon – lbw again.
Before that, a well-set Pujara had failed to read a delivery from Lyon that did not spin and beat his outside edge but not the stumps.
Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and R Ashwin – the last wicket off the final delivery of the day – had all been picked to deliveries that were difficult, if not impossible to play, in other words, they weren’t unforced errors from the batsmen.
That said, India will enter the third day of the game with a slender lead of four under their belt and a small matter of the last two wickets in hand.
While Bhuvneshwar Kumar can still hold the bat, the combination of some good spin and pace on this brute of a pitch could be too much for numbers ten and jack, Ishant Sharma and Pragyan Ojha.
Still, in Lyon’s own words, this is a pitch where chasing anything over 150 in the fourth innings could result in a lot of heartaches for the home fans:
“If we can get the last two Indian wickets quickly Sunday morning and then put on about 150-200 runs in the second innings we can put India under pressure.”
If Lyon’s to be believed we could well have a result on the third day itself. But one way or the other the game, and hence the series, may not last too much into the fourth day.
This could also imply that if by the dint of some excellent counter-attacking batting the last two Indian wickets could raise the lead to over 50, Australia would be left with a lot to do in the second innings.
Conversely a quick cleanup operation at the start of the day before a smashing session for Australia could raise hopes of registering their first win in the country since 2004.
Live coverage of the game begins from 3.00pm AEDT on Sunday and you can add your opinion in the comments section below.