AHMEDABAD: Usman Khawaja found an able ally in Cameron Green as Australia tested India’s patience to put up a commanding first-innings total of 480 on the second day of the fourth and final Test match at the Narendra Modi Stadium here on Friday.
On the Motera track that has not deteriorated, the India openers were hardly troubled while batting in the last phase of the day, with Shubman Gill (18 batting) and skipper Rohit Sharma (17 batting) steering the host to 36 without loss at stumps. During his short stay in the middle, Gill signalled his attacking intent by lofting a Nathan Lyon delivery for a six down the ground.
While Khawaja and Green picked up from where they left off on the opening day, India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin (6/91) showed his sheer class with a six-wicket haul. Opener Khawaja’s marathon 180-run (21 fours) knock came off 422 deliveries, effectively 70.2 overs of the 167.2 overs faced by the visiting team.
The No.6 batter Green’s maiden Test century, an attractive 114 off 170 balls, was laced with 18 fours and showed that the surface is offering good value for shots in the ‘V’. The duo’s 208-run fifth-wicket partnership will massively boost the confidence of the Australia side, which could not cross 275 even once in the five completed innings in the first three Tests.
Towards the end of the Australia innings, lower-order batters Todd Murphy (41 off 61 balls, 5 fours) and Lyon (34 off 96 balls, 6 fours), primarily in the eleven for their off-spin, frustrated the host with an invaluable 70-run stand for the ninth wicket.
For India, Ashwin gave his all and bagged his 32nd five-wicket haul in Test cricket, taking his tally to 473 in the longest format. After back-to-back barren sessions for Rohit’s side, the ace offie scalped three quick wickets – Green, Alex Carey (0) and Mitchell Starc (6) – to put some smile on the faces of the home team’s fans. By the time Ashwin achieved his fifer, Australia crossed the 475-run mark and put itself in a strong position.
Day Two belongs to Green
The day belonged to all-rounder Green, who completed a well-deserved ton after beginning on his overnight score of 49.
He blended attack with defence and accumulated 92 runs in the company of Khawaja in the day’s first session.
A batter who loves playing drives, Green hit most of his boundaries in the cover and long-off regions while occasionally finding the leg-side fence. As for India, the show of pacers Mohammed Shami (2/134 off 31 overs) and Umesh Yadav (0/105 off 25 overs), who leaked runs throughout the innings, will be a concern.
BRIEF SCORES: Australia 480 in 167.2 overs (U Khawaja 180, C Green 114, T Murphy 41, R Ashwin 6/91) vs India 36/0 in 10 overs
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