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BGT 2023, IND v AUS, 1st Test, Day 2: Rohit's 120, Jadeja-Axar stand gives India crucial lead

Border Gavaskar Trophy 2022-2023, India vs Australia, 1st Test, Day 1: Rohit Sharma's 120, Ravindra Jadeja-Axar Patel 81-run stand gives India 144-run lead.

Border Gavaskar Trophy 2022-2023, India vs Australia, 1st Test, Day 1: Rohit Sharma scores 120 against Australia in Nagpur  _ Walking Wicket (Images_ ©BCCI_Twitter)
Rohit Sharma scores 120 against Australia in Nagpur (Images: ©BCCI/Twitter)

Brief Scores: India 321-7 (Rohit Sharma 120, R Jadeja 66*, Murphy 5-82) lead Australia 177 (Labuschagne 49, Smith 37, Jadeja 5-47, Ashwin 3-42) by 144 runs at Stumps on Day 2


India skipper Rohit Sharma started off well on Day 2 and looked very composed at the crease. On the other hand, his partner Ravichandran Ashwin well-known for his recent batting masterclass against Bangladesh batted sensibly and kept negotiating the good deliveries very well. Both of them stitched a useful 42 run partnership which put the hosts in the driving seat in the opening hour of the first session.


Debutant Todd Murphy provided Aussies with timely breakthroughs but that was not enough to roll back the aggression of India’s batters as Team India sailed past Australia’s first innings score and gained a competitive lead of 144 runs. After reducing India to 240-7 and with a few half chances gone begging, Aussie bowlers were unable to bundle out India as they ended the day with a score of 321-7.


Pat Cummins not at his very best & the curious case of Todd Murphy

The number 1 ranked Test bowler, Pat Cummins failed to deliver the goods for his side even on Day 2. Many experts before the game believed that he would be a major threat to contend with for Team India, but all those notions were put to rest as he was found guilty of leaking too many runs on the opening day of the first Test which allowed Indian openers to build momentum.


Even on Day 2, Cummins couldn’t create a great deal of impact which really hurt Australia’s chances of restricting India’s progress. Although he was able to produce unplayable deliveries every now and then, India’s batters looked unperturbed and scored rather briskly of his bowling which comfortably took them past Australia’s first innings total.


The 22-year-old debutant. Todd Murphy, prospered with the ball at a time when the chips were down. With the senior bowlers unable to step up, Murphy bowled with heart and by far, looked the most threatening bowler in the Aussie line up. Unlike his counterpart Nathan Lyon, the debutant produced more wicket-taking opportunities which helped him maintain a considerable amount of pressure on India’s batters.


Murphy turned out to be more consistent with his line of attack and conceded only a handful number of error balls to score off. As opposed to Lyon, he was also able to impart more side spin which resulted in the undoing of KL Rahul, Ravichandran Ashwin, Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara and debutant Kona Srikar Bharat.


Rohit Sharma piling up the runs for Team India

Rohit Sharma’s form at the top of the order is certainly great news for the Indian fans. He emerged as the highest run-scorer so far for Team India in the first innings. He was finally able to put an end to a two-year Test century drought by bringing up his eighth ton which was incidentally his first as a captain in Test cricket.


Right throughout his innings, the India skipper looked very much in control and scored majority of his runs on the on-side. A major chunk of his runs came in the form of boundaries as he never hesitated to put the bad ball away. But he equally respected the good balls whenever the situation called for it. He went on to compile a well-composed 120 of 212 deliveries which featured 15 fours and 2 sixes.



Session one belonged to Team India

The opening session of Day 2 well and truly belonged to India. Trailing just by 100 runs, Team India started the opening session with positive intent and lost only two wickets. Both Sharma and Ashwin showed maturity and played with the Aussie bowling line up. Whereas, Australia’s bowlers were desperate for wickets and toiled hard to stem the flow of runs. But their efforts went in vain as there was no major venom on offer from the Aussie bowlers.

Debutant Todd Murphy provided Australia with a much-needed breakthrough by dismissing Ashwin in the first ball of 41st over. He struck again in his 12th over by dismissing the rock-solid Pujara cheaply for just 7. Although those two wickets gave Aussies a sniff, on the whole the Indian batters seemed undeterred and scored steadily at less than 4 RPO which eventually got them very close to Australia’s first innings total. Team India ended the first session on 151/3 just a stone throw away from posting a massive lead.



Murphy & Lyon pull India back post Lunch

Just 26 runs behind and being comfortably placed at 151/3, Team India were hoping to commence the second session on a pleasant note but that wasn’t to be. Australia got off to a dream start in the second session as India sustained a big blow losing Kohli on the very first ball after lunch. Todd Murphy was right on the money and got the crucial wicket of Kohli which marginally tilted the game in Australia’s favour yet again.


Kohli’s departure brought Suryakumar Yadav to the crease who also failed to live up to the expectations. He was dismissed for just 8 to an absolute ripper bowled by Lyon. At this point, India lost half their side to spin and were still trailing by 9 runs. However, with the arrival of Ravindra Jadeja, India found some stability. Subsequently, Sharma registered his 8th Test ton and got the hosts well past Australia’s first innings total.


With the surface continuing to deteriorate rapidly, a lead of every run was seen as gold dust. With Jadeja and Sharma at the crease, the duo kept amassing useful runs which got them well and truly past Australia’s 177. Both the batters rarely gave anything away to the Aussie bowlers and were able to register the second-highest partnership of the first innings for Team India.


Strike rotation was one of the key features of their partnership which didn’t allow Australia’s bowlers to settle into a consistent rhythm. India managed to fight back towards the end and ended the second session on 226/5 with a sizeable lead of 49 runs.


Border Gavaskar Trophy 2022-2023, India vs Australia, 1st Test, Day 1_ RAvindra Jadeja scores crucial half century (66_) for India against Australia _ Walking Wicket (Images_ ©BCCI_Twitter)
Jadeja scores crucial half century (66*) for India on Day 2 (Images: ©BCCI/Twitter)

Jadeja & Axar take India onto driving seat in last session

With the game gradually slipping away from Australia’s grasp, Pat Cummins decided to take the new ball desperate to bring about a change in fortunes. Right after obtaining the new cherry, Cummins was rewarded straight away with the prize wicket of Sharma. He dismissed the India skipper with a jaffer of a delivery and sent his off-stump for a walk. Soon after, Srikar Bharat too perished to Murphy handing the 22-year-old with his maiden five-wicket haul.


Meanwhile, Ravindra Jadeja, on the other end, kept pushing on and showcased why he has become such an improved cricketer in recent times. He scored a well-deserved half century and together with contribution from Axar Patel, the duo took the game away from the visitors. Their undefeated 81-run stand for the eight wicket has now put Team India a step closer to victory.


Just as the preceding sessions, Aussies started off this session well but somehow lost their way in the middle allowing India to creep back in the game. This is a pattern which was observed with the Aussies right through the second day’s play. A vital game-changing contribution from the lower order meant that Team India finished Day 2 on a high with a match-winning lead of 144 runs.


Statistical Highlights from India vs Australia, 1st Test, Day 2

  • Todd Murphy becomes the youngest Australia spinner to claim a five-wicket haul on Test debut.

  • The eighth wicket undefeated stand of 81* between Jadeja and Patel is currently the fifth-highest for India for this wicket against Australia.

  • Rohit Sharma scored his first Test century as Skipper

What to Expect on Day 3

After conceding a massive first innings lead to Team India, Aussies will look to take the remaining wickets in quick succession after a good night’s rest. However, this will not be an easy ask since both Axar and Jadeja have firmly got their eye in. In order to overcome the deficit, Australia will need to buy out some time and bat sensibly and emphasise on building substantial partnerships to get past and well beyond the 144-run lead mark.


After having a successful outing with the ball in the first innings, the Indian bowlers would surely be itching to exploit the favourable bowling conditions to their advantage again to skittle the Aussies for a shambolic score. Taking into consideration the deteriorating nature of the pitch, Team India would ideally not want to chase anything beyond 130-plus.


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