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3rd Test, Day 1: Khawaja’s fifty puts Australia in lead after India crumble against spin

Indore : A fine half-century (60) from Usman Khawaja, after Matthew Kuhnemann took his maiden Test five-wicket haul, put Australia in ascendancy with vital 47-run lead on day one of third Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy against India at the Holkar Stadium, here on Wednesday.

Kuhnemann ran through India’s batting order, taking 5/16 in his nine overs on a pitch which had sharp turn and variable bounce. Nathan Lyon picked up three wickets while Todd Murphy took out Virat Kohli as India were bundled out for just 109.

Thereafter, Khawaja with his soft hands and a calm head, stitched a vital 96-run stand with Marnus Labuschagne to take Australia 156/4 in 54 overs at stumps, though the duo fell for 60 and 31 respectively. For India, Ravindra Jadeja took all four Australian wickets and was the only bowler to trouble the visitors’.

The final session began with Khawaja flicking and reverse-sweeping off Ravindra Jadeja. The duo continued to rotate strike and eventually, Khawaja got his 21st fifty in Test cricket as Australia got their highest partnership of the series.

Labuschagne got stuck against Jadeja from 31st over onwards, as he was beaten by the left-arm spinner at least five times. Jadeja eventually got a slider to fox Labuschagne, who was on backfoot and the ball kept low to crash into the stumps.

After Australia took the lead, Khawaja got the going tough against Jadeja when the left-arm spinner bowled from over the wicket angle. He tried to counter it by sweep, but that caused his downfall as he swept straight to deep mid-wicket off Jadeja.

Steve Smith feasted on some boundaries off Axar and Jadeja, but the Australian captain played down the wrong line and a thin edge was caught behind by KS Bharat behind, becoming the fourth wicket of the left-arm spinner. Cameron Green and Peter Handscomb saw out 5.1 overs till stumps closed a day which went in Australia’s favour.

Brief scores: Australia 156/4 in 54 overs (Usman Khawaja 60, Marnus Labuschagne 21; Ravindra Jadeja 4/63) lead India 109 all out in 33.3 overs (Virat Kohli 22, Shubman Gill 21; Matthew Kuhnemann 5/16, Nathan Lyon 3/35) by 47 runs

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