Ravi Ashwin’s off-breaks knocked the top off the Aussie top order to leave them reeling at 87-4, before Handscomb and Head helped rescue the innings.
Mohammed Shami gloved a short ball from Josh Hazlewood to Tim Paine first ball of the day to close India’s innings on 250 off 88 overs, Hazelwood finishing with the best innings figures of 20-3-52-3 (econ 2.60).
Opener Ishant Sharma knocked back Aaron Finch’s middle and off stumps with the third ball of the innings to leave Australia 0-1. His fellow opener Marcus Harris (making his Test debut) set about a cautious stand of 45 for the second wicket with Usman Khawaja, before a beautiful delivery from Ashwin induced an inside edge which Murali Vijay pocketed at silly mid-off.
Harris’ first turn at bat in Test cricket brought just 26 runs off 57 balls, with three fours. Shaun Marsh followed for two runs off 19 balls to leave Australia 59-3, Ashwin bowling him after tempting the batter into the drive.
Khawaja and Peter Handscomb added 38 for the fourth wicket before Ashwin had Khawaja caught behind for 28 off a stoic 125 balls, with one four. Handscomb and Travis Head shored up the innings for 18 overs, taking the score to 120 before Handscomb became Jasprit Bumrah’s first wicket of the series, caught behind by Rishabh Pant for 34 off 93 balls (5×4).
Head was left to marshall the tail-enders in the direction of 200, with Australia ending the day on 191-7 off 88 overs, still 59 runs behind India’s first innings total. Head will resume on the third morning with his score on 61 off 149 balls, which included six fours.
Ashwin’s 3-50 proved to be the mainstay of the Indian innings, with Sharma (2-31) and Bumrah (2-34) returning excellent figures as Australia failed to press home the advantage they had enjoyed on the first morning.
Photo: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images