• Perth pitch troubles Australia

    Australian captain Tim Paine’s decision to bat first on a green Perth Stadium pitch yielded a score of 277 for six on day one of the second Test against India on Friday.

    Half-centurions Aaron Finch, Marcus Harris and Travis Head handled conditions and the opposition attack well enough, to a point, but all would have conceded they should’ve graduated to triple figures. Middle-order kingpin Shaun Marsh, who perished for 45, will echo the sentiment.

    India fielded a weakened bowling attack after spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was injured and replaced by seamer Umesh Yadav. All-rounder Hanuma Vihari, meanwhile, entered the XI ahead of batsman Rohit Sharma, who was also sidelined by injury.

    Spinner Vihari accounted for the key dismissals of Harris and Marsh, while seamer Ishant Sharma all but resigned the no-ball problem he experienced in the series opener to the past with the important departures of Head and the struggling Peter Handscomb.

    Handscomb perished for just seven and is really battling to justify selection ahead of all-rounder Mitchell Marsh, who would offer the same – if not more – with the bat plus a role with the ball.

    Paine will resume alongside burgeoning all-rounder Pat Cummins on Saturday, eager to vindicate his decision at the toss en route to a formidable first-innings total of 350-plus.

    Thereafter, seamers Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Starc will be tasked with dismantling an opposition order shy of Sharma, but spearheaded by the talismanic Virat Kohli. Starc, in particular, requires a good performance after being accused of lacking fire in the series opener.

    India won the first Test by 31 runs. Tests three and four will be played in Melbourne and Sydney respectively.


    Photo: Getty

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