Australia toil against India despite Michael Clarke's heroics


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The Independent Online

India took control of the Second Test against Australia after the visitors could only manage 237 for 9 on the first day, having at one point collapsed to 63 for 4. The innings was held together, not for the first time, by the captain, Michael Clarke, who scored 91 and shared in a fifth-wicket stand of 145 with Matthew Wade.

For India, the main damage was done by the part-time spinner Ravindra Jadeja and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, playing in only his second Test, who each took three wickets.

Australia made two changes to the side which lost the opening Test in Chennai, with Glenn Maxwell given his Test debut in place of Mitchell Starc, while Xavier Doherty replaced Nathan Lyon.

But despite winning the toss, the visitors were soon in trouble. Kumar bowled David Warner for six with a delivery which cut back into the left-hander, then trapped Ed Cowan lbw for four with a ball which might have pitched outside leg stump.

With Australia 15 for 2, Phil Hughes and Shane Watson staged a mini-recovery before Watson fell lbw to Kumar for 23 with the score on 57. Hughes followed, caught behind for 19 off the bowling of R Ashwin, before Wade and Clarke began the Australian recovery.

However Wade was eventually out trying to cut a ball which was possibly too close to his body, falling to Kumar's catch off Harbhajan Singh for a 116-ball 62. Then Clarke, looking to up the scoring rate with the tail, swung across the line to a Jadeja delivery which kept low and hit the stumps. The skipper's final total of 91 included his 26th Test half-century.

In the end, Australia lost their final four wickets for just 29 runs, and with little chance of Nos 10 and 11, James Pattinson and Xavier Doherty, adding to the total, Clarke declared so his bowlers could take advantage of conditions for the final three overs of the day.

However, India were untroubled and finished on five without loss.