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2nd Test, Day 1: Rohit, Rahul remain unbeaten at stumps after Shami four-fer bowls out Australia for 263

New Delhi, Feb 17 (IANS) India captain Rohit Sharma and his deputy K.L. Rahul saw out the remaining nine overs to take the hosts to 21/0 in nine overs and trail Australia by 242 runs at stumps on day one of the second Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test at the Arun Jaitley Stadium on Friday.

Rohit and Rahul are not out on 13 and 4 respectively after senior pacer Mohammed Shami picked four wickets while the spin duo of off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja took three wickets each to bowl out Australia for 263 in the first innings.

For Australia, who elected to bat first after winning the toss, left-handed opener Usman Khawaja was precise in footwork and pristine in strokeplay to make 81, the first fifty by a visiting batter on the ongoing tour. Peter Handscomb looked impressive in his 72 not out. But losing wickets in back-to-back fashion thrice may come to hurt them later on.

Rohit began by standing tall and punching past point off his Australian counterpart Pat Cummins in the opening over. Debutant Matthew Kuhnemann and Nathan Lyon found some extra bounce and turn as Rohit and K.L. Rahul were defending patiently. Rohit also got to overturn a ‘caught on forward short leg decision’ off Lyon on the stroke of stumps.

Earlier, the final session began with Australia reaching 200 in 59.4 overs. Peter Handscomb started off by using the pace from Axar Patel’s delivery to guide past slip for a boundary. When Jadeja pitched outside the off-stump, Handscomb was quick to go on backfoot and punch past the backward point for another boundary.

After Handscomb got his fifty in 110 balls, Jadeja broke the stubborn 59-run stand by trapping Pat Cummins lbw, with the Australian skipper burning a review. Two balls later, Jadeja castled Todd Murphy through the gate.

Nathan Lyon was delightful in punching and driving off Shami. But the pacer had the last laugh, sending Lyon’s off-stump on a cartwheel ride. Jadeja had Handscomb caught on 67, but replays showed he overstepped and was called no-ball.

On the very next ball, Handscomb slog-swept Jadeja over deep square leg for a sumptuous boundary. In the next over, Shami brought Australia’s innings to a close by castling debutant Matthew Kuhnemann.

Brief scores: Australia 263 in 78.4 overs (Usman Khawaja 81, Peter Handscomb 72 not out; Mohammed Shami 4-60, Ravichandran Ashwin 3-57) lead India 21/0 in 9 overs (Rohit Sharma 13 not out) by 242 runs