Australia off-spinner Nathan Lyon dealt another major blow to the Indian batsmen’s reputation on dry, turning pitches with a sensational spell on Day 1 of the second Test in Bangalore on Saturday. (HIGHLIGHTS)
The 29-year-old off-spinner preyed on Indian batsmen’s ebbing confidence after the stunning defeat in the first Test in Pune last week, claiming eight for 50 to skittle out the hosts for 189 at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. (SCORECARD)
An almost packed weekend crowd that had arrived in anticipation of India’s revival following the 333-run defeat suffered in the first Test was shocked into silence as batsmen after batsmen fell to the guile of Lyon.
Opening batsman KL Rahul anchored the flailing innings by scoring 90, a near five-hour effort after being dropped on 30 and 61, but Lyon eventually got his man as the ninth wicket and was on a hat-trick after claiming last man Ishant Sharma the next ball to end India’s innings.
Australia openers saw off the 16 overs, reaching 40 for no loss at stumps. David Warner (23) and Matt Renshaw (15) were batting.
LYON TAKES OVER
India’s abject surrender on a dry, crumbling Pune pitch was caused by left-arm spinner Steve O’Keefe, whose 12/70 saw the hosts shot out for 105 and 107, for their lowest tally in a completed innings at home.
But Lyon took over after coming on as third change midway through the morning, after Virat Kohli had won a crucial toss and elected to bat.
Lyon bowled to an end which had variable bounce, but the slow pitch sporting cracks that are likely to open up as the game progresses, caught the Indian top-order batsmen with clever change of pace, flight and length.
His haul was the best bowling performance by a visiting batsman in India, surpassing South Africa’s all-rounder Lance Klusener’s 8/64 at Eden Gardens in 1996.
But Indian batsmen played a big role in the surrender as their tentative approach was exploited by Lyon. Cheteshwar Pujara fell on 17, at the stroke of lunch, his push ending up at forward short leg. Then came the big wicket of Virat Kohli, who was dismissed for 0 and 13 in Pune.
The India skipper, who was bowled by O’Keefe in the second innings shouldering arms at Pune, drew his bat away late, but Lyon’s control saw the ball thud into his pads. A reluctant review added to India’s troubles with the DRS, but confirmed the ball would have hit middle and leg stump.
Ajinkya Rahane, whose inferior record at home has exposed his weakness against spin this long season, desperately dashed out of the crease, only to be beaten. Wicketkeeper Mathew Wade, who completed the stumping on second attempt, was ready the next time.
Karun Nair, recalled to play his first Test since scoring 303 not out against England in Chennai two months ago, was lured by O’Keefe to be stumped. The spinner, who used the straighter delivery to great effect on a rank turner in Pune, got Nair (26) stump with sharp turn this time.
India lost their last five wickets for 33 runs as Lyon grabbed his last five wickets in 28 deliveries, conceding just six runs.
Only KL Rahul stood out in the mayhem. He has a knock of scoring runs, but was lucky playing rash shots in the morning. He saw his push off O’Keefe on 30 dropped by Peter Handscomb at short cover, but tightened his game after lunch. Still, he played an ill-advised sweep against Lyon, but saw the ball bounce off Warner’s hands at leg slip.
Towards the end, it appeared his shoulder was hurting, and double hit a lofted shot straight to mid-off.