India vs Australia, 3rd Test at Mohali: Australia seize initiative early on Day 2

David Warner (left) and Ed Cowan provided a strong start to Australia © Getty Images (File Pic)

Mohali: Mar 15, 2013

Australia got off to a bright start in their first innings after electing to bat first in the third Test against India, and took lunch on Day Two at 109 for no loss.

After a tumultuous last four days for the Australian camp, David Warner (54 not out) and Ed Cowan (43 not out)  provided the one of the first signs that the team has put the Homeworkgate saga behind them and have started on a fresh new slate.

There were no signs of the rains that had washed out the entire first day’s play at Mohali, with the temperature in the early thirties and humidity crossing 90 per cent. Any hopes the scattering of Australian fans had of a cooler climate after Day One evaporated as the sun shone in all its glory on the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) stadium.

Aptly enough, the Australian team bid goodbye to their days of gloom and welcomed the sunshine on Friday morning. On a pitch that is as flat as a pancake, with just a shade of dry, yellow grass cover, the Australian openers made efficient use of the conditions after being put into bat by their captain, Michael Clarke, and propelled Australia towards a good first-innings total. The Indian pacers were finding no early help off the surface, like they did in Chennai and Hyderabad, and the outcome was evident from the first over itself.

Warner got off the mark with two crisp boundaries through mid-off and cover off Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who learnt very early in the innings that he was going to have to toil hard for wickets. Ishant Sharma, sharing the new ball from the other end, was his usual self, bowling a decent line but struggling with length. Any loose deliveries from the two bowlers were punished by Warner, while Cowan dug into his usual, patient innings.

Eventually, in the 10th over of the innings, MS Dhoni brought on the first of his two specialist spinners. Ravichandran Ashwin, with 18 wickets to his name in the two Tests played before Mohali, was the pick of India’s spin assault. The Chennai boy asked a few questions early on and got the ball to turn, although the pitch ceased to produce any of the vicious bounce that we saw in Chennai and Hyderabad, thus attenuating Ashwin’s threat.

As left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha, back in the team in place of the rather ineffective Harbhajan Singh, joined Ashwin from the other end in the last 30 minutes of the session, the two Australian openers were well settled and anchored, looking forward to a fruitful day in the middle.

Brief Scores: Australia 109 for no loss (David Warner 54*, Ed Cowan 43*) vs India.

Photo Gallery