Nathan takes Li(y)on’s share of the Indian wickets at Bengaluru: If it was O’Keeffe at Pune, it was Nathan Lyon who ‘terrified and tormented’ the Indian batsmen at Bengaluru.
Bringing in Karun Nair in place of Jayant Yadav and Abhinav Mukund in place of an injured Murali Vijay, Team India looked to make amends for the mistakes made in the First Test and eventually losing the game in under three days.
India won the toss and elected to bat.
Mukund, who was making a comeback to Test cricket after a hiatus of five years, was never at ease. Playing clumsily to a straight full toss from Mitchell Starc, the batsman failed to connect and was wrapped on the pads. The Umpire had no hesitation in lifting his index finger.
Cheteshwar Pujara was ‘patience personified’. Facing 66 deliveries for his 17 runs, with enough bounce and turn on the wicket, failed to pick the length of the pen-ultimate delivery before lunch from Nathan Lyon and became his first victim lobbing up an easy catch to Handscomb in the backward short-leg region.
This opened up the ‘floodgates’ for the wickets to crumble. Indian batters, one after the other, failed to match the guile of Lyon. It appeared as if the Indian batsmen forgot how to tackle spin.
Amongst this chaotic situation, the other opener, KL Rahul was accumulating runs at the other end and kept the score board moving. He brought up his third Test half-century in his 24th innings, facing 105 balls with the help of 8 fours.
Facing a total of 205 deliveries and hitting 9 fours, Rahul got out in the second delivery of the 72nd over bowled by Lyon after scoring a well-made 90 runs, narrowly missing his fifth Test century. He appeared to cover drive an off-break but ended getting a double hit – bat and then pad – resulting in a catch to Renshaw at mid-off. Rahul’s was the ninth wicket to fall
In the very next delivery, Lyon succeeded in picking up the last wicket in the form of Ishant Sharma, who tried to defend a sharp off-break but succeeded in offering a ‘sitter’ to Handscomb in the short-leg area.
Indian innings folded up with just 189 runs on the board.
Lyon could get lovely dip and bounce and he exploited the same to the hilt, bringing back memories of his ‘running through’ the Indian batting line up at Adelaide.
Incidentally, by picking up the wickets of Rahul and Ishant in successive balls and bringing the end of the Indian innings, Lyon is on a ‘hat-trick’. If he is able take a wicket with his very first delivery in the Indian second innings, he would have performed a hat-trick.
Ending the innings with a bowling analysis of 22.2-4-50-8, Lyon’s performance has been the best by any visiting spinner to India and the best bowling performance by any bowler in Bengaluru.
Now it remains to be seen whether the Indian spinning duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja ‘can do a Lyon’ and bring India back into the game.
However, it has been ‘advantage Australia’ on Day 1.