Australia confident they can win Perth Test to level series against India

Perth:Australia are confident they can overcome a deteriorating pitch to build amatch-winning lead in the second Test in Perth.
At stumps on the third day, Australia were 132for four, with Usman Khawaja on 41 and Tim Paine on eight, an overall advantageof 175 after leading by 43 runs on the first innings despite a stellar ViratKohli century.
Although they still had six wickets in hand,opener Aaron Finch was taken to hospital for scans after retiring hurt with aninjured right hand on 25.
Australian coach Justin Langer said Finch hadbeen cleared of serious damage, but was uncertain if he would return to thecrease.
The cracks in the pitch were starting tobecome a significant factor, with Finch’s opening partner, Marcus Harris, alsostruck flush on the helmet by a rising delivery in making 20.
Australian spinner Nathan Lyon, who claimedfive wickets in the Indian first innings to move into the top 25 of Testwicket-takers, conceded the pitch was getting harder to bat on, and claimedAustralia were set to post a total its attack could defend to level the series.
“The wicket is starting to play a few moretricks,” he said.
“We know we have the bowlers to make sure wecan defend what we have to.
“Whatever we get to is just going to have tobe enough.”
Indian paceman Jasprit Bumrah (one for 25),who was almost unplayable at times, said India’s batsmen would not be deterredby a tough fourth-innings chase.
“We want early wickets tomorrow to reduce thetotal,” he said.
“I am confident our team is capable of chasingany total but we will try to minimize it as much as possible.
“No one has really got out to the crack, it isjust there, but it doesn’t do a lot but it is only in the mindset.”
The Australians found batting extremelychallenging in their second innings, playing and missing time and again as theybattled to extend their lead.
Shaun Marsh (five) and Peter Handscomb (13)again fell cheaply, doing little to ease the pressure on their pair to retaintheir spots in the side.
Marsh played a loose shot to a short ball fromMohammed Shami (two for 23) and was caught behind, while Handscomb’s shakydefense was highlighted when he was trapped lbw by Ishant Sharma (one for 33).
The struggles of the Australian batsmen were afar cry from the command of Kohli as he anchored his team’s first innings untila contentious dismissal.
In reply to Australia’s 326 after winning thetoss and batting, India were bowled out for 283 despite Kohli’s 123.
In reaching triple figures, Kohli became thesecond-fastest player to reach 25 Test centuries in terms of innings with 127,behind only Don Bradman (68) and ahead of his countryman Tendulkar (130).
He also joined Tendulkar as the only Indianbatsmen to have scored six Test centuries in Australia, and became the firstTest centurion at the new venue.
The Indian captain’s innings came to acontroversial end when he was caught at second slip by a diving Handscomb fromthe bowling of Pat Cummins.
Kohli was given out by the on-field umpiresbut clearly believed it had not carried.
However, the decision stood after it wasreviewed by third umpire Nigel Llong.
Bumrah said the Indians were “a littlesurprised” by the on-field decision, while Lyon said the Australians believedit was a “great catch.”
The Indians lost their last five wickets forjust 35 runs to hand Australia a small but valuable lead.

AlamulKhabar Sports