Bengaluru: Australia are hoping to chase as little as they can in their fourth innings against India on a difficult pitch, opener Matt Renshaw said on Sunday, adding that the touring side were content with having batted for the entire second day.
Australia, up 1-0 after their 333-run triumph in the series opener in Pune, scored only 197 runs on the second day at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium but took a vital first-innings lead of 48 by the close of play with four wickets in hand.
The Bengaluru pitch is providing inconsistent bounce and turn for the bowlers. India were bundled out for 189 in their first innings and a bigger first-innings lead will only boost the touring side’s confidence.
“Hopefully, not too many (to chase) because we know that the fourth-innings chase is going to be quite hard out there,” Renshaw, 20, said.
“Hopefully we get a substantial lead out there and the bowlers can do a successful job, like they did in the first.” Off-spinner Nathan Lyon took eight for 50 in the first innings for the best figures by an overseas bowler as India suffered their third consecutive batting meltdown in the series after being all out for 105 and 107 in Pune.
The touring side have handled the conditions much better and are 237-6 in their first innings, aided by half-centuries from Renshaw and Shaun Marsh.
Renshaw, who also scored a fifty in the first innings in Pune, said the Bengaluru pitch was more challenging than in the first test, where the ball just turned sharply.
“It was really challenging to score off both the quicks and the spinners. It was just a grind,” said Renshaw, who was out to left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja for 60.
“But as I’ve said, we just needed to bat the whole day and we’ve managed to do that. I think every run is vital and we sort of felt like we were just about to get on top of the game when I got out so it was quite frustrating from that point of view.”
It was an engrossing day of cricket with both teams trying to seize control in front of a big Sunday crowd and a lot of words were exchanged in the first session between India’s fielders and Australia’s batsmen.
India captain Virat Kohli and his Australian counterpart Steve Smith were constantly talking to each other, forcing the umpires to intervene and calm things down.
“There was a bit of talk but I think that’s because they’re trying to unnerve each other (Smith and Kohli) and get under the skin,” Renshaw said.
“But it’s all good fun ... good contest out there. I was just trying to enjoy it and trying to laugh at what he (Kohli) was saying because some of it was quite funny.”
Marsh top-scored with a 197-ball 66 before Indian seamer Umesh Yadav lured him into a tired-looking shot that was caught at short midwicket just before close of play.
Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja claimed three wickets, including the key scalps of Australia skipper Steve Smith (8) and Renshaw (60) on a pitch that offered variable bounce.
Fast bowlers Ishant Sharma and Yadav, with a wicket each, unsettled the visiting batsmen but regular partnerships helped Australia surpass India’s first-innings score of 189.
The visitors were faltering at the tea break on 163-5, but Marsh returned to score his sixth Test 50 while he and Wade put on 57 for the sixth wicket.
India (1st innings) 189
Australia 1st innings (overnight 40-0)
D. Warner b Ashwin 33
M. Renshaw st Saha b Jadeja 60
S. Smith c Saha b Jadeja 8
S. Marsh c Nair b Yadav 66
P. Handscomb c Ashwin b Jadeja 16
M. Marsh lbw b Sharma 0
M. Wade not out 25
M. Starc not out 14
Extras (b8, lb2, nb5) 15
Total (6 wickets; 106 overs) 237
To bat: S. O’Keefe, N. Lyon, J. Hazlewood
Fall of wickets: 1-52 (Warner), 2-82 (Smith), 3-134 (Renshaw), 4-160 (Handscomb), 5-163 (M. Marsh), 6-220 (S. Marsh)
Bowling: Sharma 23-6-39-1 (3nb), Yadav 24-7-57-1 (1nb), Ashwin 41-10-75-1, Jadeja 17-1-49-3, Nair 1-0-7-0
Umpires: Richard Illingworth (ENG) and Nigel Llong (ENG)
TV umpire: Richard Kettleborough (ENG)
Match referee: Chris Broad (ENG)