Home » India vs Australia: Tourists on top in third Test after Matthew Kuhnemann takes five-for during spin ‘mayhem’

India vs Australia: Tourists on top in third Test after Matthew Kuhnemann takes five-for during spin ‘mayhem’

Matthew Kuhnemann claimed a first international five-wicket haul and Usman Khawaja struck 60 with the bat to put Australia firmly in control after the first day of the third Test against India.

Left-arm spinner Kuhnemann claimed career-best figures of 5-16 as Australia skittled out India for 109, after the home team had won the toss and elected to bat first.

India lost seven wickets in a hectic morning session before Khawaja led the tourists to 156-4 in reply, with Peter Handscomb seven not out at the close of play and Cameron Green unbeaten on six.

Image:
Marnus Labuschagne (right) and Usman Khawaja (left) moved Australia on top with their second-wicket partnership

“It is a very spin-friendly wicket out there,” Khawaja said. “It was tough to play and it won’t get any better. I had a challenging time throughout.”

How Australia dominated day one

Rohit Sharma appeared to be out twice in the first over, caught behind and lbw, but umpire Nitin Menon was unmoved while Australia opted not to review on both occasions.

Kuhnemann finally had Sharma stumped for 12 before Shubman Gill was caught at slip for 21. Nathan Lyon (3-35) then bowled Cheteshwar Pujara for one as the ball started turning sharply, with Ravindra Jadeja caught at cover for four.

Australia's Matthew Kuhnemann successfully appeals for caught behind against India's Ravichandran Ashwin during the first day of third cricket test match between India and Australia in Indore, India, Wednesday, March 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Surjeet Yadav)
Image:
Matthew Kuhnemann’s figures were his career-best in first-class cricket

India slumped to 45-5 when Shreyas Iyer was bowled for a duck, going for an expansive cut, and though Virat Kohli batted with caution to score 22 off 52 balls he eventually fell to spinner Todd Murphy.

Srikar Bharat was lbw to Lyon for 17 as India reached lunch on 84-7, with things no better for the hosts after the interval as Ravichandran Ashwin was caught behind for three off Kuhnemann.

Kuhnemann added his fifth wicket when he trapped Umesh Yadav lbw for 17, and the innings ended when Mohammed Siraj was run out for a duck.

Australia lost an early wicket when Travis Head was trapped lbw for nine by spinner Jadeja, who also bowled Marnus Labuschagne off a no-ball before the Australian No 3 escaped a good lbw shout from Ashwin.

Labuschagne went on to share a stand of 96 with Khawaja, who was the pick of the batsmen on both sides, before falling to Jadeja for 31.

India's Ravindra Jadeja, right, Axar Patel left, walk back to pavilion on the end of the first day of play of the third cricket test match between India and Australia in Indore, India, Wednesday, March 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Surjeet Yadav)
Image:
India will be searching for quick wickets early on day two to force their way back into the Test

Jadeja also ended Khawaja’s stay when he had the opening batsman caught at deep midwicket. The Indian spinner ended with 4-63 after also having Steve Smith caught behind for 26.

An unfair pitch? ‘It was mayhem’

The first two matches of the four-Test series were played on turning tracks and India wrapped up victory inside three days both in Nagpur and Delhi, ensuring they will retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, while the pitch used for this Test drew widespread criticism after 14 wickets fell on the opening day.

“It was mayhem,” former Australia Test batsman Mark Waugh said on Fox Sports. “The pitch was not up to Test standard, I think that’s a fair thing to say.

“Balls going through the top (layer) in the first 20 minutes of a Test match, that’s not good enough.”

His former team mate Matthew Hayden said the pitch was overly biased towards the spinner.

“It shouldn’t be a spin bowler’s paradise necessarily, it shouldn’t be keeping low and turning a mile on day one,” he said. “You’re allowed to have a four or five day Test match! Otherwise just call it as it is, we’ll just play three-dayers.”