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20 April 2024

Marsh, Renshaw give Australia edge in 2nd Test

Pic: Reuters


Opener Matt Renshaw said managing a challenging pitch would be the key to defeating India after his dogged half-century helped Australia take a crucial first-innings lead in the second Test on Sunday.

The left-hander, who started the day on 15, made a 196-ball 60 before Shaun Marsh struck another half-century for the visitors on a gruelling second day in Bangalore.

Australia were 237 for six at stumps on the second day, leading India by 48 runs at M Chinnaswamy Stadium. Matthew Wade on 25 and Mitchell Starc on 14 were at the crease.

"It was a grind. The plan was to try and bat as long as possible and wear the Indian bowlers down," 20-year-old Renshaw told reporters.

"We know that the fourth innings chase is going to be quite hard out there. Hopefully we get a substantial lead out there and the bowlers can do a successful job, like they did in the first."

Marsh top-scored with a gritty 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 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.

Renshaw cited problems with variable bounce.

"It was probably a bit harder against the quicks because it's not bouncing as much, and some (balls) are going up, so I think that challenge is probably the biggest," he said.

Australia were faltering at the tea break on 163-5, but Marsh returned to score his sixth Test fifty while he and Wade put on 57 for the sixth wicket.

Runs at a trickle

Marsh had his share of luck, surviving a few close calls against the Indian bowlers, including nicking a Yadav delivery on 14 off the glove. The appeal was turned down and India did not opt for the review.

Earlier Renshaw put on 52 runs with Marsh to keep the Indian attack temporarily at bay as runs came at a miserly rate of roughly two an over.

The left-handed opener, who had scored 68 in the first innings in Pune, looked ready to take off after hitting Jadeja for the first six of the match, but the bowler got his revenge two balls later.

Jadeja saw Renshaw emerge from his crease and fired the ball down the leg side. Wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha completed the stumping in quick time.

"We 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," said Renshaw.
"If we had probably got a few more runs, me and Shaun Marsh, then we could have had complete control of the game."

Runs came at a trickle in the morning session, with the visitors scoring just 47 in 29 overs as two of their top batsmen Warner (33) and Smith were sent back to the pavilion.

Ashwin bowled Warner to get the opener for an eighth time in 12 Tests, while Smith battled hard for 52 deliveries before being caught by Saha off a wily Jadeja.

The morning was enlivened by banter between the lanky Sharma and Smith, who traded barbs as the day progressed, with Indian skipper Virat Kohli also exchanging a few words with the Aussie batsmen.

Indian batsman Cheteshwar Pujara said India would have a better game plan in their second innings and were still very much in the match.

"We have already seen the ball is keeping low. They have to bat in the last innings... we will put up a better show in the next innings," said Pujara.

The visitors lead the four-match series 1-0 after beating India in the first Test in Pune inside three days.