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Paine keeps Aussies afloat



Australian captain Tim Paine has kept his country's first Test hopes alive, making a gritty unbeaten 73 in an absorbing second day dominated by the bowlers at the Adelaide Oval.


15 wickets fell for 211 runs as the pink ball continued to talk for the fast men and spinners alike, Paine's knock the clear standout as he shepherded the tail to add 80 runs for the last three wickets and reduce India's deficit to 53 on first innings.


Pat Cummins then struck a blow before stumps under lights, knocking over Prithvi Shaw for his second single figure score of the match as India closed day two at 1-9, leading by 63 runs.


India's first innings was wrapped up swiftly inside half an hour of the afternoon session, both Ravichandran Ashwin and Wriddhiman Saha out without adding to their overnight scores.


Ashwin (15) edged a Cummins lifter in the opening over, Saha (9) chasing a wide ball from Mitch Starc to also edge behind eight balls later.


Umesh Yadav swung hard at Starc but skied the ball to Matthew Wade at mid-off to be out for six, last man Mohammed Shami fending his first ball to short leg from Cummins to seal a collapse of 4-11, the tourists all out for 244.


India's bowlers delivered four maidens to keep the pressure on makeshift opener Matthew Wade and the under pressure Joe Burns, the Tasmanian left hander opening the batting for the first time in first class cricket.


Having added 16 runs in 14 overs Wade was pinned in front by a Jasprit Bumrah in-ducker from around the wicket for eight, Burns joining him in the pavillion shortly after in departing to the same bowler for 8.


Burns reviewed in hope of the ball missing leg stump, but on-field umpire Bruce Oxenford's on-field decision stayed when replays confirmed the ball would have grazed the stumps.


Marnus Labuschagne lived a charmed life before the dinner break, dropped by keeper Saha second ball and afforded another life when Bumrah misjudged a skied pull shot at fine leg, parrying the ball for four to compound his woes.


Steve Smith was with him at the interval with Australia 2-40, but India turned up the heat after the break with Australia's two premier batsmen under pressure.


Labuschagne was handed another life when Prithvi Shaw spilled a sitter at backward square leg, but Smith didn't have the same luck as he edged off-spinner Ashwin to slip for a single from 29 balls, having failed to score from 23 balls in the second session.


Travis Head (7) chipped back a meek return catch to the same bowler as Australia's innings lost it's way, debutant Cameron Green looking good for a time before pulling Ashwin to an acrobatic Indian captain Virat Kohli at midwicket, clinging on to a spectacular grab.


That brought Paine to the crease with Labuschagne as the night session approached, immediately playing positively to put some pressure back on the bowlers.


Labusachagne was caught in front for 47 by Umesh Yadav, and when Pat Cummins steered a snorter to gully in the same over Australia was staring down the barrel of conceding a sizeable first innings lead with their innings in freefall at 7-111.


Mitch Starc (15), Nathan Lyon (10) and Josh Hazlewood (8) hung around to help their skipper add priceless runs as the sun set on another picture perfect day in Adelaide, Paine reaching his eighth Test half century.


He had made 73 from just 99 balls when last man Hazlewood was caught at slip from a rising Yadav delivery, ending Australia's innings at 191.


Ashwin claimed his best Test figures in Australia in claiming 4-55, Yadav with 3-40 and Bumrah 2-52 in a fine bowling display with the pink ball, let down only by their fielding with six chances going down in the innings.


Faced with a tricky period to survive before stumps India couldnt get through unscathed, out of sorts opener Shaw bowled in similar fashion to the first innings by Cummins for four, the Australian vice-captain preferred for the new ball over Hazlewood.


He could have had fellow opener Mayank Agarwal as well had Paine clung on to a sharp chance one handed to his right, the wicketkeeper putting the chance down to afford the right-hander a life.


Nightwatchman Bumrah and Agarwal got through to stumps to set up an intriguing third day of the Test match, India's lead at 62 with star players Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane all still to come.


IMAGE: The Australian.

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