KL Rahul pulled off a stunning catch to dismiss Usman Khawaja on Day 1 of the second Test encounter between India and Australia in New Delhi on Friday. Khawaja looked completely at ease after finishing his half century and it took a special effort on the field to finally end his stay. The Australia opener went for an adventurous reverse sweep, but KL Rahul pulled off a full-stretched dive to complete the one-handed catch. Khawaja was at the crease for 125 deliveries and the wicket proved crucial for India as it allowed both Ashwin and Jadeja to target the tailenders on a pitch that assisted the spinners a bit.
ICYMI – WHAT. A. CATCH
WOW. A one-handed stunner from @klrahul to end Usman Khawaja’s enterprising stay!#INDvAUS pic.twitter.com/ODnHQ2BPIK
— BCCI (@BCCI) February 17, 2023
Earlier. Khawaja made a compact fifty but Ravichandran Ashwin‘s twin strike gave India the upper-hand as Australia were pegged back at 94 for 3 at lunch on the opening day of the second Test.
Ashwin (2/29 in 10 overs) removed Marnus Labuschagne (18) and Steve Smith (0) in quick succession despite Khawaja’s well compiled knock that had eight fours and a six over extra cover off the senior off-spinner.
This was after Khawaja and David Warner (15) added 50 runs for the opening stand as the visiting team gave a better account of themselves after skipper Pat Cummins opted to bat first.
While Khawaja was more assertive with his footwork and started with a square driven boundary, Warner struggled a lot during the first hour.
In fact, the Kotla strip aided better bounce and carry with Mohammed Siraj (0/14 in 6 overs) bowling a brisk first spell.
While Mohammed Shami (1/31 in 6 overs) erred in length during his first three-over spell from the Old Pavilion End, Siraj bowled quick and hurried both Warner and Khawaja with pace and bounce.
Warner’s slowed down reflexes cause him trouble with Siraj rattling him with quick deliveries. Warner got hit on the elbow, which required medical attention and then on the head, which required on-field concussion test.
Having been softened up by Siraj, skipper Rohit Sharma changed Shami’s end and brought him from the Delhi Gate side.
Having pushed him on the backfoot, Shami went wide of the crease and angled one in, forcing Warner to jab at it and the regulation catch was accepted by keeper Kona Bharat.
Khawaja, however, started using his feet against Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja (0/11 in 3 overs) and collected a few boundaries but it was Labuschagne, who got an off-break from Ashwin that beat him and DRS went in favour of India.
In case of Smith, full credit to keeper Bharat’s reflexes and technique as he kept a low centre of gravity and nick was collected inches off the ground to unsettle Australia who had good first 90 minutes before losing track.
(With PTI inputs)
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