ADELAIDE – India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin ratcheted up the pressure on Australia with two wickets to leave the home side 117 for four at tea on day two of the series-opening test on Friday.
Recalled batsman Peter Handscomb was 33 not out, with local rookie Travis Head on 17, the pair resisting a disciplined spell of bowling by Virat Kohli's side on another sweltering day at Adelaide Oval.
India lost their final wicket on the first ball of the morning to be dismissed for a modest total of 250 but Ashwin gave India hope of carving out an unlikely lead.
He continued Shaun Marsh's dreadful run of form in tests by enticing the number four to chop on his stumps for two, then captured the key wicket of Usman Khawaja for 28.
Marsh never looked comfortable after joining Khawaja before lunch and he was out with the second ball faced after the break with a dismal stroke.
Ashwin tempted him with a full, wide delivery and Marsh dragged the ball onto his stumps for his sixth consecutive innings with a total in single figures.
The recalled Handscomb made a better fist of partnering Khawaja, despite keeping the slips cordon hopeful with a string of false shots.
But Ashwin returned to break the budding partnership with a pearl of a delivery that flicked Khawaja's glove on the way through to Rishabh Pant.
It was given not out but Kohli reviewed with confidence and was duly rewarded, with Khawaja trudging off after 125 balls of resistance.
Ashwin also had debutant opener Marcus Harris caught for 26 in the morning, breaking a 45-run partnership with Khawaja, after paceman Ishant Sharma had bowled Aaron Finch for a duck with the third delivery of the innings.
Kohli's team were unable to add to their overnight total, with tail-ender Mohammed Shami giving up the last wicket for six, caught behind after gloving a wayward leg-side delivery from Josh Hazlewood to Tim Paine.
Finch's home test debut got off to a horror start.
Having survived a big appeal for lbw after declining to play a shot with the second ball, he drove with force at the third delivery which nipped back and sent two of his stumps flying.
Victoria batsman Harris saw off India's seamers with judicious shot-making in the first hour but the former ran into trouble when Ashwin was introduced after the drinks break.
He was undone trying to defend a fuller delivery, with a nick pinging off his pad and popping up obligingly for Murali Vijay in close.Reuters