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Axar Patel leads India counter-attack but Nathan Lyon roars to give Australia the edge

India's Axar Patel hits out against Australia in the second Test. Picture: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

India's Axar Patel hits out against Australia in the second Test. Picture: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

Published Feb 18, 2023


New Delhi, India - Axar Patel hammered a counter-attacking 74 Saturday to help India close the gap on Australia's total after Nathan Lyon bagged five wickets on an intense day two of the second Test.

India were all out for 262 after a key 114-run eighth-wicket fightback by Axar and Ravichandran Ashwin, leaving the tourists a lead of one run in New Delhi.

Australia raced to 61 for one at stumps after Ravindra Jadeja dismissed Usman Khawaja for six after a reverse sweep flew straight to leg slip.

Travis Head, on 39, and Marnus Labuschagne, on 16, were batting at the close of play with Australia leading by 62 runs in their second innings.

Number eight Axar stood out for India with his second successive Test half-century as he took on the opposition bowlers with nine fours and three sixes.

Ashwin played the anchor in his 37 before he fell to Pat Cummins, who struck with the second new ball to get the batsman caught at square leg by Matt Renshaw, a concussion substitute for David Warner.

Cummins took a stunner at mid on to end Axar's brave knock off Todd Murphy and fellow spinner Matthew Kuhnemann ended the Indian innings in the final session.

Lyon led Australia's charge with four wickets to rattle India in the morning and then claimed his 22nd Test five-for in an afternoon session that saw a controversial dismissal of Virat Kohli on 44.

Kohli was given out lbw by the on-field umpire off debutant Kuhnemann and a review declared it too close to judge whether the ball hit the bat or pad first, before tracking suggested it was hitting leg stump.

Third umpire Richard Illingworth upheld the decision, much to the surprise of Kohli, who went back dejected and was seen animated while watching replays in the pavilion.

Kohli had resisted the Australian spinners until his departure and put on a key fifth-wicket stand with the left-handed Jadeja, who fell to Todd Murphy for 26.

But Axar seemed unfazed by the decision and India's dire position as he took stock and then hit back with a four and six off Kuhnemann.

He kept up the attack after tea and reached his fifty with a six, ably supported by Ashwin.

The tourists overcame an early blow when a concussion ruled opener Warner out of the match following a hit on the head in his day one knock of 15.

Lyon turned on the heat in his second over of the day to trap lbw a struggling KL Rahul, under fire for his poor Test form of late, for 17.

He then struck twice in the space of three deliveries with Rohit Sharma bowled for 32 and Cheteshwar Pujara out lbw for a duck in the batsman's landmark 100th Test.