India fight back, Aussies 6-277 at stumps

Travis Head has led an n recovery on a day of momentum shifts in the second Test.Momentum swung violently on the first day of the second Test in Perth, where ‘s most-inexperienced batsmen stood up either side of an inspired fightback from India’s four-pronged pace attack on an already misbehaving pitch.

reached 6-277 at stumps on Friday, when Aaron Finch and Marcus Harris’ diligent 112-run opening stand was followed by a collapse of 4-36 that highlighted the inconsistent bounce on offer.

Travis Head steadied superbly for the second Test in a row, only to surrender late on 58 when he needlessly smashed the second new ball straight to Mohammed Shami in the deep.

Tim Paine will resume on 16, keen to push ‘s total well beyond 300 on a cracking green deck that will play no shortage of tricks when the hosts bowl in the game’s final innings.

A sensational one-handed slips catch from Virat Kohli removed Peter Handscomb for five and reduced to 4-148, giving the touring bowlers hope of putting their feet up at some point on a day when the temperature hit 39.1 degrees.

A dropped catch from chirpy keeper Rishabh Pant, remarkable for all the wrong reasons, given it was a regulation edge offered by Shaun Marsh on 24, ensured that wouldn’t happen.

Marsh failed to make the most of his reprieve, adding 21 runs, but the veteran’s 84-run stand with Head was comfortably better than any partnership produced in their series-opening loss at Adelaide Oval.

Both captains were keen to bat first, while acknowledging it would not be easy.

Finch (50) and Harris (70) negotiated a wicketless morning session, in which India’s quicks fluffed their lines early, to seemingly make a mockery of pre-match expectations of a WACA-like wicket.

But the longer the day wore on, the more pace, bounce, fire and brimstone there was.

“It was obviously a challenging wicket,” Finch said.

“We batted really well today. It’s always tough to judge a wicket until two teams have batted on it.”

Offspinning allrounder Hanuma Vihari suggested Saturday’s opening hour would be crucial.

“if we get them out below 320, we’re right in the game,” Vihari said.

Jasprit Bumrah trapped Finch lbw, igniting a fightback shortly after lunch with a sensational five-over spell of 1-3.

Usman Khawaja’s series-long struggles to score freely continued when he was out for five off 38 balls, while Harris fell in scarcely believable fashion.

Harris fended a delivery from Vihari, which reared at him after hitting a crack, straight to Ajinkya Rahane at first slip.

Vihari, the visitors’ frontline spinner in the absence of injured star Ravichandran Ashwin, also used bounce rather than turn to account for Marsh.

‘s second 100-plus opening stand for the year in Test cricket came at an ideal time for Paine’s team, whose hopes of lifting the Border-Gavaskar trophy after a difficult nine months would be dashed with a loss in Perth.

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