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Team India star KL Rahul produced a stunning fielding effort to dismiss Australian opener Usman Khawaja on Day 1 of the India vs Australia 2nd Test which began from Friday (February 17) at Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi. Khawaja looked in fine rhythm as he easily scored a fifty, but Rahul’s extraordinary effort ended his stay in the middle.
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ICYMI – WHAT. A. CAPTURE
WOW. A one handed stunner from @klrahul to end Usman Khawaja’s enterprising stay!#INvAUS pic.twitter.com/ODnHQ2BPIK— BCCI (@BCCI) 17 February 2023
Australia, who were 94 for 3 at lunch, went on to lose three more wickets in the afternoon session as the opposition continued to surrender against the spinners. Playing his first match of the series, Travis Head went for a slash off Mohammad Shami and a thick edge quickly traveled to Rahul, who took a sharp catch at second slip. Rahul’s second catch to send back Khawaja (81 off 125) was the most defining moment of the session. (WATCH: Masterful R Ashwin picks 2 wickets in one over, sends back Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith)
After scoring a stretch of runs sweeping the ball on both sides, Khawaja went for the reverse off Ravindra Jadeja in the 46th over, but Rahul took a sensational one-handed catch at one point to end his solid stay in the middle. The last wicket of the session was that of Alex Carey who lasted just five balls with Ravichandran Ashwin getting him caught at first slip. Peter Handscomb (36 off 75) and captain Pat Cummins (21 off 31) were in the middle at the break.
Earlier, Ashwin (3/57 in 21 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 from the senior off-spinner. This was after Khawaja and David Warner (15) added 50 runs to the opening stand as the visiting team gave a better account of themselves after skipper Cummins opted to bat first.
While Khawaja was more confident with his footwork and started with a square boundary, Warner struggled a lot during the first hour. In fact, the Kotla streak helped better bounce and carry while Mohammed Siraj bowled a brisk first spell. While Shami erred at length during his first three-over formula from the Old Pavilion End, Siraj bowled quickly and rushed both Warner and Khawaja with pace and bounce.
Warner’s slower reflexes gave him trouble with Siraj rattling him with quick deliveries. Warner was hit on the elbow, which required medical attention, and then on the head, which required a concussion test. After being softened up by Siraj, skipper Rohit Sharma changed Shami’s end and brought him from the Delhi Gate side.
After pushing him on the back foot, Shami walked out of the crease and angled one in, forcing Warner to poke it and the regulation catch was accepted by keeper Kona Bharat. However, Khawaja started to use his feet against Ashwin and Jadeja and collected a couple of boundaries, but it was Labuschagne who got an off-break from Ashwin that beat him and the DRS went in India’s favour.
In the case of Smith, full credit to keeper Bharat’s reflexes and technique as he kept a low center of gravity and the nick was collected inches from the ground to unsettle Australia, who had a good first 90 minutes before losing sight. (With PTI inputs)
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