India ended Day 1 of the second Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2023, in Delhi, on top with both the openers, Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul, taking the team home unscathed in a tricky 9-over period, scoring 21 runs, but importantly not losing any wicket, in reply to Australia’s 263.
The day at the Arun Jaitley Stadium started with Cheteshwar Pujara being felicitated by Sunil Gavaskar, who presented Pujara with his 100th Test cap.
Pat Cummins won the toss and elected to bat first. Australia lost Warner early but Usman Khawaja counter-attacked with an array of shots to the Indian pacers and spinners, including stepping down and launching R Ashwin over the ropes.
Ashwin dismissed both Labuschagne and Smith, who went for a duck, before Lunch. After lunch, Australia lost Travis Head, but Khawaja and Handscomb batted brilliantly, and signed looked ominous for India as Australia threatened for a total in excess for 300.
Watch: KL Rahul pulls off a screamer to dismiss Usman Khawaja:
Both put on a display of terrific feet movement and sweep and reverse-sweep shots against the spinners. However, one such reverse sweep from Khawaja proved to be his end, but it needed a spectacular one-handed catch from Rahul. Even Khawaja was on his knees, and can’t belief his luck that KL pulled off a flying one-handed stunner.
Against Jadeja’s tuning ball on full length, Khawaja deployed the reverse-sweep, but couldn’t keep it down. It was still flying away from Rahul at point, but the fielder timed his jump to perfection and grabbed the ball one-handedly while being mid air.
After catching the ball in the air, Rahul did well to keep hold on to the ball when he hit the ground. Khawaja’s innings of 81(125) needed something like this screamer from KL Rahul to end.
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
Handscomb (72) and Pat Cummins (33) helped Australia to over 250 before Shami cleaned up Australia for 263, which at the moment seems a competitive total, given India will have to bat last on this pitch that already has puff of dusts coming off and assisting bowlers.
Speaking after the day’s play, Khawaja said: “It is always challenging and when you have quality bowlers like Ashwin and Jadeja it is always challenging. The gameplan was always the same, it has been pretty steady from the year and a half, I’m always looking to score runs. I like the conventional sweep too. If you hit one over mid-off it is always risky to hit one again. When the ball is spitting it is always dangerous to hit straight.
“We got 260 and you don’t know what is a good score on this track until the other team bats. I have played only once here in Delhi, last time I was the 12th man and in 2012 it was a 200 v 200 sort of game. I think tomorrow will tell the tale where it is going.”