BENGALURU: Off-spinner Nathan Lyon walked into the record books with career-best figures of 8 for 50 as India suffered another batting debacle to be bundled out for a paltry 189 on the first day of the second cricket Test against Australia here.
On another dodgy track, India’s last five wickets fell for only 15 runs in 9.3 overs after they were 174 for five at one stage. A gritty 90 from opener Lokesh Rahul was the lone bright spot in the embarrassing collapse.
At stumps, Australia were comfortably placed at 40 for no loss. David Warner and Matt Renshaw were batting on 23 and 15 respectively. Save Rahul, who once again battled a shoulder niggle to display admirable application, none of the Indian top-order batsmen looked like getting a big score.
He batted for 205 deliveries hitting nine boundaries with Karun Nair (26) being the only other batsman to cross an individual score of 20. After Steve O’Keefe’s 12-wicket haul in Pune, it was senior-pro Lyon’s turn to torment the Indian batsmen and he recorded the best bowling figures in an innings by an overseas bowler.
In the process, he also surpassed Brett Lee to become Australia’s highest wicket-taker against India in Test matches. Virat Kohli won a good toss and predictably elected to bat on a track that not only had turn on offer but also appreciable bounce which made Lyon lethal.
Comeback-man Abhinav Mukund (0) played across the line to a Mitchell Starc full toss and was adjudged leg before. However, Rahul and Cheteshwar Pujara (17) negotiated the new ball well adding 61 runs for the second wicket. Rahul, on the other hand, took risks against the pacers — Starc and Hazlewood — getting the first five boundaries in the region between third slip and point.
His innings was an example of how to tackle Lyon. There were times he waited for the turn and played late. Just when it looked like India were going into the lunch with only a wicket down, Pujara’s unsure foot movement saw him offer a bat-pad catch off a Lyon delivery to Peter Handscomb at forward short-leg.
Skipper Virat Kohli (12) cover drove Lyon for a boundary through vacant cover region but then misjudged the turn once again that did him in. He shouldered arms to a delivery from Lyon thinking it will be an off-break and the ball didn’t turn enough hitting him in the middle and leg stump line.
It was a plumb leg-before but the India captain wasted a review hoping against hope that the umpire’s call will be reversed. It didn’t happen and it was second time in succession that Kohli paid the price for an error of judgement.
Ajinkya Rahane’s (17) torrid time during the current home season continued as he came down the track with intent to smother the spin but it was the straighter one that he missed. Matthew Wade fumbled in the first attempt before effecting the stumping to leave India at 118 for 4. When Nair joined Rahul, the two local lads looked comfortable during their 38-run stand.
India’s second triple centurion looked in fine nick as he clipped Starc for a couple of boundaries when he drifted down the leg. He played a lovely back cut off Steve O’Keefe but then came down the track to a delivery that turned enough to beat the bat and was stumped by Wade.
India went into the break with scoreboard reading 168 for five. But once the tea break was over, Lyon went on a rampage as Indian innings folded without any resistance from the lower-middle order. A sharp bouncy off-break saw Ravichandran Ashwin (7) glove one to David Warner at the backward short-leg.
Lyon also became the first overseas bowler to have three seven wicket hauls against India in India and will certainly rank among one of the best overseas spinners to have graced the Indian turf.