The 2nd Test opening day at the Ferozeshah Kotla didn’t differ much from the first, save for Khawaja’s 81 and Handscomb’s unbeaten 72, which may have forced the Indian attack to work harder than it had since the team’s defeat to England in Chennai two years ago.
Usman Khawaja and Peter Handscomb demonstrated that there is always a way to score runs, let alone survive, despite all the anxiety surrounding the pitches thrown. It has more to do with the Indian bowlers’ skill than the alleged demons on the pitch if they can consistently dismiss their opponents within a day.
India’s openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul played out the nine overs from Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, and rookie left-arm spinner Matthew Kuhnemann to put 21 runs on the board at stumps, leaving Australia with a task to complete with a three-spinner, one-pacer attack.
The early morning chill provided some nip, and the slow turn of the Kotla pitch was nothing unfamiliar to international betters. Khawaja settled in and appeared at ease to protect a shaky David Warner to create a 50-run opening partnership, and the Indian team huddled over drinks to quickly rethink their plan of attack 2nd .
The Indians persevered because they knew opportunities were always around the corner. Khawaja hardly received any gifts. Before Jadeja broke the resistance with a classic arm-ball trapping Cummins in front of the stumps, Handscomb and Australia’s skipper Pat Cummins (33 off 59) got down to stop the slide and put on 59 runs for the seventh wicket. Khawaja and Handscomb have demonstrated that on this field, scoring runs at a reasonable clip isn’t impossible. It’s time for their spinners to act as a unit soon 2nd Test.