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Off-spinner Nathan Lyon ripped apart the Indian batting line-up with career-best figures of 8/50 as the visitors took the upper hand on the opening day of the second cricket Test at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Saturday. Lyon's figures were the best ever by an Australian bowler against India. The 29-year-old right-armer was helped along by some poor shot selection by the Indian batsmen.
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Fast bowler Mitchell Starc and left-arm spinner Steve O'Keefe also bagged a wicket each as the hosts were bundled out for a meagre 189 in their first innings. Resuming after the tea break at 168/5, India lost the remaining five wickets to Lyon in a span of just 21 runs on a wicket that had good bounce for the batsmen. Opener Lokesh Rahul was the lone batsman to offer some kind of resistance as the Indians succumbed to the Australian spinners for the third consecutive time in the series.
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Rahul waged a lonely battle even as wickets kept falling at regular intervals at the other end. He scored 90 runs off 205 balls with nine boundaries before finally falling to Lyon at the fag end of the Indian innings. Australia reached 40 for no loss to trail India by 149 runs at stumps. Openers David Warner (23 batting) and Matt Renshaw (15 batting) survived a few close calls from off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin to head back undefeated when the umpires dislodged the bails for the day.
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Earlier, Starc and Lyon struck early blows in the morning session as the Indian innings got off to a rocky start. Electing to bat first on winning the toss, the hosts suffered their first blow in the third over when an in-swinging full toss by Starc hit opener Abhinav Mukund on the pads. Mukund shuffled across the stumps in an attempt to hit the ball to the onside. But he mistimed his shot and was caught plumb in front of the stumps before opening his account. That saw Pujara stride to the middle and the right-hander from Gujarat proceeded to display his trademark solid defensive style.
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He scored 17 runs off 66 balls and produced a 61-run partnership with Rahul before misreading the turn and bounce of a Lyon delivery to be dismissed off the last ball before lunch. The hosts suffered another big blow after the restart when Kohli was trapped leg before by Lyon. The ball spun in sharply and the Indian captain left it alone only to see it hit his pads right in front of the stumps. To make matters worse, Kohli also wasted a review. He surprisingly decided to call for the review and walked off the field even before the third umpire had delivered his verdict. Kohli scored just 12 runs off 17 balls with two hits to the fence.