Indian spin king Ashwin piles pressure on Australia

Ravichandran Ashwin (AP)
Ravichandran Ashwin (AP)

Adelaide - Indian off-spinner Ravi Ashwin bowled beautifully to take three wickets and pile pressure on Australia in the opening Test at Adelaide on Friday, with all of the hosts' top batsmen failing to fire. 

Australia lost two wickets in the morning session in reply to India's 250, and another two fell before tea with their top four all back in the pavilion without passing 30. 

They crawled to 117-4 at tea with Peter Handscomb on 33 and Travis Head not out 17. Aaron Finch (0) and Shaun Marsh (2) were notable failures. Ashwin has 3-38 off 22 overs. 

India finished the opening day at 250-9, on the back of a battling 123 from Cheteshwar Pujara, and they did not add to the total on Friday. 

When they resumed, tail ender Mohammed Shami was out for six on the first delivery of the day, caught behind by Tim Paine off Josh Hazlewood, leaving Jasprit Bumrah unbeaten on 0. 

Hazlewood finished with 3-52. Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon all took two wickets each. 

In reply, Australia got off to a horror start with Finch's credentials as an opener again called into question after he was spectacularly bowled without scoring on only the third ball he faced. 

A lovely delivery from Ishant Sharma took out his middle and off stumps after getting an inside edge as Finch attempted a drive. 

In hot and windy conditions, debutant Marcus Harris looked in good nick and unruffled by the occasion, hitting three fours in a solid 26. 

But he was undone by a drifting ball from Ashwin, getting an edge to Murali Vijay at silly mid-off and ending a 45-run partnership with a slimmed-down Usman Khawaja who was back after knee surgery. 

Ashwin's off spin was causing problems and Marsh needlessly slashed at a wide delivery in the first over after lunch, dragging it onto his wicket for two. 

The woeful shot extended Marsh's dire recent Test form and left Australia in trouble at 59-3. He has now slumped to six consecutive single-figure scores, failing to step up in the absence of the banned Steve Smith and David Warner. 

Khawaja, whose Test preparations were disrupted after the shock arrest of his brother this week for allegedly framing a love-rival with a fake terror plot, was Ashwin's next victim. 

Wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant took an excellent catch after a turning ball flicked off Khawaja's glove. He was out for 28 on a review decision. 

It was left to Handscomb, brought into the team at the expense of all-rounder Mitchell Marsh, and local boy Head to dig in and keep the scoreboard slowly ticking over.

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