Head replaces Warner as opener with Test on knife’s edge

Australia has dominated day two thanks to a masterclass from Nathan Lyon, but a pesky lower-order Indian pairing still threatens to spoil the party. FOLLOW LIVE.

After a gripping day one in Delhi, Australia needs to make early inroads to keep the second Test against India on level pegging.

Pat Cummins’ side posted 263 on Friday thanks to half-centuries from Usman Khawaja (81) and Peter Handscomb (72 not out).

Their innings helped the Aussies overcome collapses of 3-17 in the top order and 2-1 in the middle order.

Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul — who took an incredible catch to dismiss Khawaja — will resume at 0-21 for India after navigating a tricky period before stumps where debutant Matt Kuhnemann caused a few problems.

9:49PM HEAD GIVEN NOD TO REPLACE INJURED WARNER

Travis Head and not Matthew Renshaw has been locked in to replace David Warner at the top of the order for Australia.

Renshaw was called in as the concussion substitute for the injured opener, but it’s Head who will open the innings for the first time in his career.

Selectors’ felt pre-series that Head could make his best impact in India as an opener, and now he gets his chance.

Australia lead by one run heading into a second innings of a Test match that seems destined for an epic finish.

9.31PM CUMMINS TAKES STUNNING CATCH AS AUSTRALIA HOLDS ONTO LEAD

Australian captain Pat Cummins has taken a screaming catch – to go with a wicket – to secure his side a narrow first-innings lead.

India will be delighted to trail by just one-run given they were 7-139 and looking on the verge of being shunted out of the Test match.

But Australia will ultimately be relieved not to give up a deficit, after an incredible 114-run partnership from Ravi Ashwin and Axar Patel turned the Test on its head.

Cummins took the catch of the match to finally get rid of Patel for 74 off the bowling of Todd Murphy, who now has two wickets.

The ball was smashed at him at mid-off, and despite not having much time to react, Cummins took a clean catch which commentators lauded.

Patel has been a revelation this series, scoring 82 in the first Test and now 74.

Matthew Kuhnemann finished with two wickets on debut after ending the innings.

9:23PM CUMMINS STRIKES WITH NEW BALL AS INDIA CLOSE IN ON LEAD

Pat Cummins has struck with the second new ball to get rid of danger man Ravi Ashwin for a well-made 37.

It ended a game-turning 114-run partnership between Ashwin and Axar Patel who has been superb and is 68 not out.

Cummins had been criticised by former Test great Matthew Hayden, but finally got himself on the wicket-list, with Matthew Renshaw snaffling a very sharp catch at square leg.

India is just 10 runs from taking a first-innings lead, when it appeared at one point they would trail by more than 100 on the first innings.

9:05PM CUMMINS UNDER FIRE FROM FORMER GREATS

Former Test player Tom Moody has joined Matthew Hayden in questioning captain Pat Cummins’ tactics late on day two.

“After holding the upper hand, Australia have let it slide due to a lack of creativity with fields and bowling changes,” Moody tweeted. “The game is back in the balance.”

Hayden applauded Cummins for a short ball he bowled to Ravi Jadeja but questioned why he hadn’t tried the aggressive tactics earlier.

“I like what I see there. It’s one of the few times I’ve seen in this series so far, Pat Cummins turn to what is a great strength of his, and that’s a great bumper,” Hayden said.

“You’ve got to give yourself an opportunity … and he just hasn’t given himself enough overs through the middle to even test it out (trying to get the ball to reverse swing).”

8.35PM RENSHAW ALSO MISSES CHANCE OFF LYON AS HAYDEN SAYS CUMMINS “MIA”

Test great Matthew Hayden says Pat Cummins has been “missing” again in the second Test as Australia desperately hunt for tail-end wickets.

Poor slips catching has cost Australia badly in the last session with Matthew Renshaw and Steve Smith failing to get low enough to give themselves an opportunity to take sharp grabs off the bowling of Nathan Lyon.

Mohammed Shami took four wickets for India, but Cummins has failed to take a wicket in the second Test and Australia has missed out on the reverse swing harnessed by the home side.

India’s 79-run unbeaten stand between eighth-wicket partnership Axar Patel and Ravi Ashwin is the biggest of the match and Australia has gone from a position of dominance to now being watching nervously over their shoulders.

The hosts are only 45 runs behind. Hayden says the normally rampant Cummins needs to step up.

“I sense Pat Cummins has been missing in this innings again,” Hayden said in commentary on Fox Cricket.

“But it hasn’t reversed. that’s been the biggest difference. You think of the brilliance yesterday of the Indian fast bowling unit. they were hostile.”

Hayden questioned why Cummins wasn’t bowling at the tail as Matt Kuhnemann came back on.

“These are Pat Cummins’ overs right now. He can come in and bowl explosive stuff.”

Australian cricketing great Mark Waugh is at a loss to explain why Pat Cummins’ team don’t seem to be anticipating low catches in Delhi.

Shortly after Smith missed a low chance off Axar Patel, Renshaw has failed to get low enough to give himself an opportunity to catch Ravi Ashwin.

Waugh said it’s as if Australia aren’t expecting the ball to keep so low … even though that’s just par for the course in Indian conditions.

The two chances are proving costly with India now only 55 runs in arrears with three wickets still in hand.

Australia has missed a chance to really put India to the sword, with this partnership between Ashwin and Patel now worth 70 runs.

8.21PM SMITH DROPS ANOTHER CRUCIAL CATCH AS INDIA CLOSE IN

Nathan Lyon has reacted in despair after Steve Smith dropped a potentially crucial chance off his bowling.

Fox Cricket commentator Mark Waugh – one of the greatest slip fielders of all time – said it was a catch a player of Smith’s caliber should have taken.

The score was 7-187 and danger man left-hander Axar Patel was 28 not out when he edged Lyon to first slip.

It was a low chance but it carried.

Waugh jokingly said he would talk to Smith before play on day three about the way he is standing at slip. The feeling is the Australian is standing too tall and isn’t low enough.

Indian commentators quipped back that Waugh was “not allowed” to impart the advice.

The visitors are now only 66 runs behind on the first innings.

7.41PM INDIAN SPIN TWINS THREATEN TO SPOIL AUSSIE PARTY

Australia is in a dominant position at tea on day two of the second Test, with India 7-179 and still 84 runs in arrears.

But a 40-run partnership from Indian tail-enders Ravi Ashwin (11 not out) and Axar Patel (28 not out) threatens to spoil Australia’s party.

Patel scored 84 in the first Test and is once again proving a thorn in Australia’s side.

The Aussies dominated the first half of the second session, but the young spinners appeared to become a little tired before tea and gave India a chance to whittle the lead down to an acceptable amount before the innings comes to a close.

Nathan Lyon has dominated the day with figures of 5-64 and has been well assisted by rookies Matt Kuhnemann and Todd Murphy.

Captain Pat Cummins might be called upon to rip through the Indian tail, but the problem is Patel and Ashwin are both very decent batsmen.

6.57PM LYON TAKES FIVE IN PERFORMANCE FOR THE AGES

Nathan Lyon has taken a five wicket haul – surely one of the best of his Test career.

Under pressure after an underwhelming first Test by his lofty standards, Lyon has carried Australia on his shoulders on day two of the second Test to completely turn the series.

Lyon now has 100 wickets against India to join illustrious company. India are 7-144 and still 119 runs behind, after KS Bharat top edged Lyon, with Steve Smith taking a neat over-the-head catch running back from first slip.

MOST WICKETS AGAINST INDIA IN TESTS

James Anderson 35 matches, 139 wickets

Muttiah Muralitharan 22 matches, 105 wickets

Nathan Lyon 24 matches, 100 wickets

Imran Khan 23 matches, 94 wickets

6.48PM KUHNEMANN CLAIMS KOHLI IN FIRST TEST WICKET

Indian captain Virat Kohli’s Test match woes continued at the hands of Australian debutant Matthew Kuhnemann.

The Queensland left-armer, who has only been in India for four days since being flown in as a replacement player – has bowled beautifully all innings and finally got his reward with the prized scalp of one of the best batsmen of all time.

Kohli has gone three years without a Test ton and looked in good nick on his way to 44 off 84 balls.

But Kuhnemann trapped him lbw with a sharp delivery and punched the air in delight when Kohli was given out by the on-field umpire.

It seemed like an age until DRS replays confirmed the umpire’s on-field call, but when the message came down from the video box – Kuhnemann was engulfed by his Australian teammates in celebration.

India is on the ropes at 6-139 and still trailing on the first innings by 124 runs.

6.33PM MURPHY’S LAW: ROOKIE GETS JADEJA TO CONTINUE AUSSIE DOMINANCE

First Test hero Todd Murphy has claimed the key wicket of Ravindra Jadeja to keep Australia’s foot on the throat in Delhi.

India is now 5-125 and still trailing by 138 runs after Murphy claimed his first wicket of the second Test – trapping the Australian nemesis lbw.

Nathan Lyon has done all the damage on day two with four wickets, but now his apprentice has chipped in as Australia’s gamble on three-spinners starts to pay dividends.

Indian master Virat Kohli looks in good touch at 36 not out, but there is now plenty riding on his shoulders if the home side is to get a first innings lead on a tricky wicket.

5.02PM LYON OVERCOMES WARNER SETBACK TO PUT AUSSIES ON TOP

The Lyon has roared back.

After an underwhelming first Test by his lofty standards, Lyon has been monumental for Australia on day two of the second Test in Delhi.

Lyon has all four Indian wickets, overcoming a DRS disaster in the process to claim the crucial scalps of KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara and Shreyas Iyer.

The off-spinner’s figures are 4-25 from 11 overs.

India is 4-88 at lunch and still trailing by 175 runs – after resuming on day two 0-19.

“It’s a real tug of war,” Matthew Hayden said in commentary.

Virat Kohli and Ravi Jadeja are the not out batsmen and are the partnership standing between Australia and a potentially emphatic first-innings lead.

Lyon has been immense, particularly after the drama surrounding David Warner.

Warner was dramatically ruled out of the Test with concussion and replaced by Matthew Renshaw.

But he has also been revealed to have a fractured arm after facing a brutal spell of bowling on day one.

Australia wasted two DRS reviews in the first half hour of the day, and are nursing one remaining review.

4.31PM LYON TAKES FOURTH WICKET IN STUNNING PERFORMANCE

Nathan Lyon now has figures of 4-12 in a complete dismantling of India’s top order.

Australia now has stunning control of the second Test, with India 4-66 and still nearly 200 runs behind on the first innings.

Lyon’s fourth wicket came thanks to an absolute screamer of a catch from Peter Handscomb at short leg.

The man to go was Shreyas Iyer for 4.

Selectors copped a hammering for their decision to leave Travis Head out of the first Test, but they deserve credit for plenty of their other calls.

Handscomb has been an inspired choice.

Scoring 72 not out with the bat, Handscomb was also added to the squad because of his close-to-the-bat fielding skills.

It paid off. Inspired selection.

4.05PM LYON BRILLIANT BOWLING VANQUISHES DRS HOWLER

Australia had an unmitigated DRS nightmare which threatened to haunt them for the rest of the Test … before Nathan Lyon ensured it did not matter.

After a struggling opening Test to the series, Lyon has been on fire on day two in Delhi, taking all three wickets to suddenly put Australia on top in the Test.

Cheteshwar Pujara – the Indian wall – should have been out for a duck in his 100th Test, but Australia’s earlier butchering of two reviews meant they did not send a confident Nathan Lyon appeal upstairs for review.

Lyon had just broken through with the wicket of Indian opener KL Rahul, and should have had a second in a moment that could have swung the second Test in Australia’s favour.

But then The GOAT doubled down and bowled through the defences of Indian captain Rohit Sharma, to leave India 2-53 before then coming back to nail his man Pujara still without scoring.

It took great guts from Australia to roll the dice for the second Pujara review given the ball was periously close to hitting the bat first.

But Cummins and Lyon were vindicated in a huge moment in the Test, with India in massive trouble at 3-53.

Rohit was the main destroyer in the first Test, and claiming his wicket for 32 was in itself a massive moment in the Test as Virat Kohli comes to the crease.

Australia originally looked like paying a brutal price for having burnt through two reviews in the first half hour of day two.

Australia went upstairs for Matthew Kuhnemann and Pat Cummins’ appeals that never really looked out.

Then with only one review left, they were too nervous to take the gamble on Lyon’s shout against Pujara.

“It’s a confidence thing the review process,” Matt Hayden said on Fox Cricket.

“They’d taken a couple earlier and wasted them. Had they not wasted them, they most certainly would have gone up for that.”

Nathan Lyon could be heard on the stump mic saying: “I don’t want to see it” in reference to the replay that flashed up on the ground’s big screen with the Pujara not referral.

Lyon’s fears were justified.

Replays showed Pujara was only out 2.8 metres from his crease, meaning the dismissal would have survived umpire’s call.

It was crashing into leg stump and would have been out.

Lyon though is in ominous form.

3.44PM AUSSIES BURN TWO REVIEWS IN FIRST HALF HOUR

looked out.

Nathan Lyon has struck with his first over on day two in a crucial first breakthrough for Australia in Delhi.

It had been a nightmare morning to that point, with Australia wasting two decision reviews in two overs in a potentially crucial moment in the Test.

“To give one away that early on, it just didn’t look right to the naked eye,” Mark Waugh said on Fox Cricket.

But Lyon then trapped KL Rahul lbw to leave India 1-46 and get Australia a foot in the door in the must-win Test.

Rahul reviewed himself, but the umpire’s decision of out was upheld on umpire’s call.

The first review was Matthew Kuhnemann trying to get an lbw decision from the video umpire after his appeal had been turned down by the on-field ump.

But it was missing everything. Review lost.

Then Pat Cummins came onto bowl and had a crack at an lbw which was also lost.

Now with India 0-46 chasing a mediocre first innings total of 263, there is no margin for error for Australia.

Only one review remains.

“It’s a big part of the game, whether you like it or not, it really is,” Waugh said about Australia’s very sketchy record with DRS.

Australia’s battling record with DRS was crucial in the 2013 and 2015 Ashes and also the last Indian tour of Australia – lost by the home side.

“It could be critical,” Ravi Shastri said on commentary.

WARNER TO MISS REST OF SECOND TEST

David Warner has been withdrawn from the second Test with concussion.

The opener was struck in the head batting on the first day and did not take the field when the Australians bowled.

Matthew Renshaw will replace Warner in the XI.

The opener is said to be dizzy and did not even appear on the team balcony.

“The medical staff will have to assess tomorrow, he is a little bit weary at the moment,” Usman Khawaja said after play.

“He got a knock to the arm and then the head, I think the head made him a little bit weary at the moment and couldn’t come out to field.

“The staff will have to figure out what happens from here.”

Warner failed a fitness test in the morning and joins a long list of players unable to take the field.

Mitchell Starc and Cameron Green both failed fitness Tests after flying in for the second Test and selectors were forced to name a side with only one seamer.

Left arm orthodox Matthew Kuhnemann opened the bowling on debut with Pat Cummins.

Cricket Australia confirmed News Corp’s exclusive report after the team arrived at the ground.

“David Warner will take no further part in the second Test match against India in Delhi having been diagnosed with concussion,” it said in a statement .

“He will be replaced in the team by Matthew Renshaw.

“Warner was struck on the helmet by fast bowler Mohammed Siraj in the tenth over of play.

“He subsequently demonstrated symptoms and failed a concussion test.

“Warner will now follow the graduated return to sport protocols ahead of the third Test in Indore in line with Cricket Australia guidelines.”

Warner was struck flush on the jaw when a short ball from Siraj caught the top edge as he attempted a pull shot at the end of the 10th over.

A clatter of helmet can be heard in the stump mic and the opener walked away from the wicket.

He removed his helmet but did not flinch or feel for the injury, much as he refused to show any pain when struck on the arm by the same bowler in his previous over.

Warner was attended by team doctor Leigh Golding.

The 36-year-old apparently passed a basic cognitive test after being hit but complained of a headache and failed a secondary test last night.

Warner is reportedly in good spirits and although he did not catch the team bus to the ground is expected to arrive before play.

WHY ‘ODD’ TEAM COULD BE AUSTRALIA’S TRUMP CARD

– Robert Craddock

Australia has ended up with a quirky team for the second Test but it’s the right one for the conditions and it’s given an unsung group of spinners a puncher’s chance of doing something truly special.

Bookmakers have India $1.25 and Australia spurned outsiders at $5 to win the Test after an even day one but if Australia bowl well on an already crumbling deck that gap should be too wide.

We get the form. India have lost just two of their last 43 home Tests and still deserve to be strong favourites.

But Australia’s first innings of 263, while not outstanding, was far from terrible in a Test where batting is the hard part.

Spinners Nathan Lyon, Matt Kuhnemann, Todd Murphy and part-timer Travis Head must be thinking if only Australia can set India 180 or more to win in the second innings the tourists will be in the game up to their eyeballs.

So often, in first class matches in Australia, spin bowlers are bit players who come on when all other options are exhausted. Not in Delhi they’re not.

The Delhi deck is already welcoming spin and has variable bounce. Any slow man worth his salt must dream about bowling on such a deck on day five of a Test.

Though the unavailability of Cam Green and Mitchell Starc cornered Australia into picking an oddly shaped team that contains just one fast bowler, it may yet prove to be a blessing.

After what we saw on day one there is no guarantee the inclusion of either Green or Starc would have enhanced Australia’s chances of winning in these conditions.

Australia’s spinners should be drooling at the prospect of this dusty deck slowly falling to pieces. The tourists need to dig their fingernails into the rhythms of this game and hang on for dear life for as long as they can.

Kuhnemann had every excuse to feel starry-eyed and vulnerable when he took the new ball for Australia a week after he was playing a Sheffield Shield match at the MCG.

Yet he looked nerveless and precise and his four slick, clean overs tested the great Rohit Sharma who is seeing the ball like a pineapple.

The message was clear.

You don’t have to have a bag of mesmerising tricks on this deck.

Just put the ball on a decent length and the natural variation of a crumbling deck will be your star dust.

Australia’s selectors have been under fire in the past week for omitting Travis Head and generally over-rating Ashton Agar as their choice for the tour.

Fair points indeed but they have also had some sweet spots such as the selection of the cool, calm Peter Handscomb who could have easily been left behind and the blooding of impressive youngster Todd Murphy.

Both of these are excellent selections and even calling Kuhnemann over to replace Mitchell Swepson while he returns to Australia to attend the birth of his first child may work out well.

Australia has a massive four days ahead.

Pull off a shock victory then India will suddenly feel nervous and Australia will have cavalry returning and host of young spinners in form.

Lose and nothing really matters in the last two Tests because India will have retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy … again.

PRESSURE HEATS UP ON WARNER AS GREAT MAKES ASHES CALL

By Ben Horne

David Warner was unable to return to the field last night after taking blows to his head and body, as Usman Khawaja secured his passage to England as well as a new million dollar deal.

It was unclear whether Warner’s issues are concussion related or whether there is a different injury concern after he copped brutal deliveries to both his helmet and elbow on day one.

Warner made only 15, but the fitness concerns put into context the toughness he showed to soldier on after the ruthless assault from Indian seamer Mohammed Shami.

It came as Warner was warned he will be a marked man in the Ashes and be met with similar body line tactics in England, should he make it that far.

Australia’s 36-year-old, left-handed openers experienced varying fortunes on day one of the second Test, with Khawaja’s heavy-duty 81 significant in the context of not only this Test but his future beyond India.

After making 195 not out in the Sydney Test, and more than 1000 runs in 2022, the dominant innings in Delhi will surely be enough to lock Khawaja in for the Ashes in a couple of months’ time.

There was a perky fluency about the way Khawaja batted in difficult conditions, and his knock off 125 balls stood out as the innings of the day.

Warner battled hard for his 15 off 44 balls on day one of the second Test, but after some brave batting ultimately fell victim to superb, targeted bowling from Indian master, Mohammad Shami.

Test Godfather Allan Border admits selectors will have to discuss Warner’s future at the top of the order should he fail in the second innings and Australia lose the Test – but emphasised that the 36-year-old deserved a chance to “go out on his own terms.”

Former 310-wicket Test quick Lee said if Warner chooses to go on to the Ashes later this year, he can expect Ben Stokes’ arsenal of quicks to follow the Shami blueprint of relentless around-the-wicket bowling which reminded him of one of England’s Ashes greats.

“He does need runs definitely. One and 10 in the first Test. Fifteen in this Test. He definitely needs a bucket of runs, but I just think it’s been really, really well constructed fast bowling to David Warner, coming around the wicket,” Lee said on Fox Cricket.

“That dismissal from Shami was a bit like Andrew Flintoff the way he bowled over in England.

“That’s the way they’ll be bowling in England if he goes that far and chooses to go to England.

“But let’s worry about India. He has to get through this Test first and then a couple more on the back of that.

“Warner is due and he’s a quality player and I really hope for him and for Australia he can dominate.”

Border said Warner’s career was hanging in the balance, but warned there was still a lot of water to go under the bridge in this second Test match.

“If you walk out there in the second innings and you get rock and rolled and we lose the Test match then all of a sudden the selectors start thinking, ‘we might have to start planning for the future a bit more,’” Border said on Fox.

“And given his last tour of England was a horror, they might be thinking, ‘this is the time.’

“I don’t like talking about quality players and leaving them out willy-nilly. Give him a chance to go out on his own terms. We’ll wait and see how that all develops.”

Not that Khawaja was necessarily under immediate pressure, but his Delhi dominance is well-timed with Cricket Australia to select its contract rankings list in April and the Queenslander now well and truly deserving of a top-10 deal.

The last thing Australia needs is for Khawaja and Warner to be exiting the team at the same time.

Warner did score a double hundred only three Test matches ago and selectors have already stated that they see his experience as vital in their Test match journey this year, which is likely to include a Test Championship Final before the Ashes.

If Australia loses the second Test and Warner misses out in the second innings, this series will be gone anyway and any decision about his future needs to be based on the Ashes and not India.

The lingering question remains, who is actually poised to take over from Warner?

Matthew Renshaw was axed for the second Test himself to accommodate the return of Travis Head and was unconvincing in the first Test against spin.

Warner is a 100-Test great and one of the world’s finest ever opening batsmen, and selectors may be hesitant to make a call-on their opener mid-series.

Originally published as Australia v India second Test live: Follow the latest news and updates from day two

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