Debutant Hazelwood leads Australia fightback against India

Stand-in skipper Steve Smith among the runs again as hosts recover on day two in Brisbane

Josh Hazlewood’s five for 68 on debut helped Australia battle back into contention in the second Test against India on Thursday but the contest remained in the balance when the hosts finished the second day in Brisbane on 221 for four.

India, who had been looking to drive home their advantage after taking charge on day one at the Gabba, could only add 97 runs to their overnight tally before being dismissed for 408 at lunch.

Australia lost three wickets in the second session and it was left to the stand-in captain, Steve Smith, to steady the innings with a half century to add to the unbeaten knocks of 162 and 52 he made in the first Test victory in Adelaide.

The 25-year-old, deputising for the injured Michael Clarke for the remainder of the series, was 65 not out when stumps were drawn early because of bad light, with Mitchell Marsh alongside him on seven.


The all-rounder Marsh was unable to field let alone bowl after suffering a hamstring injury on Wednesday, one of a slew of Australians who ended the sweltering first day of the contest in the treatment room.

Australia needed a good start to day two and Hazlewood, crippled by cramps and forced off the field in mid-over on Wednesday, provided it by having Ajinkya Rahane caught behind for 81 with a peach of a delivery in the third over.

The 23-year-old returned before lunch to break a 57-run partnership between all-rounder Ravi Ashwin (35) and the India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (33), triggering a collapse which saw the tourists lose their last four wickets for 23 runs.

“Yesterday was obviously a pretty tough slog with the heat,” Hazlewood said. “But we all came out and bowled to our plan today and picked up the last six wickets for just about where we wanted them, so things are good.”

Six of India's wickets were caught behind, giving Brad Haddin a share of the Australian record for catches by a wicketkeeper in a Test innings.

David Warner was the first Australian batsman to fall, getting a top edge to an Umesh Yadav delivery on 29, and Shane Watson followed for 25 when Shikhar Dhawan took a brilliant catch off Ashwin.

The opener Chris Rogers had just reached his sixth Test half century and appeared to be ushering Australia to the tea break in reasonable shape when he gloved a Yadav ball to wicketkeeper Dhoni for 55.

Smith and Shaun Marsh put together a stand of 87 for the fourth wicket before the latter was caught by Ashwin for 32 to give Yadav (3-48) his third victim and bring his brother Mitchell to the crease.

“I think we are in front of the game at the moment if we can have a good first session tomorrow,” Ashwin said.

“We could have made a few more runs but 400 is enough if we can get a couple of quick wickets in the morning.”