The Perth pitch did not live up to its reputation in the first session of second Test today. Expected to be a nightmare for batsmen, the pitch left everyone stunned when the bowlers turned out to be the ones having a hard time. Australian openers not only survived India’s pace quartet, but dominated them too. However, as Sanjay Manjrekar explained, the Perth track turned out to be a difficult pitch midway into the second session of Day 1.

Suddenly, bowlers were extracting uneven bounce which was unsettling for Marcus Harris and Aaron Finch, who played themselves in and scored flamboyant half centuries. Finch’s wicket had nothing to do with bounce but Bumrah’s fiery spell.

But Harris was undone by part-time spinner or in this case India’s second spinner Hanuma Vihari. The 26-year-old was on his way to maiden Test century but it was cut short by Vihari’s offspinner that almost bounced to shoulder length. The extra bounce was enough to take an edge off the bat and carry to slip fielder Ajinkya Rahane.

As the day progressed, the Perth pitch reverted to being conducive for bowlers again, and all of a sudden the Australian batsmen found themselves being forced on the back foot. Peter Handscomb fell prey to Ishant Sharma because of the bounce.

But, the wicket-taking deliveries were not the most surprising ones. It was Jasprit Bumrah’s delivery in the 84th over with the second new ball. The half foley tremendously took off as Bumrah beat Australian skipper Tim Paine.

On a day where wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant was able to stop towering bouncers, he was unable to stop this one. He could not get hold of the ball even at full stretch as it raced to the boundary. Paine had been beaten by Bumrah before but this was outrageous, he looked into Bumrah’s eyes shocked and found the same look in his eyes as well.

Deep down they all knew that it isn’t going to be easy for the batsmen for the next four days (if the game goes to Day 5). Australian pacers Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins will be raring to get their hands on the new Kookaburra ball, and have a crack at the batsmen. Let’s see if Perth turns out to be as bouncy as Johannesburg or continues to be full of surprises like today.

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