Khawaja, Paine ride luck to extend Australia lead to 233


PERTH : Usman Khawaja and Tim Paine extended their partnership to 70 Monday, riding their luck to increase Australia´s lead slowly in the second Test against India in Perth.

At lunch on the fourth day, the home side were 190 for four in their second innings, an overall advantage of 233 runs as they look to post a match-winning lead and square the four-Test series.

Khawaja was not out 67 and captain Paine, who was involved in a verbal exchange with Indian counterpart Virat Kohli at the end of the third day´s play, was on 37.

Against some probing bowling from the Indian pace attack on a lively pitch offering variable bounce, the Australians didn´t find batting easy and played and missed regularly during a tense morning.

It was old school Test cricket and scoring was slow with just 58 runs in the session, but more importantly for Australia they did not lose a wicket and the overnight pair have added 70 vital runs for the fifth wicket.

Khawaja had a definite slice of luck on 42, when replays showed he would have been run out by a direct hit by Jasprit Bumrah.

The Australian batsman dropped the ball into the on-side and scurried through for a quick single, but Bumrah gathered on his follow through, spun round and threw at the bowler´s end.

Having looked completely out of form in his three previous innings in the series, the left-hander was rewarded for his perseverance when he finally reached his half-century from the 155th ball he faced, pushing Ishant Sharma through midwicket for three.

The batsmen survived a handful of strong lbw appeals, and Khawaja edged one ball just short of second slip from the bowling of Mohammed Shami.

There was good news for the Australians when opener Aaron Finch cleared to return to the crease later in the innings.

Finch retired hurt having made 25 on Sunday after being hit on the right index finger by a Shami delivery.

Scans confirmed there was no fracture and he batted in the nets on Monday morning without any major discomfort.

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