Australia v India first Test sees home team well poised after tourists lose early wickets, stage fight back

Updated

December 06, 2018 19:28:10

Australia’s bowlers have once again led from the front, taking nine wickets on the opening day of the first Test against India, but they will be disappointed they could not finish the job.

India finished the day on a respectable 9-250 after it looked like they may have been skittled for a sub-par score.

A spectacular catch by Usman Khawaja to dismiss Indian hero Virat Kohli was the highlight of the day for the Australians, while first drop Cheteshwar Pujara proved his mettle for the tourists, scoring a dogged century.

It was his third ton against Australia but first in Australia, and the innings only ended on 123 thanks to a sensational diving run out from Pat Cummins, which brought an end to the day’s play.

With four wickets in the first session and two in the second, Australia looked set to take bragging rights on the first day of the series in Adelaide, but a tough final session would have frustrated captain Tim Paine.

The tourists won the toss and put Australia in the field first on the normally bat-friendly Adelaide Oval pitch.

Temperatures in the 40s made bowling an even more daunting prospect, with the Indians’ resistance ensuring it was a long day in the field for the hosts.

The first breakthrough came in the second over, when Josh Hazlewood had KL Rahul (2) caught in the slips by Aaron Finch, and opening partner Murali Vijay (11) joined him in the sheds when he feathered Mitchell Starc through to wicketkeeper Paine five overs later.

But the moment of the day came when Pat Cummins entered the attack and Kohli (3) chased the young firebrand’s third delivery.

The ball screamed toward the slips cordon, where a leaping Khawaja took a leaping one-hander that will take some beating for catch of the summer.

Ajinkya Rahane (13) handed Hazlewood his second wicket with a rank slash outside off that ended up in the hand of the recalled Peter Handscomb, finishing off a lucrative first session for Australia.

Rohit Sharma (37) and Rishabh Pant (25) played some of the most adventurous shots of the day before falling to Nathan Lyon in the middle session, bringing Ravi Ashwin to the crease with Pujara.

The pair batted until after tea and were the first to build a partnership of more than 50 before Cummins snared Ashwin (25) with an edge to Handscomb.

Australia was into the Indian tail but the tiring quicks and Lyon could not seal the deal.

Ishant Sharma never looked comfortable but hung around for 20 balls before Starc clattered his stumps, and Mohammed Shami will resume on Friday on six not out.

Cummins ran, gathered and dived before hurling the ball side-armed from the most difficult of angles to end Pujara’s excellent ton and the day’s play.

India’s innings shouldn’t go for much longer in the morning but the Australians will feel they let slip a great opportunity to take command of the first Test on day one.

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First posted

December 06, 2018 19:07:09

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