In­dia claw back against Aussies

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Sport -

ADE­LAIDE. — Chetesh­war Pu­jara scored a gritty 123 in pun­ish­ing con­di­tions to claw In­dia back into the open­ing Test cricket in Ade­laide yes­ter­day af­ter Aus­tralia seized early con­trol with some blis­ter­ing bowl­ing.

Nathan Lyon, Pat Cum­mins, Josh Ha­zle­wood and Mitchell Starc all grabbed two wick­ets each as tem­per­a­tures topped 36 Cel­sius (96.8 Fahren­heit) and the tourists wilted to 250-9 at stumps on day one.

The ex­pe­ri­enced Pu­jara faced 246 balls in his gutsy knock – pass­ing 5 000 test runs for his 16th test cen­tury – as the wick­ets tum­bled around him, in­clud­ing su­per­star cap­tain Vi­rat Kohli for three.

At the end of a day char­ac­terised by poor shot se­lec­tion, Pu­jara went for a quick sin­gle on the se­cond last ball and was re­moved in a bril­liant run-out by a div­ing Cum­mins.

“It was one of my top in­nings in test cricket, I could say top five,” said Pu­jara, adding that he was dis­ap­pointed other bats­men didn’t do as well.

“To be hon­est we should have bat­ted bet­ter but they also bowled well in the first two ses­sions and I knew that I had to stay pa­tient and wait for the loose balls.

“We’ll learn from the mis­takes and put up a bet­ter show in the se­cond in­nings.”

Bat­ting af­ter Kohli won the toss, the vis­i­tors crum­bled in a dis­as­trous morn­ing ses­sion un­der a pace bar­rage be­fore dig­ging in later in the day with Pu­jara and Ravi Ash­win (25 off 76 balls) stag­ing a fight­back as the bowlers tired.

In their first home test since the ball-tam­per­ing scan­dal in March, Aus­tralia took four wick­ets be­fore lunch with the bats­men guilty of play­ing at de­liv­er­ies they would have been bet­ter off leav­ing alone.

Aus­tralian bowl­ing coach David Saker said it was a pre­med­i­tated plan for the quicks to pitch it up and lure In­dia’s bats­men into false shots.

“We got the wick­ets the way we thought we might get the wick­ets,” he told the Seven Net­work.

Starc added that he felt the at­tack was ex­cel­lent for much of the day, but they let it slip in the fi­nal hour. But he was happy over­all. “If you’d said to us at the be­gin­ning of the day af­ter los­ing the toss that we have them at 250-9, we’d have bit­ten your arm off,” he said.

Opener KL Rahul, who has been strug­gling for runs, flopped again, caught by Aaron Finch at third slip off Ha­zle­wood for two. Vet­eran Mu­rali Vi­jay, in the side af­ter young gun Prithvi Shaw suf­fered an­kle lig­a­ment dam­age, didn’t last much longer, caught be­hind by skip­per Tim Paine off Starc for 11.

In marched Kohli to a huge roar from the crowd, but Us­man Khawaja at gully spec­tac­u­larly caught him off a Cum­mins de­liv­ery as he at­tempted a drive, out af­ter fac­ing only 16 balls. — AFP.

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