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Read on for the biggest talking points from Day 1 of the first Test.
India won the toss and chose to put viewers to sleep at Adelaide Oval on Thursday.
There was a clear tactic from the Indians to score at snail’s pace and try to bat Australia out of the opening Test of the summer.
If they could make it to stumps on Day 1 with wickets in hand then they would return on Friday to make hay while sun shone… literally.
Instead it all went pear shaped in the space of half an hour, which began with the comical run-out of Indian skipper Virat Kohli.
DAY 1 REPORT: Late chaos puts India on the ropes but honours split in Adelaide
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King Kohli stranded for 74
Kohli and his deputy Ajinkya Rahane had themselves well and truly set, and compiled a partnership of 88 runs off 27 overs following the dismissal of Cheteshwar Pujara (43 off 160).
Then Rahane called his captain for a run, then sent him back and Kohli was run out for 74 off 180 balls.
Rahane managed to make it to the second new ball but was then sent packing by it when Mitchell Starc rocketed into his pad and he departed for 42 off 92.
Hanuma Vihari followed and suddenly India went from being in a commanding position, to looking seriously vulnerable as the Australian pacemen swung the pink rock around corners.
Excitement was promised early when Starc rattled the stumps of Prithvi Shaw on the second ball of the day.
Pat Cummins knocked over Mayank Agarwal and it looked like there would be wickets aplenty but then Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli put the brakes on.
At the end of the first session the scoreboard was 2-41, and by the second break it was only 3-107.
The go-slow tactic was clear and it almost worked, if not for that Rahane calamity that sent Kohli packing just prior to the new ball being taken.
Read on for the biggest talking points from Day 1 of the first Test.
Virat Kohli has now left 43 deliveries in this innings.
Only once in his career has he left more deliveries on Day 1 of a Test match; that was when he left 61 v SA, in December 2013. #AUSvIND
— The CricViz Analyst (@cricvizanalyst) December 17, 2020
Rahane BETRAYS his captain
THE PUJARA LESSON AUSSIES MUST LEARN
Australian batsmen will want to take a leaf out of Cheteshwar Pujara’s book if they want to dominate this summer series like the Indian brick wall has the ability to do.
Pujara took 160 rocks to amass 43 runs at Adelaide Oval on Thursday.
The Aussies looked well on top when Mitchell Starc and then Pat Cummins claimed some early scalps, but Pujara dug his heels in and batted the bowlers into submission.
He was troubled by Nathan Lyon and the off-spinner eventually got his man, caught bat-pad to end a long and slow innings.
Pujara’s knock had some armchair experts crying foul but the Fox Cricket commentators were simply in awe.
“If you had to name someone to bat for your life it would be Pujara, you’d live to 120,” Kerry O’Keeffe said.
“It’s beautiful balance. The forward presses are the platform and this is why some of the Australians get into trouble – the Marcus Harrises, the Joe Burns. It is because their forward press isn’t quite balanced and it may be flawed whereas Pujara’s is perfect.”
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Champion fast bowler Brett Lee explained just what impact a batsman like Pujara can have on a bowling unit.
“When you have someone who is so patient you try things as bowlers because you become frustrated. You think I can’t actually get this guy out,” Lee said.
“As a bowler you get frustrated, you get angry, you think this guy is a block artist, how do I get him out?
“Then you try slower balls, you try yorkers and that then feeds to exactly what he wants, he just picks you off.”
It might be boring to some but a brick wall like Pujara can save, and win, a Test match or series.
Which Australian batsman is equal to the task?
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Cummins upsets the furniture!
PINK BALL BRINGS WELCOME CHANGE FOR STARC
A change of ball colour brought a change of fortunes on Thursday for Mitchell Starc who took just two balls to transform the narrative of his summer.
Until Thursday, it hadn’t been pleasant reading for the speedy left-armer, whose accuracy deserted him during the ODI series against India.
The series saw him famously start it with an 11-ball over before taking figures of 1-147 in two games. He was then rested for the third ODI with a back and rib complaint, before withdrawing from the T20 series due to a family emergency.
As such, day one of the first Test was the first time Starc had bowled a ball in anger this month.
The small break, however, appeared to do him a world of good as he burst into the Test summer with a gorgeous delivery that had opener Prithvi Shaw chopping on for a second ball duck.
Lee was elated for Starc, saying there are now good signs for the rest of his series.
“I’m really pleased for Starcy,” he told foxsports.com.au.
“The fact that he got a wicket with his second ball, to me that reset his summer. It sets the tone.
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“You see the excitement on his face when he got that wicket. It might have been a chop-on but you’ve got to put the ball in the right areas in order to create those chances. For him to do that, (and) that nick that just didn’t carry to Tim Paine, he could have had 2 for.
“Really good signs for Mitch Starc with this (pink) ball and certainly for the summer. It’s a big campaign of four Tests but really good signs for Mitch.”
KOHLI’S DEPUTY HAS A NIGHT TO FORGET
India captain Virat Kohli might have some choice words for his deputy Ajinkya Rahane over breakfast on Friday.
The latter royally stitched up his skipper by running Kohli out at a crucial point of the third session in Adelaide.
Kohli had found his groove and was starting to up the scoring rate when he was run out at the non-striker’s end.
Rahana had nurdled the ball to mid-off and called for a run, then sent Kohli back way too late and he departed for 74.
Only a few overs later Rahane had another shocker when he was plumb out lbw to Mitchell Starc, and then was talked into reviewing the decision by his non-striker.
The review, obviously, was turned out and so Rahane burned one on his way back to the dressing rooms, where a furious Kohli was waiting.
Rahane is vice-captain of the team and he will take the reins when Kohli heads home to India after this Test for the birth of his child.
Rahane will hope his fortunes improve in the next three matches.
Absolute barbecuing there of Virat Kohli by his vc Ajinkya Rahane. As bad as I’ve seen by a senior Test batsman. No Headingley fumbles either by Nathan Lyon. #AUSvIND
— Andrew Wu (@wutube) December 17, 2020
Virat Kohli clearly not a happy man as he walks off the field, chucks his gloves away before entering the tunnel. Considering how much he commits to a call for a run, he had no chance of getting back once Rahane changed his mind #AUSvIND
— Bharat Sundaresan (@beastieboy07) December 17, 2020
If you’re Rahane, when you get out, you’d walk straight out of the ground, catch a cab to the airport and go home. I mean still wearing pads and helmet and everything. 😬#AUSvIND
— Ben Higgins (@ben_higgins84) December 17, 2020
GREEN PASTURES FOR YOUNG AUSSIE GUN
We will have to wait another day to see what Cameron Green can do with the bat at Test level, but what he can do with the ball is already impressive.
Green entered the attack late in the first session and bowled two overs for 0-5, and then again in the second session with 0-9 from five overs. In both spells he regularly hit good areas and presented a good seam position to keep India’s batsmen on their toes.
By the end of his first day as a Test cricketer, Green had 0-15 off nine overs, which including two maidens.
He was also regularly pushing 140km/h with ease – as you might expect from a bowler who is pushing two metres tall.
During Green’s first day of international cricket, Australia legend Brett Lee was thrilled with the action of Green, who he believes is built for success.
Starc’s sizzling first over
“From what I’ve seen so far, his action looks great,” Lee told foxsports.com.au.
“It’s a very simple, effortless action.
“And that’s all an action should be – you shouldn’t be fighting against your own body, there’s no arms and legs going in different directions. It’s all about momentum.
“He’s blessed with his height, 200 centimetres, and is very athletic for a guy who’s that tall. He bowls with real good shape, he gets the seam upright and that’s all you can ask for.”
He added: “The thing with guys who’ve got classically natural actions, there’s not a lot that can go wrong … he’s not going to spray the ball all over the place. The only thing he will probably err on over time is probably length, which he will probably be able to fix up.”
Lee said bowlers who “fight against their action” and are unbalanced will struggle in finding the right line.
“But I definitely don’t see that with Cameron Green, I think his action is classic,” Lee said.
“He’s a huge asset for Australia. A guy who can bat No.6 and can bowl 140km/h at 200 centimetres (tall) is pretty special.”