Adelaide Test: Indian top order rattled, Aussie bowlers on fire

Adelaide: India had a forgettable day so far on the opening day of the first Test with Australia reducing the visitors to 138 for 6 before tea here on Thursday.

The Australian pacers struck regularly with the new Kookaburra ball and made inroads into the Indian top order that never got going.

Cheteshwar Pujara was unbeaten on 42, while Ashwin was 8 not out. This was after India won the toss and opted to bat on a warm day at the Adelaide Oval.

Hanuma Vihari was left out as the visitors drafted in Rohit for the No. 6 spot.

For Australia, Marcus Harris made his Test debut as announced a day before. Mitchell Starc and Hazelwood then began proceedings for Australia, and were on the money straightaway with their lengths.

Of the two Indian openers, K L Rahul (2) looked out of sorts against their express pace, and was unsurprisingly dismissed cheaply. He went for an extravagant drive in only the second over and was caught at third slip off Hazlewood.

Murali Vijay (11) looked intent on getting a better start and was watchful. On a couple of occasions, he drove the ball to get the score moving but ultimately this led to his dismissal. In the seventh over, Vijay went for a cover drive against Starc and only ended up edging behind.

Given the conditions, Kohli then walked out to bat a lot earlier than anticipated. He looked a lot more confident, but an awe-inducing diving catch ended his short stay at the crease. Usman Khawaja dove to his left and held a stunning one-handed catch at gully off Pat Cummins (1-12) as Kohli was sent back with India reeling at 19-3 in 11 overs.

Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane (13) then came together for the fourth wicket, trying to put up a semblance of a partnership. Together, they faced 59 balls and put on 22 runs in a bid to keep the scoreboard ticking.

Rahane had some difficulty against Nathan Lyon (0-18) who came on to bowl immediately after the drinks break. The batsman then stepped out to even hit Lyon for a six over long-on in his second over. But this didn’t work against the pacers, who pushed Indian batsmen back with their perfect length and induced drives thereafter.

In the 21st over, Rahane fell to Hazelwood, the fourth batsman out driving and was caught at second slip. Pujara and Sharma then tried to give some respectability to the score. But Rohit was dismissed for 37 and Pant, for 25.

NT Bureau