#INDAvAUS: When pace spinned Aussies out on Day 1 – Even as pitch assists slow bowlers from first session, pacer Yadav proves too hot for Aussies to handle
India’s Umesh Yadav celebrates after Australia opener David Warner played him on in the first Test in Pune on Thursday as non-striker Matt Renshaw looks on (AFP)
The signs were there. Ravichandran Ashwin removing his cap and walking up to bowl in just the second over of the game, while the Australian batsmen putting their caps on in the ninth over itself with Jayant Yadav bowling from the other end.
Those were indications of a long and gruelling spin test that India were going to put the visitors to on a dry, rough first day pitch of the opening Test at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium here on Thursday.
But while the Aussies passed one-third of that test, they failed miserably in the remaining two.
It was the hosts that came smiling out of that exam, picking up nine Australian wickets for 256 runs after 94 overs. If not for Mitchell Starc’s blazing unbeaten 57, India would have completed the test much earlier.
And though Umesh Yadav was the standout bowler with his 4/32, it was the continuous round of bullets fired by the Indian spin trio that spelt doom for the Aussies.
They looked quite skillful in dodging those bullets to begin with, though.
Australian openers David Warner and Matt Renshaw didn’t panic watching spin from the second over itself, neither after the numerous times the two left-handers were beaten by viciously turning and bouncing balls from off-spinners Ashwin and Yadav.
The duo defended solidly and softly off the back foot, while also picking their target to attack: Ravindra Jadeja.
Renshaw twice came down the wicket to the left-arm spinner and heaved him over mid-on for a four and a six. Warner, meanwhile, pounced on anything that was short, cutting and pulling with ease.
Except for a wicket off a no ball – Yadav had Warner’s leg stump disturbed in the 15th over but had overstepped by a huge margin – Warner and Renshaw did well to put their blinkers on and dig in.
After 19 overs of spin from both ends in the first session, Virat Kohli threw the ball to Umesh, and ironically, it was a pacer who struck first. In just his third ball of the match, Umesh got Warner to inside edge a fullish ball back on to the leg stump.
Pace gave India their first cheer, and a stomach bug the second. Renshaw followed Warner almost hand in hand, retiring ill at the stroke of lunch.
It meant the visitors had two new batsmen at the fall of one wicket, and that little opening was just what the hosts needed to break open the door.
Captain Steve Smith and Shaun Marsh hung around for 13 overs after the break, but their small resilience together was ended by Jayant. The left-handed Marsh tried to sweep the offie, only to see the ball hit his pad, touch the back of his bat and loop to Kohli at leg slip.
Peter Handscomb never looked comfortable against the turning ball, and Jadeja needed just a straighter one to trap him in front.
Renshaw came back in again, and at 149/3, Australia were desperately looking at their captain to continue standing tall.
But Smith fell, and how.
Just four balls after Handscomb’s dismissal, the skipper had a brain breeze, coming down the track and chipping Ashwin straight to Kohli at short mid-wicket. The way the captain and his bowler were jumping around, giggling and high-fiving after that wicket told the story. It was a really tame end to a battling 95-ball stay for Smith.
The Indians then had to break little sweat in crippling Australia’s lower-middle order, despite Renshaw’s deserving half-century. Jadeja struck Mitchell Marsh’s pad with another skidder, while Umesh worked his magic with the old ball to remove Matthew Wade, Steve O’Keefe and Nathan Lyon cheaply and reduce the visitors to 205/9.
Starc applied breaks to the mayhem, and took no time in hitting top gear. His five fours and three sixes frustrated the Indians in the last hour, and took Australia past the 250-run mark.
But with the kind of start the visitors had, the Indians are bound to come out happier on Friday morning.
ALL IN A DAY’S WORK
Oz openers show fight
Australia win an important toss and bat. India bowl spin from the second over itself, but openers David Warner and Matt Renshaw do well to resist the turn. Umesh Yadav removes Warner in his first over, and the latter retires due to stomach bug at the same time.
At lunch: Australia 84/1 in 33 overs (S Smith 1*, S Marsh 1*)
India pick up 3 wickets
Steve Smith and Shaun Marsh put on a little stand before Jayant Yadav removes the latter. Ravindra Jadeja traps Peter Handscomb with a straighter one, while Smith follows son with a soft dismissal off Ravichandran Ashwin. Renshaw returns to bat.
At tea: 153/4 in 63 overs (M Renshaw 38*, M Marsh 2*)
India chip away, but Starc hits
Ravindra Jadeja dismisses Mitchell Marsh, while Renshaw perishes after completing his fifty. Umesh Yadav then takes three quick wickets to reduce the Aussies to 205/9, but Mitchell Starc’s entertaining unbeaten 57 keeps them alive.
At stumps: Australia 256/9 in 94 overs (M Starc 57*, J Hazlewood 1*)
DID YOU KNOW?
In his 24 Tests as India captain so far, Virat Kohli has never played the same XI in any two matches