India 250-9 after Pujara’s 123 on 1st day vs Australia
ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) — India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara defied Australia’s bowling attack and overcame stifling conditions at the Adelaide Oval with a century on the opening day of the first test on Thursday.
India was in danger of being bowled out cheaply after reckless batting in the opening two sessions, but Pujara scored 123 runs as India reached stumps at 250 for 9.
The 30-year-old notched his 16th century and also passed 5,000 test runs. Just before the close, Pujara was run out by a direct hit from Pat Cummins to end his 246-ball innings.
Pujara played with the determination and patience lacking from the rest of India’s specialist batsmen. He found willing support through Ravichandran Ashwin (25) as the pair combined for a 62-run seventh-wicket partnership.
Cummins provided the breakthrough of Ashwin just before the new ball. Australia’s four-pronged attack shared the spoils with two wickets apiece.
Pujara said it was one of his best test innings, but lamented the lack of application from India’s main batsmen.
“The top-order should have batted better but we will learn from our mistakes,” he said. “I knew I had to stay patient and wait for the loose balls.”
Australia’s early aggressiveness was blunted by the heat with the temperature hitting 39 degrees Celsius (102 degrees Fahrenheit) during the final session, forcing Australia captain Tim Paine to juggle his pacemen with sharp bursts.
Aided by a hint of bounce and movement, Australia’s trio of quick bowlers did all the damage in a fiery opening session before Nathan Lyon took over after lunch. The offspinner took the only two wickets in the middle session but could not take wickets after tea.
“I think it is a new-ball wicket, when it swung around a bit,” Australia paceman Mitchell Starc said. “We got it wrong in the end and let it slip a bit but for the most part we were exceptional.”
After winning the toss, India rued reckless batting from their top-order starting with openers K.L. Rahul and Murali Vijay falling to loose drives. The visitors slumped to 19-3 when captain Virat Kohli was spectacularly caught by Usman Khawaja in the gully for just three runs.
Khawaja dived and snared the ball in his left hand. Kohli, the No.1 batsman in the world, has scored just 49 runs in his past six test innings against Australia. He had scored three centuries in his previous two tests in Adelaide.
Ajinkya Rahane (13) fell in the slips to an impulsive stroke as India crashed to 56-4 at lunch. They slid further when Rohit Sharma holed out attempting a slog off Lyon. Sharma, who was selected at No. 6 ahead of allrounder Hanuma Vihari, fell for 37 off 61 balls.
A crowd of 23,802 braved the heat but the figure was considerably less than opening days for the Adelaide day-night tests of the past three years. The Board of Control for Cricket in India refused Cricket Australia’s request for the series opener to be played under lights.
India has never won a test series in Australia.