Pujara saves India on opening day

Marcus Newton
December 7, 2018

SHANE Warne has questioned the reasons behind Australia's decision to drop Mitch Marsh for the first Test against India, starting Thursday in Adelaide. However, the same can be said of overcooking them and creating a fresh setback that could ruin Australia's plans for next year's World Cup and Ashes.

"To be honest, we should have batted better but they also bowled well in those first two sessions", Pujara told reporters.

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 team's vice-captain was tapped on the shoulder on Wednesday and will make way for Victoria's Peter Handscomb who last played for Australia during the tour of South Africa.

With Smith and David Warner serving bans for ball-tampering, Paine's team have had little to celebrate and even less inclination to indulge in chest-thumping aggression. Lyon watched footage of Ashwin prior to Australia's tour of India previous year, desperate to improve his form on the subcontinent.

Marsh's struggles could not have come at a worse time for the Western Australian Cricket Association, for he could be the only local player on show when Perth's new stadium hosts its maiden Test match next week. It resulted in him reaching his 50 from 103 balls.

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India needed a good start to get the ball rolling but all they could get were three runs from Rahul and Murali Vijay who now averages 10.40 in away Tests as an opening pair. Having already played decent number of balls, Cummins was given leg before for the seventh wicket to fall. There was a worry when Mohammad Shami went off to have his right arm looked at but he came back onto the field soon after. "I'm hugely honoured to be captain of Australia but I am not letting it weigh me down too much", he added.

First up, Shaun Marsh (2) gifted his wicket immediately after the break. In the very first over, he went for a wild slash but ended up playing on as Australia were reduced to 59/3.

"We know most likely at some stage in this series we'll need him, so we're taking the opportunity at the moment to send him back to play a shield game and get more cricket under his belt, knowing at some stage we're probably going to need him". Ashwin led the attack from the front, bowling unchanged through the session from one end. India appealed, and then opted for a review with hotspot showing a faint tickle on Khawaja's glove which was confirmed by Snicko to reduce Australia to 87/4.

The debutant opener from Victoria, Marcus Harris, will open the innings for Australia with Aaron Finch. The hard-hitting Finch drove loosely at a full delivery and inside-edged onto his stumps, which went cartwheeling. In the process, Pujara brought up his half-century and kept pushing India towards a respectable first-innings score.

For Australia, Hazlewood finished with 3-52.

Mitchell Starc (1-8) and Hazelwood (2-17) then began proceedings for Australia, and were on the money straightaway with their lengths.

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