Adelaide, Dec 6: With the help of Test specialist Cheteshwar Pujara’s 123 runs off 245 balls, India managed to post 250/9 in 87.5 overs on the opening day of first Test of the much-awaited four-match series here at Adelaide Oval on Thursday.
At one point India were 127/6, but Pujara got good support from the tail and helped India to get some respectable total. During the course of his innings, Pujara completed five thousand runs in Tests. It was his 16th hundred in the format and first Down Under.
Earlier, skipper Virat Kohli won the toss and elected to bat first. Openers K L Rahul and Murali Vijay fell cheaply losing their wickets after being caught off by Finch in Hazlewood's spell and Starc respectively.
Rahul 2 off 8 deliveries was the first man to go in the second over. He was dismissed by Josh Hazlewood in the second over of the match; Aaron Finch took his catch in the slip cordon. Then, Vijay, who lost his place in the team during the England tour and was looking to make a statement, dismissed by Mitchell Starc for 11 off 22 balls in the seventh over.
The skipper too had a short stay at the crease. He went for the drive, played with the hard hand. The ball went flying towards gully where Usman Khawaja dove to his left, taking a stunner to dismiss Kohli for three runs off 16 balls, reducing India to 19/3 in the 11 overs.
Ajinkya Rahane (13) was caught by Peter Handscomb off Josh Hazelwood. Then two senior campaigners –Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara- tried to show some resistance. Sharma, who was playing in the white almost after a gap of 12 months, got a good start but failed to convert it in big innings. During his 37 runs knock, he hit three sixes. His six against Pat Cummins at cover reason was a treat to watch.
In 38th over, Sharma hoisted the ball towards square leg reason where Marcus Harris tried his best to catch the ball right at the ropes. But his left foot had landed outside the boundary, giving Sharma his third six. On a very next ball, right-handed Sharma left his crease and lofted the ball towards the same reason, but this time Harris took a soft catch. The duo could add 45 runs for the fifth wicket. Nathan Lyon got his first wicket.
India lost their sixth wicket in the form of Risabh Pant who scored 25 runs. He and Pujara added 41 runs for the sixth wicket.
R Ashwin (25), Ishant Sharma (4) and Mohammed Shami (not out 6) helped Pujara to take India to a respected total.(UNI)