(Photo by PETER PARKS / AFP)
(Photo by PETER PARKS / AFP)

Adelaide: India had a forgettable morning session on the opening day of the first Test with Australia reducing the visitors to 56 for four at lunch 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 in the session comprising 27 overs.

At the break, Cheteshwar Pujara was unbeaten on 11 not out, while Rohit Sharma was batting on 15 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 number six spot. For Australia, Marcus Harris made his Test debut as announced a day prior. Mitchell Starc (1-8) and Hazelwood (2-17) then began proceedings for Australia, and were on the money straightaway with their lengths.

Of the two Indian openers, KL 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 he was watchful. On a couple 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 on 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 then, Rahane fell to Hazelwood, the fourth batsman out driving in this morning session, and was caught at second slip. Pujara and Sharma then tried to give some respectability to the score, taking India past 50 in the 25th over with a lot of work still to be done.

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