The much-awaited Test series between India and Australia Down Under saw plenty of high-quality cricket and competitiveness on the first day of the first match at the Adelaide Oval. But all it took was one mistake to switch all the momentum that Team India had gathered towards the home team. In the 77th over of the innings, skipper Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane were involved in a messy run out that saw the foreigner depart for a fine 74. The innings had been near perfect till then, as he cautiously added on the runs to swing the day in his team’s favour.
Adding 68 runs for the third wicket off 191 balls with Cheteshwar Pujara and then piling on 88 runs with Rahane, Kohli was sublime as he looked all set for his maiden international ton this year in any format. However, Rahane backed out from a quick single in the 77th over, which saw a furious Kohli get run out just three overs before the second new ball was due. The wicket of Kohli was all that Australia needed as they crawled back into the game, with three wickets in just 16 balls to leave India at 233 for 6 at the end of Day 1.
Earlier, India, after winning the toss and opting to bat first, got off to the worst possible start as opener Prithvi Shaw was sent back to the pavilion in just the second ball off an inside edge onto the stumps. In walked Pujara, who patiently saw off a threatening spell from Mitchell Starc. The fast bowler was in excellent rhythm and kept the rivals guessing as he got movement in the first hour. He almost had the wicket of Pujara as well when the batsman had gently edged one wide to the keeper.
The fact that Pujara took 148 balls to hit his first four is evidence of his monk-like patience that Indian fans have gotten so accustomed to. He helped steady the innings with Mayak Agarwal, as the duo focused on grinding out the Aussie bowlers. The first 10 overs of the Indian innings fetched just 21 runs, but it laid the foundation for a determined Kohli to get a big score in the only Test that he will be playing this summer after Mayank had been dismissed off a scrambled seam ball by Pat Cummins. Kohli and Pujara were equally focused on tiring out the rival bowlers as they stood tall for 191 balls with hardly any unforced errors. There were a few close saves against Nathan Lyon as the edges missed the fielders and fell into No Man’s land, while Kohli survived after Australia failed to review despite replays suggesting there was glove involved when he was on 16, but for most parts, the duo frustrated the bowlers.
However, the slice of luck ran out as Pujara was dismissed for 43 off 160 balls as he got an inside edge to leg slip. Though Rahane and Kohli upped the ante soon after, the dismissal of Kohli opened the floodgates as the hard work of the morning came undone under the lights, with Rahane and Hanuma Vihari walking back in quick succession.
Brief Scores: India 233/6 (Virat Kohli 74, Cheteshwar Pujara 43, Ajinkya Rahane 42; Mitchell Starc 2-49, Pat Cummins 1-42) vs Australia