Match report: Ind vs Aus – 1st Test, Day 1
Australia were 316 for the loss of seven wickets at the end of first day’s play of the first Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. After Ravichandran Ashwin claimed the top five batsmen in the first two sessions to put India in a commanding position, Australian captain Michael Clarke and debutant Moises Henriques rallied on to bring the visitors back in the game with a 151-run partnership. The pair also took their team past the 300-run mark at the MA Chidambaram Stadium. Leading from the front, Clarke scored a valiant century and was unbeaten on 103 with Peter Siddle at the other end when stumps were called.
Earlier, after receiving his Test cap from senior pacer Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar opened the bowling for India. However, the quicks only bowled a total of seven overs in the beginning as India captain MS Dhoni introduced spin early in the innings. Playing in his 100th Test, Harbhajan Singh replaced Ishant Sharma in the sixth over, while fellow off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin joined him from the other end a couple of overs later. Ashwin extracted bounce off the wicket and bowled a nagging line and created chances consistently. The dangerous David Warner was dropped by Virender Sehwag in the slips off Ashwin while on 18, and a bit later the batter survived a difficult stumping chance off the tall off-spinner.
Ed Cowan, coming down the track to Ashwin, missed the line of the delivery and was found short of his crease as Dhoni flicked off the bails off. Phillip Hughes too was done in by the turn and lost his stumps to the Chennai off-spinner. But after a shaky start, David Warner grew in confidence as he reached his half-century before lunch and found an able ally in Shane Watson to help the scoreboard ticking; the duo took Australia to 126 in the first session.
But Ashwin continued to challenge the batsmen and claimed two wickets in two overs immediately after lunch. He first trapped Watson leg-before in the first over after lunch to give India a crucial breakthrough and then followed up with the wicket of Warner in his next. And 22 runs later, he claimed Matthew Wade lbw as well to complete his five-for and leave the visitors reeling on 153 for five.
Meanwhile, Clarke who had come out to the middle after the departure of Watson, reached 7000 Test runs with a boundary off the senior off-spinner, Harbhajan Singh. The Australian captain, who had an excellent series against India the last time the two teams clashed in Australia in 2011-12, was left with the lower-middle order to take the innings forward. He set about the task of stabilising the innings with Henriques and took Australia to 215 for five at tea.
Having survived a strong appeal for a catch at short-leg a bit earlier, Clarke reached his fifty in the last session of the day and continued to graft runs with the able support of Henriques. Finding himself in a tough situation on debut, the 26-year-old displayed a calm temperament as he helped his captain rebuild the innings and even posted his maiden Test fifty. Runs started coming more freely and Henriques brought up the 300 for Australia with a cover drive off Kumar. It was once again Ashwin who got India the much-needed breakthrough with the wicket of Henriques. And in the next over, Ravindra Jadeja knocked back Mitchell Starc’s off-stump to bring the hosts back in the contest. Peter Siddle then joined Clarke in the middle and was unbeaten on 1 when play ended today.
Debut: Bhuvneshwar Kumar for India and Moises Henriques for Australia
At the end of Day 1: Australia 1st innings 316/7 in 95 overs (M Clarke 103*, M Henriques 68, D Warner 59, R Ashwin 6/88)