Starc leads Aussie fightback after Yadav Show

Australia finishes Day One on 256 for nine after electing to bat in Pune in the first Test of Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Seamer Umesh Yadav takes four wickets, while spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja share two each.

Umesh Yadav took 4 for 32.   -  Reuters

It was a day of two fast bowlers on a pitch tailor-made for Indian spinners.

First, it was Umesh Yadav, who emerged as the star for India with figures of 4-32. And then, it was Australia’s Mitchell Starc, who came out as an unlikely hero with the bat, to ensure that the tourist showed some steel in the first Test here in Pune. Starc combined with Josh Hazlewood for an unbeaten 51-run partnership in the last wicket, which propelled Australia to 256-9 at the end of first day.

Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

 

Winning the toss and electing to bat first, David Warner and Matt Renshaw started off solidly for Australia, playing each ball on merit and making use of the loose deliveries.

India skipper Virat Kohli introduced spin, as early as the second over, with Ravichandran Ashwin spinning the ball on a surface, which looked more familiar to a Day 3 or Day 4 pitch. In fact, only in Ashwin’s second over, one delivery turned wickedly from the pitch and was collected at first slip by Ajinkya Rahane.

But then, India got their first breakthrough, thanks to Yadav.

Given the ball only in the 27th over, he dismissed Warner, who inside edged onto his stumps. Renshaw suffered from a stomach bug, and had to retire. Even as the former Australian cricketers slammed the young batsman for leaving the field, Renshaw came back to the crease, and looked quite comfortable.

After all, it was riding on his knock of 68 that the Aussies could cross the 200-run mark. With none of the middle-order batsmen finding the touch, the cookie crumbled for the visitor. Well, almost.

Though skipper Smith and Shaun Marsh, started building a partnership for Australia, things started changing after Marsh was dismissed in a rather unlucky fashion.

 

Australians amused by Renshaw's 'break'

Going for a sweep off Jayant, the ball hit the back of his bat and was grasped by Kohli at leg slip. Next, it was Peter Handscomb, who was trying to play off the back foot—which is never a good idea in Indian conditions. Ravindra Jadeja got him leg before with a flatter one.

And that’s when Renshaw had to be back to the crease.

Smith, who had played well and done all the hard work, was dismissed by Ashwin in the very next over. A rather poor and an unnecessary shot in the situation, he came down the track but hit the ball straight to mid-wicket, where Kohli obliged with a simple catch.

Young Renshaw, however, continued to impress and got to a deserved half-century. Just when it looked he would steady the Aussie ship, the Vijay-Ashwin pair showed him the exit way. Ashwin, going over the wicket, bowled a straight one with a round-arm action—to make it even more difficult for Renshaw to leave. And, that’s where the young opener could only nick one to Vijay at slips.

From there, it was a matter of cleaning up the tail.

Yadav got into the act, getting two in two. First, Steve OKeefe, who was superbly caught by a flying Wriddhiman Saha, a full stretch diving catch to his right and then Lyon—plumb in front.

But then, Starc somewhat got stuck into the spinners, tonking them out of the ground. He hit three sixes and five fours.

Now, with him remaining unbeaten on 57, India would be hoping to furrow the tail early on Friday, before handing over the proceedings to the batsmen!