Australia reached 354 for six in their first innings at stumps on the opening day of the first cricket Test against India here today. David Warner paid tribute to Phillip Hughes after compiling a swashbuckling century. His 145 from 163 balls got the hosts off to a flying start at Adelaide Oval. (Also See: HIGHLIGHTS: 1st TEST, DAY 1 - AUSTRALIA VS INDIA, Adelaide Oval)
The hosts were marred with another injury concern, as Michael Clarke had to retire hurt. The Australian skipper overcame a hamstring strain to be declared fit for the Test, but retired hurt with back spasms when on 60.
Clarke ducked inside a short ball from Indian quick Ishant Sharma and instantly grimaced in pain from the latest flare-up of his chronic back problems.
Meanwhile, Warner dominated the Indian attack after the Australian captain elected to bat to help the hosts to a commanding position before departing in the last session. While Clarke had retired hurt for 60, Steven Smith maintained the advantage after the opener’s departure until India struck with the second new ball.
With the exceptions of Ishant Sharma and Murali Vijay, the rest of the Indian attack was milked by Australia as they piled on runs. However, Varun Aaron and Mohammed Shami claimed three wickets between them late in the last session to bring India back into the game. When play ended on Tuesday, Smith was batting on 72.
In the first session, Warner dominated the proceedings and brought up his 50 off just 45 balls. Warner's fellow openers Chris Rogers showed lot of discomfort and was out in the eighth over for a just nine off 22 balls when Ishant Sharma forced an edge to Shikhar Dhawan at second slip. Shane Watson followed in the 19th over, giving Dhawan his second catch in the slips off Varun Aaron and making way for Clarke to come to the wicket. He scored just 14.
In Karn Sharma’s second over Warner reached 63 with two to deep square-leg and raised his bat in tribute to his former team-mate Phil Hughes who had departed unbeaten on that number in an unfortunate incident a few days back.
With Warner on song, and the pair (Warner-Clarke) continuing to score at a steady pace Australia saw the partnership for the third wicket take shape. Warner who had dominated the bowling since the word go reached his century with a single through covers off the leg-spinner in 106 balls in the second half of the session. The captain who had kept up with the opener with some well timed drives and pulls soon notched up his fifty as the hosts seized control.
At 206/2 Clarke retired hurt for 60 halting the flourishing partnership for 118 and was replaced by Smith in the middle. The middle-order batsman and Warner took the team to Tea at 238/2.
It was in the seventh over of the last session that India got the crucial wicket of Warner. Looking to clear the ropes off Karn, the opener holed out to deep mid-wicket and departed for 145.
Mitchell Marsh then partnered with Smith in carrying the innings forward. Vijay’s spin too did not make a dent in the Australian line-up. In search of a breakthrough, India took the new ball after 80 overs and Ishant was re-introduced into the attack. On reaching 63, Smith too paid his respects to Hughes before carrying on his flourishing stand with Marsh.
The pacers hit the deck hard as they looked for a breakthrough. And Aaron succeeded in sending back Marsh by generating bounce. Caught at gully, the batsman walked back for 41. Nathon Lyon was the next to return to the pavilion castled by Shami. In the last over, the bowler induced an edge of Brad Haddin to leave the match hanging in balance.
Debut: Leg-spinner Karn Sharma for India
End of Day 1: