IND vs AUS: Rohit Sharma’s 50 puts hosts in comfortable position on Day-1

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NAGPUR: After Ravindra Jadeja’s five-wicket haul helped India bundled out Australia for 177, captain Rohit Sharma’s unbeaten 56 put hosts in a dominant position against visitors at the end of Day 1 in the first Test match of Border-Gavaskar Trophy at Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium here on Thursday.

India’s score read 77/1 at stumps on Day 1, with Rohit Sharma (56) and Ravichandran Ashwin (0) unbeaten at the crease. The hosts still trail by 100 runs.

Resuming the day after the tea break, Indian bowlers wreaked havoc on the Australian batters as Jadeja bagged five wickets haul while Ravichandran Ashwin scalped three wickets to bundle out visitors for 177.

Indian skipper Rohit Sharma made a statement to begin his side’s innings with a boundary on the bowling of Australia captain Pat Cummins, before hitting another two fours in the over and giving the strike to KL Rahul. 13 runs came off the first over.

The duo of Rohit and Rahul gave India a solid start as the India captain slammed Australian bowlers for quick boundaries at regular intervals.

Rohit looked in ominous touch as he ended Nathan Lyon’s over with a four. On the final ball of the 14th over, Sharma charged Lyon and smacked him for six.

India kept picking up the loose balls to keep Australian bowlers under pressure. After having trouble scoring earlier on, Rahul also picked up the pace to gather runs at regular intervals. The Indian duo also brought up their 50-run partnership in the 16th over of the game.

After a sublime four off Lyon’s delivery, Rohit brought up his half-century in 66 balls. Rohit was on the front foot from the start and followed his 50 with another boundary.

In the 23rd over, Todd Murphy provided Australia with a breakthrough as he broke the partnership of 76 runs in 138 balls between Rohit and Rahul. Murphy managed to make a ball grip and turn with Rahul only able to paddle it back to him for an easy catch. Rahul went back to the pavilion after scoring 20 runs from 71 balls.

Ashwin was promoted to bat at number three and walked out as the nightwatchman with 7 balls left in the day.
Earlier in the day, Indian bowlers clawed back as Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin rattled Australia in the second session on Day 1.

At the tea break, Australia’s score read 174/8, with Peter Handscomb (29) and Nathan Lyon (0) unbeaten at the crease.

Resuming the second session at 76/2, Ravindra Jadeja’s back-to-back strikes after lunch dented Australia’s progress.

Jadeja did not waste any time as he struck soon after lunch, and KS Bharat got his first stumping in Test cricket. Ravindra Jadeja bagged back-to-back wickets as he removed Marnus Labuschagne, the Australia batter fell one run short of his 15th Test fifty. Matt Renshaw then fell prey to Jadeja as he was trapped by a duck.

However, Steve Smith kept on scoring runs at a brisk pace. Smith slammed Axar Patel for 12 runs featuring three beautiful fours.

Jadeja then delivered a stunner straight ball and rattled through Smith’s stumps, claiming his third wicket of the match. Smith went back to the pavilion after scoring 37 runs in 107 deliveries, leaving Australia tottering at 109/5.

The left-handed batter Alex Carey then came out to bat. Carey opened his account with two fours off Ravichandran Ashwin’s deliveries.

The duo of Peter Handscomb and Alex Carey then held the fort and charged at Indian bowlers at regular intervals for boundaries.

Carey slammed Mohammed Siraj for two fours in the 50th over, both of them with cover drives from outside the off-stump. Carey also brought up the 50-run partnership with Peter Handscomb in the 50th over. Carey continued to play drives and reverse sweeps as he worked up to 36 runs, and Handscomb remained stoic at the other end.

The veteran spinner Ravichandran Ashwin provided the answer India needed when he broke through Carey’s line of defence to strike the stumps for his 450th Test wicket.

The right-handed batter and Australia captain Pat Cummins then came out to bat at the crease. Jadeja nearly stumped Handscomb with a ripping spin delivery that went past the bat in one over, but Handscomb was able to escape both times.

Ashwin once again demonstrated his ability to win games by tricking Cummins into edging the ball to Kohli at slip. Kohli missed a couple at slip but made no mistake this time and caught Cummins’ edge at the slip. Indian bowlers’ dominating performance left Australia stuttering at 172/7 in the 58th over of the game.

Jadeja bagged his fourth wicket of the match and India’s 8th as he dismisses batter Todd Murphy for a duck.

Earlier, star batters Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne did the repair works with a firm 74-run stand after Indian pacers Mohammed Siraj and Mohammed Shami rattled Australia with two quick scalps early into the first Test at Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium on Thursday.

Brief Scores: Australia: 174/8 (Marnus Labuschagne 47, Alex Carey 36; Ravindra Jadeja 4-45) vs India 77/1 (Rohit Sharma 56*, KL Rahul 20; Todd Murphy 1-13). (ANI)

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