It was an attritional day of Test match cricket between Australia and India to begin the four-match series. Both sides were looking to gain the upper hand, but honours were pretty even at the end of the first day. India finished with 233-6 after captain Virat Kohli won the toss.
The Indian skipper top-scored with a knock of 74 runs and was supported by Cheteshwar Pujara (43) and Ajinkya Rahane (42). Mitchell Starc was Australia’s best bowler with 2-49 from 19 overs on the first day of the Test.
After much talk about the pink ball being unplayable because of the excess swing, there wasn’t much on offer for the bowlers. It was Australia’s disciplined bowling that kept Indian batsmen honest.
Let's look at the key talking points from the first day of the Test series.
#1. Prithvi Shaw’s poor form continues
The Indian think-tank gave opener Prithvi Shaw an opportunity to get back to form, but he failed to repay the faith shown in him after getting dismissed off the second delivery of the Test match.
His inclusion in the squad was based on his Test numbers so far in his short career. The player looked out of sorts in the tour games that followed this year's IPL.
While some experts thought it was the right move to back the youngster, most felt that young Shubman Gill should open the batting with Mayank Agarwal.
Prithvi Shaw's defensive technique was exposed quite early in the game. Mitchell Starc angled the second delivery outside the off stump, and Shaw played a shot well away from his body only to inside edge the ball onto his stumps. It was a very extravagant shot too early in his innings, and he paid the price.
#2. Lyon’s classic off-spin bowling
Nathan Lyon once again proved why he is currently one of the best spin bowlers in Test cricket. On a first-day pitch, the off-spinner weaved his magic with sheer guile and made run-scoring extremely difficult for the Indian batsmen.
The player's spell in the second session against Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli was a classic Test match battle and was riveting to watch. Lyon got the ball to drift away from right-handers and turned the ball quite a bit for a first-day pitch.
The bounce he gets because of the revs he puts on the ball. This is something we are accustomed to seeing Lyon get on Australian pitches. At one stage, Lyon was bowling to Pujara with four close infielders. The off-spinner eventually got India’s No 3 with a sharp turning delivery that bounced to catch the inside edge on to his thigh pad and was then lobbed to the leg slip.
#3. Kohli’s wonderful knock and the run-out
It was one of those days when Virat Kohli decided to curb his natural aggressive instincts. He played a perfect Test match innings on a wicket that seemed to have a bounce even on day one.
Kohli looked quite content to leave those deliveries outside the off-stump throughout the day. His accumulation of runs was a great example for youngsters on how to build an innings.
Before this innings, Virat Kohli had already scored three Test hundreds at the Adelaide Oval and looked set to get another century at his favourite venue. Then the mix-up with Ajinkya Rahane happened.
India’s vice-captain drove a Lyon delivery towards the left of mid-off and started running for the single but later decided that there wasn’t a run and sent his skipper back. By the time he realized what was going on, Australia had the prized scalp of a well-set Virat Kohli via a suicidal run out.Published 18 Dec 2020, 00:19 IST