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Kuldeep shines as India respond to Kohli absence, Smith hundred

Steve Smith continued his magnificent form, but India enjoyed the better of day one in Dharamsala as Virat Kohli's replacement excelled.

News 25 Mar 2017, 17:06 IST
Kuldeep Yadav - cropped
Kuldeep Yadav celebrates a wicket on his India Test debut

Debutant Kuldeep Yadav shone on day one of the decisive fourth Test in Dharamsala as India responded to the significant blow of losing Virat Kohli by limiting Australia to 300 all out despite another superb hundred from Steve Smith.

The hosts opted to select left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep as an additional bowler on Saturday after Kohli failed to overcome his shoulder injury, with Ajinkya Rahane stepping up to captain India in a Test for the first time.

It was Australia skipper Smith who initially took centre stage, sharing 134 for the second wicket with David Warner (56) en route to 111, his third century of the series and seventh in his last eight five-day matches against India.

However, Matthew Wade (57) was the only other batsman to offer prolonged resistance as Kuldeep (4-68) led a fine India fightback with the ball after lunch.

Australia - winners of the toss at Test cricket's newest venue - slumped from 144-1 to be bowled out with around 15 minutes of the opening day remaining, leaving KL Rahul to play out a maiden from Josh Hazlewood before stumps.

With the series locked at 1-1, much is now likely to depend on whether India - a batsman light following the selection of Kuldeep as Kohli's replacement - are able to claim a significant first-innings lead.

Kuldeep, 22, came in as one of two changes to India's team along with Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who replaced Ishant Sharma and had Warner dropped off the first ball of the match when a diving Karun Nair spilled a chance at third slip.

Although Matthew Renshaw was bowled by Umesh Yadav (2-69) in the next over, Australia were in command by the end of the morning session, thanks largely to the positive approach adopted by the in-form Smith.

Things were very different in the afternoon, though, as Kuldeep had Warner caught at slip by Rahane for his maiden Test scalp and then bowled Peter Handscomb (8) and Glenn Maxwell (8) after Shaun Marsh (4) had been strangled down the leg side off Umesh.

When Smith fell shortly before tea, held at slip after Ravichandran Ashwin got one to skid on from round the wicket and take the edge, Australia were in trouble at 208-6.

Wade dug in to make a valuable fifty and Pat Cummins (21) briefly shone before he was caught and bowled by Kuldeep.

Yet India were able to wrap up the innings before the close and Rahul ensured there was to be no early setback in reply.

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