Matt Renshaw (68 of 156 balls) and Mitchell Starc (57* of 58 balls) saved the day as the Australians managed to reach stumps on Day 1 at 256-9 from 94 overs. Renshaw, on his first tour of India, showed great character and application with his gritty knock which exhibited his excellent technique against spin bowling. He used his extended reach to a great effect in countering the Indian spin duo and provided Australia with a solid start in the first session of the day’s play.
Australia’s opening stands during the 0-4 loss in India in 2013: 63, 34, 10, 56, 139, 2, 4, 15. Today, 82. Template? #INDvAUS
— Jamie Alter (@jamie_alterTOI) February 23, 2017
Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) ground hosting its first ever Test match served a ragged and dry-looking pitch which was branded ‘eight days old’ by legendary Aussie spinner, Shane Warne. It was Australia who won the toss and decided to bat first. With Indian skipper, Virat Kohli, starting with Ishant Sharma from one end and Ravichandran Ashwin on the other, the Australian openers were measured in their approach playing with a straight bat and putting away the loose ones on a pitch which offered regular turn right from the start. Australia negated most of the first session, though their openers were squared up on a number of occasions by the spinners.
It was the introduction of Umesh Yadav towards the fag end of the first session, which brought some relief to the Indian camp as he bowled David Warner of an inside edge onto the stumps. Matt Renshaw tried to quickly relieve himself, but the umpires asked him to retire if he wanted a break. After lunch, captain Steve Smith and Shaun Marsh offered some resistance which finally ended with latter's dismissal of the bowling off Jayant Yadav. Handscomb and Smith continued to frustrate the Indians for a while until the former was trapped lbw by Jadeja. Smith soon followed him by uppishly flicking an Ashwin delivery, which went straight into the hands of Kohli at mid-wicket.
Matt Renshaw becomes the youngest Australian to score 50+ in a Test in Asia (20y 332d); previously Rick Darling (22y 154d) in 1979 #INDvAUS
— Fox Sports Lab (@FoxSportsLab) February 23, 2017
Renshaw returned after Handscomb’s departure and continued to hold his guard while Matthew Wade was dismissed leg before by Umesh Yadav. His brilliant innings finally came to an end when he was caught by Murali Vijay of the bowling of Ashwin after a well compiled 68 of 156 balls. Umesh Yadav, the unsung hero of this successful home season, almost bagged a hat-trick as he dismissed Steve O’Keefe and Nathan Lyon in succession with Saha pulling off a blinder behind the stumps to get rid of O’Keefe. At this stage, Australia were reeling at 205-9 but Mitchell Starc had plans of his own. He decided to go for anything that was in his arc, attacking the spinners on his way to a blistering 57* of 58 balls which included 5 fours and 3 sixes. Starc and Hazlewood ensured that Australia closed the day without any further loss. Though Jayant was taken for some runs, Indian spinners bowled well throughout the innings missing the edges on many many occasions, but it was Umesh Yadav, who was the pick of the Indian bowlers with his figures of 12-03-32-04.
— BCCI (@BCCI) February 23, 2017
With the pitch already offering plenty of turn and bounce, Indians have their task cut out for tomorrow. They should wrap the Australian innings as quickly as possible and should bat with an aim of taking a sizeable lead as if need be, they will be the ones batting in the fourth innings on this rank turner.
Brief Scores: Australia 256-9 in 94 overs ( Renshaw 68, Starc 57*, Umesh Yadav 4-32 and Ashwin 2-59) at stumps on Day 1