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India vs Australia 2014-15, First Test: Review, Day 1

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The Australians won the toss and chose to bat first on a rather flat Adelaide pitch. The Indians were without the injured Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Virat Kohli led the team in place of the yet to be fit M.S Dhoni.  One would have excused the Australians to be emotionally vulnerable after the tragic death of Philip Hughes. The scorecard at the end of the day showed otherwise. Warner smashed his way to a fantastic 145 and all the vulnerability looked more like a show of true strength and character, something which the Aussies are known for. Warner departed to the debutant Karn Sharma and Michael Clarke to his recurring back injury. He retired hurt on the score of 60. Aaron and Shami shared the new ball and they went for plenty. Aaron was quick but the runs were flowing even quicker off his bowling. Ishant Sharma was introduced into the bowling and he brought some respectability to the often used terms ‘line’ and ‘length’. Experience always counts and Ishant showed why as he picked up Rogers who edged one to the slips on the 8th over of the day. Watson looked out of sorts and he followed soon after as he fell to Aaron at the score reading 88-2.

Quite unlike any other test venue, the Adelaide Oval was a scene of an emotional cauldron.  The numbers ‘408’ and ‘63’ held a lot of significance as the day went by. The Aussies wore their whites with 408 emblazoned on it.  Phillip Hughes being the 408th player to represent Australia in tests and 63 was the score when that un fateful bouncer hit Hughes. And every time a batsman reached that score there was a round of applause from the crowd and the batsmen took a moment to remember the departed Hughes.

The renaissance of Steve Smith as a Test cricketer proved to be another thorn in the flesh for the Indians as he blazed away to a half century and remained unbeaten on 72 at the end of the day.  What was also interesting was the renaissance(or birth?) of Murli Vijay as India’s second spinner. He bowled for 12 overs and conceded less than 2.50 runs per over. Ashwin would have been quite jittery warming the bench. Mitchell Marsh meanwhile leapfrogged brother Shaun into the playing eleven and looked full of confidence and he stroked his way to 41. He however fell to the curse of the new ball accompanied by extra bounce as he found Kohli at gully.

What followed Marsh’s wicket was unusually Australian. The dying art of night watchman came to the middle in the form of Nathan Lyon. The “kinght’s watch” lasted for 14 balls only to expose Haddin to the the dying moments of the day’s play.  Shami did what he does best and Haddin edged one which seamed late to Saha which brought the day’s play to a close.

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By Ashirbad Hazarika

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