After the deferred schedule at Brisbane, the Australia-India test series began with the first test at the Adelaide Oval on Tuesday December 9, 2014. In the honor of two past greats from either side, the Test Series is also called the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. By the third day, the flat pitch and rain proved to be spoilsports and even the first innings could not be completed. While there was no surprise about Australia piling 517/7 because there was no venom in India’s bowling, the top order Indian batsmen holding against Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris and Nathan Lyon was heartening from India’s viewpoint. Australia scored 354/6 on the first day in 89.2 overs and added another 163 in about 30 overs on a rain-curtailed second day. David Warner, Michael Clarke and Steven Smith scored quick centuries and India really had an imposing score to deal with as they went out to begin their innings on the third day morning. Except Shikhar Dhawan, who seems to derive inspiration from the swash-buckling style of Virender Sehwag and always try to go on the rampage from the very start, every Indian batsman got among the runs. Skipper Virat Kohli showed the way with committed display and scored a daunting hundred as India avoided the follow on. The century was second for Kohli at Adelaide and the seventh of his 30-test match career. Unless the later order India batsmen commit serious mistakes, India should be able to match Australia in the test. India cannot win but they don’t look like losing the test either.
Australia elected to bat on the first day after winning the toss. Though Chris Rogers departed early, David Warner batted in his characteristically flamboyant fashion. There was no stopping Warner as he cut, drove, pulled and hooked. The one-drop batsman Shane Watson didn’t last long either and departed with his team’s score reading 88/2. But that didn’t halt the sledgehammering from Warner. Instead, he now had the company of his skipper Michael Clarke, who also joined the leather-hunt. The rate of scoring was quite brisk from normal test match standards. Clarke was not fully fit from his back spasms that have been bothering him for some time. If Phil Hughes had been alive, he could have taken Clarke’s place in the first test. But Clarke had to play though he retired after scoring 60. Steven Smith joined Warner and the two batsmen continued to ransack India’s inconsistent bowling attack. For India, debutant Karn Sharma was rewarded with Warner’s wicket and opened his account in test matches. Warner made 145 in 163 balls with 19 hits to the fence. Australia ended day one with 354/6 with Smith not out on 72. On the second day, the weather was gloomy and only 30 overs’ play was possible. Clarke came back with Smith and the two batsmen smashed the bowlers to add 163 for the sixth wicket in 30 overs. There were three interruptions during the day but Clarke finished his 28th test hundred before he finally got out for 128. Steven Smith remained not out on 162 as Australia declared at 517/7.
India began their innings on the third day morning but lost Shikhar Dhawan at the score of 30. Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara carried on and added 81 runs for the second wicket before Vijay edged an express delivery from Johnson into the keeper’s hands. As Virat Kohli joined Pujara in the middle, he faced a fast rising bouncer from Johnson that hit him on the helmet. An eerie silence fell in the stadium as players rushed to Kohli with genuine scare. But it was Kohli’s fault that he didn’t duck in time and the ball struck on the helmet. Everyone wanted to know if Kohli was alright. A very nervous looking Johnson was the first one there with Clarke patting Johnson on the back. But pretty soon, Kohli was ready to get on with the game. Pujara and Kohli added 81 for the third wicket, when Pujara was bowled by Nathan Lyon for 73. Out came Ajinkya Rahane to join Kohli and for the fourth wicket, the two of them batted solidly to add another 101 to the total. Both batsmen played with patience and though they kept up the scoring, they avoided adventure. After tea, Rahane fell for 62 and Kohli was joined by Rohit Sharma. Playing the captain’s knock, Virat Kohli completed his century in style by flicking the new ball from Mitchell Marsh to the midwicket boundary. Rohit Sharma was content in playing a supporting role and building on India’s innings. Kohli was finally claimed by a bouncer from Mitchell Johnson, when he couldn’t avoid a top-edge going to Ryan Harris at the deep fine-leg. When stumps were drawn on the third day, India had reached 369/5 with Rohit Sharma and Wriddhiman Saha at the crease. When the game begins on the fourth day morning, it would be necessary for the batsmen to keep their heads down and build further on the innings since India area still 148 runs behind Australia.
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