Australia reach 76-2 after early blows in 1st India Test
NAGPUR, India, Feb 9, 2023 (BSS/AFP) – Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith fought back as Australia recovered from losing their openers to reach 76-2 at lunch against India on the first day of the first Test on Thursday.
Labuschagne (47) and Smith (19) attempted to rebuild in an unbeaten stand of 74 after the early dismissals of Usman Khawaja and David Warner on a Nagpur pitch expected to turn viciously.
Seamer Mohammed Siraj struck on his first ball to get Khawaja trapped lbw for one with a delivery that swung in to the left-hander, after the tourists won the toss and elected to bat first.
An appeal was turned down by the on-field umpire but India successfully reviewed the decision, much to the delight of coach Rahul Dravid, who pumped his fists in the pavilion.
Mohammed Shami soon raised the noise in the next over when the seamer bowled the left-handed Warner for one, coming around the wicket to send the off-stump cartwheeling.
Spin was introduced in the seventh over with left-arm orthodox Ravindra Jadeja coming into the attack after his return to the team from a career-threatening knee injury.
Labuschagne and Smith remained cautious in their approach as a few turning deliveries flew past their bats on the dry pitch.
Labuschagne, the world number one Test batsman, looked assured as he hit eight boundaries. Smith survived a dropped catch on six when Virat Kohli failed to grab a sharp chance at slip.
Australia, led by Pat Cummins, dropped left-hander Travis Head and gave off-spinner Todd Murphy his international debut.
Rohit Sharma-led India handed Test caps to Twenty20 sensation Suryakumar Yadav and wicketkeeper Srikar Bharat.