AUSTRALIA. Sydney: Australia finished 166 for 2 on the first day of the third Test between India and Australia at Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) today. Despite been interrupted by the rains and wet outfield, Australia is in a commanding position for the first time in the Border-Gavaskar trophy. Two half-centuries, one by debutant Will Pucovski and the other by Marnus Labuschagne, were the main highlights of the opening day. Meanwhile, from the Indian side, debutant Navdeep Saini and Mohamad Siraj took one wicket each.
In today’s game, Australia won the toss and chose to bat first on a wicket that looked slow and low in bounce. Indian bowler Siraj made the first breakthrough when he removed Australian batsman David Warner. Trying to drive on the off-side, he nicked it, and Pujara held the catch at first slip. Warner is playing for the first time in this test-match series. Barely seven overs were bowled when the play was interrupted by rain. More than three hours were lost due to rain and wet outfield.
Two drop catches by Rishabh Pant
When the game started, Australian batsman and debutant Pucovski and Labuschagne started the Australian innings slowly but confidently. With no bite in the pitch, the duo added a hundred runs partnership. Pant gave Pucovski two lives when his score was 26 and 32. The first drop chance was straight one when Pant failed to take a slight knick off his bat.
The second one was difficult as the wicketkeeper had to run backward and then dive. After getting two lifelines, Pucovski managed to score his first fifty on his test debut. Coincidently, another debutant Saini got his wicket when he trapped Pucovski lbw for 62.
Smith on revamping
After Pucovski’s dismissal, Australia’s score was 106 for 2. Steve Smith then arrived at the crease and played some confident shots. His straight drives to Saini and Siraj were classic. Complementing Smith, Labuschagne also drove and cut brilliantly. The two batsmen played freely in the last session. They have now an unfinished partnership of 60 runs.
Brief score: Australia : 166 for 2 ( Pucovski 62, Labuschagne 67 not out, Smith 31 not out, Siraj 1/46, Saini 1/32)