Australia 156 for 4 (Khawaja 60, Jadeja 4-63) lead India 109 (Kuhnemann 5-16, Lyon 3-35) by 47 runs
Matthew Kuhnemann’s maiden five-wicket haul and Usman Khawaja’s hard fought half-century gave Australia their best day of the tour, as they finished the first day in Indore 47 ahead of India’s 109 with six wickets in hand.
On a pitch that was bare at both ends with a green patch in the middle, Rohit Sharma had no hesitation in batting after winning a toss for the first time in the series. However, with plenty of turn and variable bounce on offer, Australia’s spinners Kuhnemann and Nathan Lyon bundled India out for 109 in 33.2 overs.
Kuhnemann, playing only his second Test, took 5 for 16 while Lyon picked up three wickets. Todd Murphy took one and the remaining batter, No. 11 Mohammed Siraj, was run out.
Mitchell Starc, replacing Pat Cummins in the side, went wicketless but he could have dismissed Rohit twice in the opening over of the match. Starc found Rohit’s outside edge with the first ball of the Test but umpire Nitin Menon was unmoved; Australia decided against a review for caught behind, only for Ultra Edge to show a spike. Three balls later, Starc beat Rohit’s inside edge and the ball brushed the back leg on its way to the wicketkeeper. Menon once again denied the appeal; Australia once again chose not to review and ball-tracking indicated the ball would have gone on to hit the stumps.
Rohit, though, failed to cash in on those reprieves. Australia introduced the left-arm spin of Kuhnemann in the sixth over and Rohit tried to take him on. He skipped down the track but got beaten by the turn, and Carey completed the stumping.
In Kuhnemann’s second over, Shubman Gill pushed at one but failed to account for the turn and Steven Smith held a straightforward catch at slip. Cheteshwar Pujara was bowled off his fourth ball, a ripping offbreak that pitched on the edge of the green patch in the middle of the pitch and shot through his back-foot defence.
Ravindra Jadeja and Shreyas Iyer fell to the slowness of the surface. Jadeja failed to keep a cut down against Lyon and Iyer chopped Kuhnemann onto his stumps. By the end of the first hour, India were reeling at 45 for 5.
Virat Kohli was arguably the only top-order India batter who looked comfortable in testing conditions. He was decisive in his footwork and defended with soft hands but Murphy had him lbw for 22 – India’s top score – while playing across his front pad.