The air in Australia had declared India as the favorites to win the Test series. The visitors have begun well as they won the first Test in Adelaide. This is the first time India has won the first Test of the series in Australia. The game was hard fought and the perfect campaign for Test cricket in the modern era.
Pujara showed the way
Initially, Virat Kohli won the toss and elected to bat. Indian openers, Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane got out flashing outside the off stump. They were down to 41/4 and in absolute stutters. The hosts could have dismantled the opposition from that point onwards. But Cheteshwar Pujara put his hand up and bailed the side out of trouble.
From 127/6, he took the team to 250. The No.3 batsman batted with grit and showed tremendous patience. He went on to score 123 runs and most of those came batting with the tail. He was the star of the first innings and showcased how to bat in those conditions.
Indian bowlers delivered the goods
It was then time for the Indian bowlers to rise. Ishant Sharma castled Aaron Finch for a duck. Australia didn’t recover from that blow and lost wickets at regular intervals. The Indian bowlers were at it all the time and didn’t let the opposition score runs easily. The pressure was up all the time that led to wickets.
Australia was also at 127/6 and Travis Head was the lone fighter. He batted well with the tail and collected valuable runs. His score of 72 took Australia to 235. India had a slender lead of 15 runs but they had the advantage as batting last wasn’t going to be easy.
Pujara-Rahane ran away with the game
The Indian openers KL Rahul and Murali Vijay put up a better show in the 2nd innings. They tackled the new ball and didn’t attempt rash strokes. A partnership of 63 gave a solid platform to the middle-order. After their dismissal, Kohli and Pujara added 71 runs for the 3rd wicket before the former departed for 34.
Rahane joined Pujara and the duo ran away with the game from the opposition. They shared a stand of 87 runs that put India in a commanding position. Pujara scored 71 while Rahane made 70. The lower order collapsed and the last 5 wickets fell for just 25 runs. But the visitors had accumulated 307 runs which gave Australia a target of 323.
A gripping final innings
Australia, during the chase, had a similar story like the first time around. They were losing wickets constantly and didn’t look in with a chance initially. Once again, the Indian bowlers didn’t provide freebies and applied the pressure. Shaun Marsh and Tim Paine hung in there for a while but lost wickets after getting in.
India was on the road to victory but the lower order tested their patience. Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon batted bravely and didn’t give up without a fight. But the inevitable happened and Australia bundled out for 291. India won the match by 31 runs and took a vital 1-0 lead.
India won the toss and opted to bat first
India 1st innings: 250/10 in 88 overs
Cheteshwar Pujara 123 (246), Rohit Sharma 37 (61)
Josh Hazlewood 52/3 (20), Pat Cummins 49/2 (19)
Australia 1st innings: 235/10 in 98.4 overs
Travis Head 72 (167), Peter Handscomb 34 (93)
Jasprit Bumrah 47/3 (24), Ravichandran Ashwin 57/3 (34)
India 2nd innings: 307/10 in 106.5 overs
Cheteshwar Pujara 71 (204), Ajinkya Rahane 70 (147)
Nathan Lyon 122/6 (42), Mitchell Starc 40/3 (21.5)
Australia 2nd innings: 291/10 in 119.5 overs
Shaun Marsh 60 (166), Tim Paine 41 (73)
Mohammed Shami 65/3 (20), Jasprit Bumrah 68/3 (24)
India won by 31 runs
Player of the Match: Cheteshwar Pujara
The County Ground, Taunton
The Rose Bowl, Southampton
County Ground, Chelmsford
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