India is in a commanding position on day one of the first Test in Nagpur thanks to some inspired bowling from Ravindra Jadeja, who on Thursday afternoon exposed Australia’s weakness to spin.
In Nagpur’s opening inning, the Australian batters’ control percentage against Ravindra Jadeja. In India’s five-bowler attack on Thursday, Jadeja was by far the most difficult to bat against, as the visitors had a control percentage above 80 against Ashwin (83.16), Mohammed Shami (90.74), Mohammed Siraj (83.33), and Axar Patel (86.67).
Three batters who appeared confident were dismissed by Jadeja: Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, and Peter Handscomb.
After the lunch break, Jadeja and fellow spinner Ravichandran Ashwin combined to take the final eight Australia wickets, resulting in the visitors losing 8-93 in dramatic circumstances at Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium.
Pat Cummins won the toss and decided to bat first to start the day, but the Australians quickly ran into trouble at 2-2 after losing both of their openers for cheaply.
The last time Jadeja played a home Test was in March, so both he and Ashwin had a chance at a five-for with three wickets. Jadeja won the friendly match by lbw-trapping rookie offspinner Todd Murphy and Peter Handscomb on either side of the tea break. Before starting to farm the strike and playing a low-percentage sweep to a full ball, Handscomb had been looking good. Ashwin hit a carrom ball to Scott Boland to end the inning. The best mark remained Labuschagne’s 49.
After that, Ashwin bowled in his trademark style to cut Pat Cummins’ outside edge. Before sliding one faster one in, he dragged him wide, straight, forward, and back.
With the ball still in their possession, Australia returned to the field with little margin for error. They had very few runs to use as attacks, so their four-man attack depended on everything going well.
Rohit was brutal, and he frequently overpitched and wandered off the pads. In the first over, there were three boundaries: two lovely flicks into the leg side and one between slip and gully. With a first-inning strikeout of KL Rahul, Cummins appeared to have regained control, but his second over contained two leg-side pitches for Rohit. India scored 26 for no runs in five overs, according to Cummins’ statistics of 3-1-23-0.
Rohit reached his fifty in just 66 balls with a paddle sweep in the 22nd over and immediately celebrated with a majestic cover drive. He had profited from early wickets and had worn out the spinners to force mistakes after that.
Rahul attempted to flick the off-spinner through mid-wicket in the penultimate over of the day, but he was only able to chip a return catch back to the 22-year-old, giving the Australians something to cheer about.
India is currently 77 to 1 at stumps on Day 1 with Rohit at 56 on 69 balls.
For India to be guaranteed a spot in the World Test Championship final in June later this year, they must win at least three tests in this Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
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