Australian captain Michael Clarke scored a brilliant ton under-pressure, while the new member in his team, Moises Henriques, chipped in with a valuable 68 of his own as the visitors took stumps at 316 for seven on Day One of the first Test against India.
Australia were struggling on 153 for five at one stage in the second session, with Ravichandran Ashwin (6 for 88) leading the onslaught, before Clarke and Henriques staged a revival.
Clarke's 103 not out came off 168 balls, including 11 fours and one six. After scoring 1,595 runs in 2012, Clarke has started the new year like he ended the last.
At one stage, it looked as if Australia would not even get close to the 300 mark, but Clarke, along with Henriques, ensured that the visitors are in a comfortable position after a mid-day wobble.
The debutant Henriques impressed in his first innings with the bat, scoring five boundaries in his 132-ball 68. However, inexperience came into play as he was out in the 90th over of the day to a shot so unnecessary at that stage.
Henriques went down on one knee, tried to slog-sweep Ashwin to the square-leg boundary, missed and the ball hit him plumb on the thigh of the back leg. Ashwin had wicket no 6, and it was probably the most satisfying.
New man in Mitchell Starc didn't last long as Ravindra Jadeja bowled him for three.
However, at 316 for seven, Clarke and Henriques have nicely set up the match for Australia. Batting fourth on this pitch is not going to be easy, so Australia will look to put as many runs on the board as possible. India will have to bat out of their skins in bot the innings if they are to win this match.
Australia started the third session with David Warner and Shane Watson at the crease. The latter was gone immediately after lunch. He tried to flick Ashwin's ball, that kept low, off the legs, but was trapped in front. It did seem like there were two sounds and Watson looked disappointed with the umpire's call. But replays showed that there was no bat on that.
In his very next over, Ashwin trapped Warner in exactly the same fashion, only difference being Warner knew it was plumb.
Ten overs later, Ashwin got his fifth, yet another leg-before, that of Matthew Wade. Half the Australian team was back in the dressing room and skipper Clarke was stranded in the middle.
After watching half his team being sent back to the pavilion by Ashwin, Clarke was joined by Henriques in the middle. The duo parried Australia to the tea interval without further damage.
Clarke also crossed 7,000 runs in Test cricket in the process. A few minutes before lunch, Ashwin took his inside-edge which was scooped up by backward short leg. All of India's fielders surrounding the batsman went up in unison, but umpire Kumar Dharmasena didn't see the edge.
Earlier, in the first session, Australia got off to an aggressive start after electing to bat first, but lost two wickets in the process. The visitors took lunch at 126 for two with David Warner bringing up a well-paced fifty.
Brief Scores: Australia 316 for 7 (Michael Clarke 103*, Moises Henriques 68, David Warner 59; Ravichandran Ashwin 6 for 88) vs India.
First Published: February 22, 2013, 4:32 pm