Steven Smith © Getty Images
Steven Smith held the innings together after lunch on Day One © Getty Images

By Nishad Pai Vaidya

Dec 26, 2014

Australia finished Day One of the third Test against India in Melbourne on 259 for five on what was a good day of cricket. A good contest between bat and ball ensued as neither side could dominate for long periods. Australia may just have their nose ahead but India too would be happy with their effort with the ball.

Australia won the toss and chose to bat in front of a crowd of almost 70,000 people. Joe Burns replacing Mitchell Marsh was one change with Ryan Harris coming in place of Mitchell Starc. On the other hand, India dropped Rohit Sharma and brought in reserve opener KL Rahul. Mohammed Shami also came into the side and replaced Varun Aaron.

India began well with Umesh Yadav getting David Warner in the second over. He was surprised for pace and edged it to the slips where Shikhar Dhawan took a good catch. Shane Watson and Chris Rogers came together then and stitched together a sound partnership. India’s good start was undone as these two got their eye in.

Rogers had a few problems against Ravichandran Ashwin, but was largely convincing against the seamers. He drove anything pitched full and was very watchful. At the other end, Watson had survived a chance when he was dropped by Dhawan in the slips. Both batsmen put Australia in a good position at lunch and got their fifties soon after the break. That is when India clawed back.

Mohammed Shami had Rogers edging to wicketkeeper MS Dhoni. Watson fell a few deliveries later when he tried to sweep Ashwin and was struck in front. Thereafter came a period where India pulled things back. Ashwin was keeping things tight and was miserly in the middle.

Shaun Marsh got through another start and was dismissed for 32 when he edged Shami to Dhoni. Meanwhile, Steven Smith constructed his innings. It took him 18 balls to get off the mark and then he was only knocking it around and working the strike over. But as the innings progressed, he picked up pace and started to play in his typical proactive manner.

Joe Burns walked in for his Test debut and played a couple of decent shots to showcase his talent. His stay was short lived though as he edged one to Dhoni when he attempted a pull. Brad Haddin walked in to face some chin music. he battled through the day to ensure Australia went in without further damage.

Brief scores:

Australia 259 for 5 (Chris Rogers 57, Shane Watson 52, Steven Smith 72*; Umesh Yadav 2for 69, Mohammed Shami 2 for 55) vs India.

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(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_45)