Cowan, Ponting steady Australia after Yadav's double strikes

Umesh Yadav (C) is being congratulated by his teammates after he bagged the key wicket of David Warner in the first session Getty Images

Melbourne: Dec 26, 2011

Young Umesh Yadav’s twin strike in the first session pegged Australia back as they reached 68 for two at lunch, on the opening day of the first Test against India at the MCG.

Vidarbha speedster removed opener David Warner (37) and No 3 batsman Shaun Marsh within a space of seven deliveries in the first session which was curtailed by two minutes due to drizzle.

Yadav (2/25) first accounted for the aggressive Warner with well directed bouncer. Warner, cramped for room, mistimed a hook shot and the ball ballooned up for the Indian captain to complete an easy catch.

Yadav then bowled a fuller delivery angled across inducing Marsh into a drive which was neatly pouched by Virat Kohli at gully.

Debutant opener Ed Cowan (14 batting, 61 balls) and former skipper Ricky Ponting (15 batting) then negotiated the second hour without being separated.

Once Australian captain Michael Clarke opted to bat under overcast conditions on a lively pitch, Warner and Cowan were good enough to see off the first spells of Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma but in contrasting styles.

While Warner threw his bat at everything, Cowan was prepared to leave deliveries outside off-stump.

Zaheer Khan began with a maiden before Warner hit his first boundary off Ishant Sharma at the other end. It was a streaky four as Sharma cut one back sharply and a hopping Warner found an inside edged go past the ‘keeper.

Zaheer was also at the receiving end of Warner’s blazing bat as the stocky left-hander drove the left-arm seamer through covers in successive overs. In between, there was a vociferous caught behind appeal by Zaheer Khan turned down and rightly so since the ball had brushed Warner’s pads and not bat.

Sharma was pulled out of the attack after three overs but Yadav’s baptism at MCG was full of nerves.

Cowan broke his shackles by driving Yadav through extra cover for his first four off only the 28th ball he faced.

Warner then rammed into Yadav by first off-driving and then hooking him for a six. Under gloomy conditions, floodlights flickered into life in the ninth over and by the end of the 13th, at the score 46 for no loss, a sharp drizzle forced the players indoors.

The resumption was almost as swift and India’s retribution almost instant as Yadav removed Warner. The stockily-built Warner faced 49 balls for his 37 runs and hit four boundaries and a six.

Marsh defended for five deliveries but hadn’t yet opened his account, nor had the score advanced by any run, when he was drawn into a widish drive that ended up in Kohli’s hands.

Ponting got a mixed welcome from supporters as he trudged in. He showed his uncertainty by taking a blow on his helmet off Yadav but was alert enough to kick the ball away as it headed towards his stumps.

Sharma, brought back at the other end after Zaheer was through with his first spell of six overs for 14 runs, proved immediately why he’s been such a nemesis for the former Australian captain. The tall Indian fast bowler cut back a delivery which beat the batsman all ends up. (PTI)

Brief Scores: Australia 68 for 2 (David Warner 37, Ricky Ponting 15*, Ed Cowan 14*; Umesh Yadav 2 for 25) vs India

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