Australia only partially took advantage of India’s cobbled-together bowling attack after winning the toss and electing to bat on day one of the fourth Test at the Gabba, advancing to 5-274 at stumps.
Marnus Labuschagne capped a fine series with his first century of the summer, but other Australian batsmen could have done better after establishing themselves at the crease.
Australia put its third different opening partnership for the series David Warner and Marcus Harris straight into the firing line of an Indian attack beleaguered by injury.
But India, despite being without Jasprit Bumrah, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Hanuma Vihari from the team that played the last Test, took just six balls to get rid of David Warner, who nicked off for 1 to Mohammed Siraj.
Harris only did four runs better before he clipped the recalled Shardul Thakur’s first ball straight to square leg to start the ninth over.
Brought together at 2-17, Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne set about once again steadying the ship, but Smith’s solid dig came to an end on 36 when he gifted debutant off-spinner Washington Sundar his first Test wicket shortly after lunch, chipping an innocuous delivery to a catcher on the leg side.
Their stubborn resistance did heap more pain on India, though, which kept up its track record of losing one fast bowler in every Test when Navdeep Saini pulled up lame with a groin injury in the eighth over of his second Test.
Meanwhile, Labuschagne passed 50 for the third innings in a row, once again aided by sloppy Indian fielding as he was dropped by Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara.
Navdeep Saini became the latest Indian player to pull up with an injury.(AP: Tertius Pickard)
With Wade alongside him, and looking to play a more composed Test innings, the pair put on 113 as the batting got easier into the afternoon.
Labuschagne brought up the ton that had eluded him throughout an otherwise handy summer, before both men holed out with loose shots for batsmen well set at the crease.
Natarajan earned his first two Test wickets when he had Wade caught by Thakur and Labuschagne skied one for Rishabh Pant to take.
Cameron Green continued his impressive start to Test cricket, teaming with Tim Paine to see Australia through the second new ball and safely to stumps.
Had India taken a wicket or two more, it could have claimed honours on day one. Australia, meanwhile, will feel like it could have been in an even stronger position had established batsmen not given away their wickets cheaply.
See how the day played out in our live blog.
By Jon Healy
Australia vs India: Fourth Test at the Gabba
33mminutes agoFriFriday15JanJanuary2021 at 7:33amBy Jon Healy
STUMPS: Australia is 5-274 (Cameron Green 28*, Tim Paine 38*)
Another good, not quite rearguard, but lower-middle order fightback from Cameron Green and Tim Paine. But from an Australian perspective, the day belonged to Marnus Labuschagne.
The ugliness of his dismissal shouldn’t diminish the importance of his century – both from a team and personal perspective. After falling between 50 and 100 in both innings last Test, he needed to get over this hump before the series was through. And doing it on your home patch makes it that much sweeter. QUEENSLANDER!
From an Indian perspective, the bowling was seriously impressive. Not because it was unplayable, but because of this list:
- Ishant Sharma
- Mohammed Shami
- Umesh Yadav
- Jasprit Bumrah
- Ravichandran Ashwin
- Ravindra Jadeja
- Navdeep Saini
Those are the Indian bowlers that either couldn’t make the trip because they were injured, or got injured over here. And yet debutants Washington Sundar and T Natarajan; and virtual debutant Shardul Thakur (he debuted two years ago and bowled 10 balls before getting injured) found ways to get five wickets.
Natarajan has two on debut, Washington has Steve Smith as his first Test wicket, and Shardul looked threatening basically all day.
Australia, meanwhile, scored less than 300 on day one at the Gabba against this inexperienced attack, and is once again asking the lower-middle order and tailenders to contribute meaningful runs to put up a competitive first-innings total.
Whatever happens tomorrow will go a long way to deciding this match and the series, so we look forward to your company then. BYE!
36mminutes agoFriFriday15JanJanuary2021 at 7:30amBy Dean Bilton
Stuart Clark’s verdict on that last Natarajan wide one
That could be best described as fruit. It was like a big juicy apple outside off stump. And Tim Paine obliged by eating that big juicy piece of fruit.
I don’t remember ever bowling a ball that bad.
37mminutes agoFriFriday15JanJanuary2021 at 7:29amBy Jon Healy
87th over – Siraj will bowl the last over of the day. Three overs short of the requisite 90.
Green will start on strike. Fourth Test or 40th Test, this must be nerve-wracking.
Oh Tim. There was three on offer for sure, but Paine sent Green back. That’s pulling rank in the last over if ever I’ve seen it.
Hey, a leave from Cameron Green. You don’t see that too often.
He gets a single off his hip. If he’s got any sense he’ll take the gloves and helmet off at the non-striker’s end with two balls left.
And the last ball is a bouncer down leg.
41mminutes agoFriFriday15JanJanuary2021 at 7:25amBy Jon Healy
86th over – Natarajan will go over again. Will this pair bowl out the day?
Paine is still keen to keep the score ticking over, smashing a cut shot almost to the rope. Another three.
FOUR! This Green bloke drives better than Lewis Hamilton. Clocked through the covers.
Lurvly little one-legged flamingo whip off the pads, very fine for a single.
BANG! That’s garbage bowling. Wide on a nothing length and Paine dispatches another cut shot to the rope.
44mminutes agoFriFriday15JanJanuary2021 at 7:22amBy Jon Healy
Is Wade now toast with another brain failure when he was established?-Pete of Canberra
He’s got another innings and then a long break between Tests, so not necessarily toast, but the bread’s definitely out of the freezer.
46mminutes agoFriFriday15JanJanuary2021 at 7:20amBy Jon Healy
85th over – Spearhead Siraj is steaming in
BIG SHOUT FOR LBW! But it’s too high. You’re not going to get those against a leviathan like Green at the Gabba.
Another near miss on the outside edge. Stay frosty, Cameron.
49mminutes agoFriFriday15JanJanuary2021 at 7:17amBy Jon Healy
84th over – Natarajan again
He’s flashed at a cut shot. What’s he done that for?
FOUR! OK OK OK OK OK OK OK. He’s belted that short ball basically through wide mid-on. Beautifully played.
Almost an edge! Was it an edge? Rishabh is trying to convince the people around him, but they’re literally laughing at him. Alright. Calm down Tim. No need to chase that wide one.
Four. All run. You love to see it. Nicely played through the leg side. The Gabba is obviously a big ground, but the outfield must be slow, because there have been a lot of balls not reaching the rope despite being timed pretty well.
54mminutes agoFriFriday15JanJanuary2021 at 7:12amBy Jon Healy
Just need to make it to stumps without losing a wicket, reckon we can manage it?-Doc
I’d say it’s a 50/50 prospect at the moment.
57mminutes agoFriFriday15JanJanuary2021 at 7:09amBy Jon Healy
83rd over – Mohammed Siraj will start his last spell against Green
Only two types of leave, and that was a good one. Tight as a pair of bike shorts though.
Big movement away. Siraj could have been a bit fuller there, because it straightened down the line off the seam and Green narrowly avoided nicking that.
Green’s defending away from his body outside off. Not even sure how to describe them but they could definitely be left alone.
1hhour agoFriFriday15JanJanuary2021 at 7:04amBy Jon Healy
82nd over – Right, enough of that. Here comes the second new ball.
The rookie, T Natarajan, will get first use.
He was bowling a lot around the wicket with the old ball, but he’s coming over the wicket to the right-hander with the newie.
Beaten! Beautiful. Looked like it nipped away off the deck and Green was left hanging his bat out there.
Yep, this angle across is working well. Green doesn’t seem sure how to play.
And then he gets one in at the pads and it’s defended to mid-on. But Green’s head was going towards the off side. He’s trying to cover the angle across, so if Natarajan can get some in-swing, LBW is in play.
First attacking stroke against the new ball and it’s a drive down the ground.
1hhour agoFriFriday15JanJanuary2021 at 7:02amBy Dean Bilton
Another costly drop?
Kristen Beams says another drop, especially such a simple one, could have serious repercussions for India.
I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubnt, maybe it was low and below the knees, but that’s a very easy chance.
That could have a real cost for India going into the new ball. That would have been massive, and hopefully for the Australian batters it says ‘righto, let’s stop and think about what we’re trying to do here’.
1hhour agoFriFriday15JanJanuary2021 at 7:02amBy Jon Healy
81st over – No. They don’t.
Washington Sundar is continuing with this manky old ball.
FOUR! A maiden was imminent, until the last ball of the over. It was a stinky wide one and absolutely clattered to the point boundary on the cut by Tim Paine.
1hhour agoFriFriday15JanJanuary2021 at 6:57amBy Jon Healy
80th over – Shardul to Green, with the new ball six deliveries away
Full toss, edged to second slip. Green really does throw the hands at the ball.
GREEN’S BEEN DROPPED! He chipped is back at Shardul and the bowler got both hands to it, but the hands were too hard and it just popped out. I mean, it’s never easy in your follow-through, but that absolutely should be taken by a Test cricketer.
And then he beats the outside edge! Are they sure they want to take the second new ball?
And then a leave on length that juuuuuust skips over the stumps. No, seriously, are they sure they want to take the new ball?
1hhour agoFriFriday15JanJanuary2021 at 6:55amBy Daniel Colasimone
Here’s Washington again, he’s got through some overs today.
Paine swats the ball into the man at short leg, who was able to get his hands in front of his face to avoid injury.
FOUR! to complete the over, swept fine from Paine.
1hhour agoFriFriday15JanJanuary2021 at 6:49amBy Daniel Colasimone
78th over – Shardul is back after getting that work done on his feet.
And Paine’s driving the first full delivery through the on side, and they run three.
Green at the crease is happy to let them go outside off, or get his big front foot forward to block. His block looks extremely solid in the short time we’ve seen him in Test cricket. A good foundation when you know he can belt the ball around as well.
1hhour agoFriFriday15JanJanuary2021 at 6:43amBy Daniel Colasimone
77th over – Washington will continue.
He’s giving it a bit of air, trying to coax something out of the batsmen.
Shardul is getting looked at by the doctor – that would be a disaster for India, but it looks to just be a toenail or blister issue.
Nice ball from Washington, is mixing up his pace and length, trying to catch out the batsmen.
Won’t be this over though.
1hhour agoFriFriday15JanJanuary2021 at 6:40amBy Daniel Colasimone
Jon is going to be on the ABC News channel if you want to catch him there.
Paine unwinds on a cover drive but Siraj dives brilliantly to cut it off. They just get the one run.
Shardul is still steaming in, pitching them right up. He’s bowling at mid-130s. Still, the batsmen seem to be seeing them quite well.
1hhour agoFriFriday15JanJanuary2021 at 6:37amBy Jon Healy
75th over – Washington again
BANG! Green on the charge and belts him back over his head.
Then he clips through mid-wicket. I thought it’d be for two, but the Aussies couldn’t get back for the second.
Green looks like a caged lion against Washington. He wants to get at him but can’t get out of his box.
I’m going to throw the ball back to Dan for quick spell before the new ball arrives.
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