The Indian cricket team dominated the first Test of the four-match series against Australia on Thursday, with Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, and Rohit Sharma leading the charge.
The match was held at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Nagpur and saw India secure a commanding position.
Jadeja and Ashwin were the stars with the ball, with Jadeja taking five wickets for 47 runs and Ashwin three for 42 as they bowled Australia out for 177.
This set the stage for Rohit Sharma to lead India’s strong response with the bat.
At stumps on Day 1, India was trailing Australia by 100 runs with a score of 77 for 1.
Although Australia had something to celebrate in the penultimate over of the day’s play when debutant Todd Murphy took the wicket of KL Rahul with a simple return catch, Rohit Sharma put Australia under further pressure with some stunning shots.
Despite Rahul being more cautious in his approach, a lack of concentration cost him his wicket for 20 (71 balls).
Rohit, on the other hand, remained unbeaten on 56 after reaching a fluent fifty and was joined by R Ashwin, who was sent in as a nightwatchman after Rahul’s departure.
Australia had expected the pitch to turn early and had trained hard to deal with spin, but none of their dismissals on the first day suggested any real demons on the surface.
The way in which Rohit and Rahul dealt with the Australian bowling attack further demonstrated the fact that it was a very good first day pitch.
Shubman Gill, who had scored a hundred in his last Test, was dropped for the Nagpur Test and KL Rahul, the vice-captain, came in to replace him.
Australia’s captain, Pat Cummins, won the toss and decided to bat, but he was in for an immediate shock when Usman Khawaja and David Warner fell to Mohammed Siraj and Mohammed Shami inside three overs.
Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith, Australia’s best players, were in the middle much earlier than they would have liked, but they still negotiated the Indian attack expertly.
Despite playing his first match in over five months, Jadeja spun a web around the Australians in the afternoon, taking the wickets of Marnus Labuschagne and Matt Renshaw off successive deliveries.
The ball of the day was when Jadeja outsmarted Steve Smith with minimum turn, deceiving him totally.
This was a big blow as Smith was looking solid during his 37-run innings. India was lucky that Smith’s dropped catch by Virat Kohli didn’t prove costly.
Ashwin also had a successful day, becoming the fastest Indian to reach 450 Test wickets when he dismissed an aggressive Alex Carey.
Soon after, he took the wicket of Pat Cummins and Australia had pinned their hopes on Peter Handscomb to help the team get past 200 with some support from the tail-enders.
However, the Jadeja-Ashwin duo once again made life difficult for Australia, with Jadeja completing his five-wicket haul by dismissing Peter Handscomb and Ashwin pocketing Scott Boland as Australia folded for 177.
Although the pitch had the odd bounce every now and then, keeping the batters on their toes, it was the accuracy of Jadeja and Ashwin that helped India take firm control of the Test.
India 77 for 1 (Rohit 56*) trail Australia 177 (Labuschagne 49, Smith 37, Jadeja 5-47) by 100 runs