Australia dominated the first day of the third Test against India, thanks to the spin bowling of Matthew Kuhnemann, who picked up his first five-wicket haul in Test cricket.
India won the toss and chose to bat, but they struggled on a turning wicket in Indore, collapsing to a total of just 109 all out.
Regular captain Pat Cummins was absent, so Steve Smith was leading the Australian team.
The pitch was expected to offer plenty of turn, but the ball turned square in the first hour of play, which was a surprise.
India’s aggressive approach on a track offering vicious turn backfired as they capitulated in just 33.2 overs after opting to bat.
Virat Kohli was the highest scorer for India with 22 off 52 balls, while opener Shubhman Gill, who replaced struggling KL Rahul, contributed 21.
Kuhnemann, who was playing in only his second Test, ended with career-best figures in first-class cricket.
Cheteshwar Pujara was dismissed after facing only four balls, as Nathan Lyon got one to turn massively from wide off-stump that crashed into the middle stump.
Kuhnemann got his third wicket of the morning when Shreyas Iyer played an attempted cut onto his stumps.
Within the first hour of play, India had lost half their side.
Kohli and K S Bharat shared a 26-run partnership for the sixth wicket and looked confident in the middle, but both departed towards the end of the session.
Kohli was adjudged leg before off Todd Murphy while trying to flick one that pitched on the off-stump and turned to hit the middle.
Bharat was out lbw to Lyon while offering a long defensive stride.Thanks to Umesh Yadav’s 17 off 13 balls, India managed to get past the 100-run mark.
Kuhnemann completed his memorable five-wicket haul by trapping Umesh in front of the stumps.
Mohammad Siraj’s run-out following a mix-up with Axar Patel brought an end to the innings.
In response, Australia finished the day at 156/4 with a lead of 47 runs.
Usman Khawaja and Marnus Labuschagne batted well on a rank turner to take Australia to a strong position. Khawaja ultimately fell to a well-made 60 that could turn out to be a match-winning innings.
Travis Head was dismissed for nine by Ravindra Jadeja, who picked up four wickets for 40 runs.
Unlike the last game, Australia were able to apply themselves in testing conditions.
Both Khawaja and Labuschagne trusted their defence to counter the spinners. Ashwin bowled a tad too full in his nine-over spell.
It was a sign of desperation that India exhausted two of their three reviews in the first 10 overs.
Labuschagne got a second life when India did not review a leg before wicket call off Ashwin.
Peter Handscomb (7*) and Cameroon Green (6*) were standing unbeaten at the crease at the end of the day.
The pitch had been expected to offer plenty of turn, and it did not disappoint.
Kuhnemann was the standout performer, and his maiden five-wicket haul was crucial in skittling India out for such a low total.
With a lead of 47 runs going into day two, Australia will be looking to push on and extend their advantage, while India will be hoping to make early inroads into the Australian batting lineup.
Usman Khawaja summed up the day’s play with his comments, “Played to my plans, tried to score when there was an opportunity and kept out the good balls. Not rocket science, honestly. Not an easy wicket out there.”
India (Playing XI):
Rohit Sharma(c), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Ravindra Jadeja, Srikar Bharat(w), Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj
Australia (Playing XI):
Usman Khawaja, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Steven Smith(c), Peter Handscomb, Cameron Green, Alex Carey(w), Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Todd Murphy, Matthew Kuhnemann