BGT 2023, IND v AUS, 1st Test, Day 1: Ashwin-Jadeja back in business with combined figures of 8-89
Border Gavaskar Trophy 2022-2023, India vs Australia, 1st Test, Day 1: Ravichandran Ashwin-Ravindra Jadeja back in business with combined figures of 8-89.
Brief Scores: India 77/1 (Rohit 56*, Murphy 1/13) trail Australia 177 (Labuschagne 49, Smith 37, Jadeja 5/47, Ashwin 3/42) by 100 runs at Stumps on Day 1
Almost two years after their famous victory at the Gabba in 2021, hosts India who are currently placed at number two in ICC Men’s Test team rankings locked horns against top-ranked Australia for the first of the four-match Test series in Border Gavaskar Trophy (BGT) 2022-23 at the Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) Stadium in Nagpur on Thursday.
In six Tests at this venue, India are yet undefeated. The mouth-watering contest this time around is going to be vital due to the points that would help them to earn a ticket for the World Test Championship (WTC) 2021-23 Final.
Quintessential Ravindra Jadeja makes comeback with 11th fifer
Ravindra Jadeja makes a comeback in the India side after an injury layoff. He went for a surgery in September after sustaining an injury in Asia Cup 2022, and was ruled out of India’s squad for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 too.
Jadeja played a Ranji game for Saurashtra to prove his match-fitness as he returned figures of 7/53 in the second innings against Tamil Nadu in Chennai. He began this Test match against Australia in his old fashion by bowling straight and tight onto the stumps. The prize wickets of Steven Smith and Marnus Labuschagne changed the nature of the game as with his 11th five wicket haul, Jadeja folded Australia for just 177. This is a very strong reason why he is such a vital member for India across formats.
Australia opt to bat; Bharat & SKY make Test debuts
On winning the toss, Australia opted to bat first on a track that was the talk of the town for the last couple of days. The soil on the 22-yards looked pretty rough as the cracks were visible from the very first day. The rough area for the left-hander against the left-arm spinner was going to be a nightmare for the top four left-handers in the Australia side.
India handed debut caps to wicketkeeper batter Kona Srikar Bharat and in-form Suryakumar Yadav as Shubman Gill was left out from the playing eleven, whereas Australia dropped a bombshell by leaving out Travis Head, their best batter in the recent summer with 525 runs in five games, besides gifting a debut cap to 22-year-old off-spinner Todd Murphy.
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Jadeja-Ashwin blew away Australia for 177
Deciding to bat first, Australia began poorly losing both the openers with 2 runs on the scoreboard before Steven Smith and Marnus Labuschagne with an 82-run partnership for the third wicket rescued them for a while. But Ravindra Jadeja brought India back in the game with three wickets in the blink of an eye. Alex Carey played a tiny aggressive knock but Ravichandran Ashwin sent him back too.
The only thing more India could aim was an unbroken opening partnership in the last session and Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul delivered that exactly. The former played some aggressive shots to record his 15th Test fifty before Todd Murphy sent back KL Rahul on 20 as India ended the first day on 77/1, trailing by 100 runs.
Let’s take a look at how the three sessions panned out on the first day of the first Test in Nagpur.
Smith-Labuschagne steadied Australia with unbeaten 74-run stand after early blows; Australia reached 76/2 at Lunch
Deciding to bat first, Australia didn’t have a great start as they lost their in-form opener, Usman Khawaja on 1 on the seventh ball of the game thanks to Mohammed Siraj who trapped the left-hander before the stumps. The very next over saw Mohammed Shami breaking the stumps of David Warner on 1 as the tourists found themselves on 2-2 in the third over when Steven Smith and Marnus Labuschagne joined hands in the middle.
Both looked to score runs against the bad balls besides giving full respect to the good balls from the India spinners. Smith used his wrist well against Ravindra Jadeja while Labuschagne too played some fabulous shots: the late-cut against Axar Patel to the backward point was the standout hit of all. India introduced Ravichandran Ashwin late in the session but both the visiting batters played him well as their unbeaten 74-run stand helped Australia advance to 76/2 at the lunch break.
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Jadeja-Ashwin brought India back against aggressive Australia; visitors 174/8 at Tea
The second session began in the same fashion as the first when Ravindra Jadeja recorded a huge wicket of Marnus Labuschagne (49) as the former drew him forward with a beautiful delivery. The very next ball saw Jadeja trapping Matthew Renshaw before the stumps on a golden duck.
Smith looked to show some intent but he too was dismissed by Jadeja with an arm ball on 37; it was the fifth time Jadeja had the better of Smith in Tests besides conceding 190 runs in 564 balls in the faceoff. Alex Carey played some aggressive shots using both reverse and paddle sweeps but was finally dismissed on 36 off 33 as Ravichandran Ashwin earned his 450th Test wicket. That 53-run partnership for the sixth wicket between Carey and Peter Handscomb did give Australia little hope but India fought back with two more wickets - in the form of Pat Cummins and debutant Todd Murphy.
The visitors were 174-8 at the tea break as India found their nose ahead in the game.
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Rohit’s unbeaten 56 takes India to 77/1
Peter Handscomb looked to score some quick runs after the break but Jadeja with a rapid delivery sent him back LBW as the latter deposited his 11th five wicket haul in Tests to now have 247 Test wickets in 61 games at an average of 24.40. Finally, Ashwin who now has 452 Test wickets in 89 games, picked his third wicket as Australia were bundled out for just 177 from a comfortable position of 84/2.
Both India openers KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma provided India a steady start with the latter taking on the bowlers. Rohit slashed three beautiful boundaries in the first over of Pat Cummins before taking on Nathan Lyon using his feet. KL Rahul too, on the other end, looked to play solidly as Rohit Sharma notched up his 15th Test half-century. Debutant Todd Murphy finally broke the 76-run stand sending back Rahul on 20 as India finished on 77/1 at the end of first day, trailing by 100 runs.
What to expect on Day 2
India will look to bat long on this track and possibly once, especially with the way the India spinners dominated the first day. First of all, the hosts will look to erase the deficit before aiming at a huge total while Australia will try to get a couple of early wickets to put pressure on the hosts.
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Statistical Highlights from India vs Australia, 1st Test, Day 1
Ravichandran Ashwin becomes the second India Test bowler to take 450-wickets after Anil Kumble. By doing it in his 89th game, he is now the second-fastest to achieve the feat after Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan who did it in 80 Tests.
Ravindra Jadeja picked up his 11th Test five wicket haul in 61 games. He now has 68 wickets in 23 Tests against Australia.
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