Sun, Mar 26, 9:24am by Head Editor
Australia’s quest for just their second series win on Indian soil in 48 years started so well, with the visitors charging to 1/131 at lunch on day one – at which point, India’s debutant spinner Kuldeep Yadav had only bowled two overs in Test cricket.
After the long break, it was all India, as the 288th man to represent India in Test cricket produced some of the best wrist spin bowling seen in recent years, producing several superb deliveries that even the best-ever – Shane Warne – would have been proud of.
Ajinkya Rahane, who is in charge due to the absence of Virat Kohli, lost the toss, which gave the tourists first use of a pitch that seems to be playing true. The Aussies total of 300 is at least 100 short of what they would have wanted to post in the first innings.
Australia started the day as a $3.20 outsider and despite being bowled out, that figure has shortened into $3.05. The draw, which would be enough for the visitors to retain the Border Gavaskar Trophy, has drifted from $3.75 to $5.85.
An Indian win has come in from $2.10 to $1.67 on the back of their strong opening day performance. 22-year-old Yadav finished with the best figures of 4/68 from his 23 overs, clearly outperforming his star colleagues.
The world’s best Test batsman – Aussie skipper Steve Smith – made his 20th Test century and in the process, became just the second visiting captain (after ex-England skipper Alastair Cook when India last lost a home series in 2012) to score three Test centuries during a campaign on Indian soil.
India’s openers Kannur Lokesh Rahul and Murali Vijay faced just the single over before stumps, which they safely negotiated. The next man in is Cheteshwar Pujara, who’s fresh off a double ton in the Third Test and is a $2.33 favourite to score at least 50.
Although the Aussies will be disappointed with their efforts on day one, they still have 300 runs on the board, and as we know in cricket, runs on the board is crucial. It’s now over to the bowlers.
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