A wayward, ill disciplined bowling effort from India’s quicks and poor catching on the opening day of the SCG Test could cost the visitors any chance of victory in the final long-form contest of the summer against Australia.
Almost right from the get-go in the fourth Test on Tuesday, India’s bowlers were wide of the mark and Australia took full advantage, racing to 0-123 at lunch, before moving to 2-242 at tea and ending the day at 2-348.
Umesh Yadav was the worst of the Indian bowlers, going for 0-97 off his 16 overs at more than six an over, as Australia consistently scored at more than four an over before slowing late in the day.
India’s bowling wasn’t helped by a lamentable catching effort in the field.
Chris Rogers (95) was dropped by Lokesh Rahul at second slip off the bowling of Mohammed Shami when he was 19 and the score was 0-46.
Rogers and David Warner (101) went on to record their first ever double century partnership.
Then in the last over of the day, Ravichandran Ashwin grassed Shane Watson (61no) at second slip. Steve Smith is the other not out batsman on 82.
Prior to that, Ashwin had been the pick of India’s bowlers picking up 1-88 off 28 overs including the prize scalp of Warner.
While India’s bowling was lacklustre, credit must go to the Australia batting which was aggressive and positive from the outset as they chase a 3-0 win in the best-of-four series.
India have struggled for a settled attack throughout the series and have never looked like taking 20 wickets.
Those woes continued under new skipper Virat Kohli at the SCG.
After tea, Kohli even opted to use his bowlers in one over bursts but it made little impact.
“I don’t have a reason for what Virat is doing here,” said injured Australian captain Michael Clarke from the Channel Nine commentary box when asked about the tactic.
To which former Australia skipper Ian Chappell replied: “I wonder what the bowlers are thinking because you really do need to get into a rhythm.”
Right-armer Ishant Sharma had disappointed through the first three Tests and Bhuvneshwar Kumar was preferred for Sydney but it made little difference as he too struggled to make inroads into the Australian batting line-up, going for just less than four an over.
India’s new bowling coach Bharat Arun faced the end-of-day press conference and was forced to defend his charges.
“It has been a mixed bag, we have to be a lot more disciplined than what we are,” he said.
SCOREBOARD – STUMPS DAY ONE
Australia 1st Innings Mins Balls 4s 6s
C ROGERS b Shami 95 188 160 13 0
D WARNER c Vijay b Ashwin 101 180 114 16 0
S WATSON not out 61 173 132 6 0
S SMITH not out 82 166 134 10 0
Sundries (3lb 6w) 9
Two wickets for 348
Fall: 200 (Warner), 204 (Rogers).
Bowling: B Kumar 20-2-67-0, U Yadav 16-1-97-0 (2w/6), M Shami 16-2-58-1, R Ashwin 28-5-88-1, S Raina 10-2-35-0.
Batting time: 356 mins. Overs: 90.
Umpires: Kumar Dharmasena (SRL), Richard Kettleborough (ENG).
Match Referee: Roshan Mahanama (SRI).
Third Umpire: Simon Fry (AUS).
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