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Aussies on top early at Adelaide Oval

Cricket

A sensational one-handed catch from Usman Khawaja has helped Pat Cummins remove Virat Kohli for three, extending a bright start to the first Test from Australia.

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Khawaja, stationed at gully and playing two days after his brother was arrested, flung himself to the left and reeled in the ball to reduce India to 3-19 early in the four-Test series opener.

Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc both picked up a wicket in their opening spells, removing KL Rahul and Murali Vijay respectively, before Hazlewood also knocked over Ajinkya Rahane cheaply.

The new-look Australian team had plenty to celebrate at Adelaide Oval today, with Marcus Harris was almost moved to tears before play, having achieved his childhood dream by receiving a baggy green from former Test batsman Mike Hussey.

Justin Langer enlisted the help of fellow West Australian Hussey, who played 79 Tests, to usher Harris into international cricket today.

There were no shortage of legends and former captains on deck, with the Seven Network and Fox Cricket both boasting star-studded commentary teams.

But Hussey was a sentimental choice when it came to the ritual welcome for the nation’s 456th male Test cricketer.

Harris sealed his Test call-up with an unbeaten 250 for Victoria at the MCG in October but the opener started his first-class career with Western Australia.

“He actually presented me my WA hat as well, (it’s) pretty special,” Harris told Fox Cricket.

“It’s a bit surreal. It was great to have the family out here, I looked at them and I nearly started crying.

“Very special … very fortunate.”

Hussey gave a brief speech to Australia’s huddle before players started warming up for day one of Australia’s first Test against India.

Hussey told Fox it was a nerve-racking moment.

“All I said was he’s done very well for Victoria. He doesn’t need to do anything different, he just needs to keep playing his way and that’s going to give him success at this level,” he said.

Kohli’s decision to bat meant Harris officially started his career at bat-pad, the customary fielding position for the most inexperienced player in the XI, rather than opening the batting alongside state teammate Aaron Finch.

Early wickets from Hazlewood, Starc and Cummins would have helped ease the debutant’s nerves somewhat.

Before play, Hussey urged selectors to give Harris and the entire new-look XI a chance to prove they belong this summer.

“You just need to be patient with good players,” Hussey said.

“If you’ve identified somebody as one of the best players in the country then just stick with them for a while, unless there’s someone in the level below just hammering the door down and making a case too strong to ignore.

“You’re going to get low scores, that’s just part and parcel of the game.”

– with AAP

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