Cummins caps fine day for Aussies

Pat Cummins starred for Australia.  (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)
Pat Cummins starred for Australia. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

AUSTRALIA'S bold new era got off with a bang as the home side's bowlers tamed Virat Kohli and Co. in a dominant display on the opening day of the first Test against India at Adelaide Oval.

Entering their first home summer in years without the banned Steve Smith and David Warner, Tim Paine took the captaincy for the first time on home soil and marshalled the troops brilliantly as his pace attack and Nathan Lyon ensured he had an enjoyable day that saw India finish at 9/250.

The Aussies ran riot in the opening session, grabbing four wickets before lunch as Indian supporters suffered through groundhog day. Each of the first four batsmen to fall went the same way - nicking behind while flashing at full balls outside off stump.

KL Rahul went first, caught by Aaron Finch in the slips off a Josh Hazlewood outswinger before his opening partner Murali Vijay was Mitchell Starc's first victim, caught by Paine. But it was the key wicket of Kohli that was most impressive.

The Indian skipper drove loosely to Pat Cummins and his edge flew to gully where Usman Khawaja was waiting. He flew full stretch to his left and snatched the ball one-handed in a spectacular display of athleticism that will feature on the classic catches reel for years to come.

Ajinkya Rahane followed suit as Hazlewood grabbed his second before Rohit Sharma joined Cheteshwar Pujara at the crease. Sharma was the aggressor, hitting Pat Cummins for two sixes in a brutal 37 but threw his wicket away with a wild cross-bat slog off Nathan Lyon that was caught by debutant Marcus Harris at square leg.

At 5/86 India was in dire straits but Pujara stood firm.

Cheteshwar Pujara continues to impress.
Cheteshwar Pujara continues to impress.

As all his teammates thrashed aimlessly, he defended with purpose and left judiciously, refusing to fall in the same manner of the rest of India's impatient batsmen, all the while slowly but surely increasing his personal run tally.

Wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant chipped in with an eventful 25 and Ravichandran Ashwin (25) gave the Aussies a headache by combining with Pujara for a 62-run seventh wicket partnership.

Cummins broke through when Australia needed it most, coaxing an outside edge from Ashwin that was snaffled by Peter Handscomb in the slips and Ishant Sharma didn't last long, bowled by a Starc inswinger when the hosts took the second new ball.

By this stage Pujara had started to up the ante, knowing he needed to race towards his ton or risk running out of partners.

A lucky escape when no Aussies appealed despite Snicko and the stump microphones suggesting he had edged behind to Paine was followed by hook shots for six and four to take him to 99.

A clip through the leg side brought up his brilliant century - his first Down Under - and he continued to attack as stumps approached.

Usman Khawaja took a stunning catch to remove Virat Kohli.
Usman Khawaja took a stunning catch to remove Virat Kohli.

But the adrenaline was hard to tone down and a risky single on the penultimate ball of the day proved his downfall.

Pujara bunted a ball wide of Cummins at mid-on but the speedster was up to the task.

He raced to the ball, picked it up one-handed and threw it at the pegs at the bowler's end as he dived in the same motion.

He only had one stump to aim at but Cummins nailed it and Pujara's brilliant innings was cut short on 123.

What made Cummins' athleticism more impressive was the fact it came after bowling 19 overs on a stinking hot day.

India will begin Day 2 with one wicket in hand and they'll still want to add runs to the board before sending Australia to the crease.

News Corp Australia

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