Skipper Michael Clarke’s 103 not-out saved Australia from embarrassment in the first Test at Chennai.
Australia finished on 316-7 at stumps on the first day against India at Chennai. However the scoreline could have been a lot worse for the Australians as the Indians’ tactic of a spin attack seemed to be working.
Bowler Harbhajan Singh was presented with a shield at the first interval to congratulate him on playing in his 100th Test for India. Yet it was 26-year-old spinner Ravichandran Ashwin who caused the Australians problems, finishing the day with figures of 6-88.
It was a reasonably solid start for Australia, with openers Ed Cowan and David Warner batting their way to 64 for no loss. Then some sharp ‘keeper work from under pressure India captain MS Dhoni, heralded India’s first success of the day.
Cowan rushed out of his crease to attack Ashwin’s ball and when the spin evaded him, Dhoni’s sharp reactions dismissed the batsman by removing the bails.
Warner did make it to a half century, eventually out for 59, but none of Phillip Hughes, Shane Watson or Matthew Wade managed to make an impression with the bat, as Australia were reduced to 153-5 at one point.
Then captain Michael Clarke, who spoke yesterday of the Aussie batsmen needing to take responsibility, took his own advice and took the game to the Indians. Along with Test debutant Moises Henriques, Australia made a sixth wicket stand of 151 runs.
All-rounder Henriques was finally dismissed for 68, but his contribution had helped Australia bat away from an embarrassing total.
Bowler Mitchell Starc was dismissed for three just before the close of play, but the headlines would all be about Michael Clarke. The Australian captain hit his century runs off the final ball of the day and the batsman will resume play tomorrow, with Peter Siddle, on 103.