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Chennai Test: Australia finish action packed first day’s play at 316/7

Related Links: Australia Tour of India 2012/13 | India Vs Australia – 1st Test Scorecard

R Ashwin | India Vs Australia - 1st Test at ChennaiThe India-Australia Test Series kicked off with an action packed opening day’s play at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chepauk today. The visitors scored 316 runs while the hosts claimed 7 wickets to keep the match in an interesting position. The stars of the opening day’s play are R Ashwin, who claimed six wickets while Australia’s hero of the day was their Skipper Michael Clarke with an unbeaten 23rd Test century.

Australia won the crucial toss which let them bat first on a pitch that looked conducive for spin bowling because of its abrasive nature. The visitors went with three fast bowlers, a lone spinner in Nathan Lyon and debutant all-rounder Moises Henriques. India gave debut to swing bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar while opted to have Murali Vijay as Sehwag’s opening partner ahead of Shikhar Dhawan. Harbhajan Singh was given a 100th Test scalp and making way for him was Pragyan Ojha.

After a flying start from its openers, Australia lost two wickets in the form of Ed Cowan (29) and Phil Hughes (6), both falling to R Ashwin. Cowan was stumped out while trying to launch a big strike to a flighted off break which turned away with plenty of bounce. Hughes was dismissed dragging a forcing square cut onto his stumps. Australia from 72 for 2 went to lunch at 126 for 2 with Warner batting with a half century.

The post lunch session began with a bang with Ashwin trapping Shane Watson lbw in the very first over and in no time, dismissing David Warner (59 from 93 balls with 6x4s) in a similar fashion as Australia slipped to 131 for 4. Matthew Wade departed too after a 35-ball stay, getting lbw to Ashwin after playing well outside the line to a drifter. Australia were reduced to 153 for 5 when debutant Henriques joined Skipper Clarke. A sixth wicket was to fall as well but Umpire Kumar Dharmasena missed out on a bat pad catch from Clarke off Ashwin’s bowling.

The Aussies recovered beautifully with Clarke and Henriques finding it easy against the Indian bowling with the exception of Ashwin. The other bowlers – Ishant, Bhuvneshwar, Harbhajan and Jadeja struggled to make any impression on the Aussie pair. After conceding a massive stand of 151 runs for the 6th wicket, India finally got its breakthrough with Henriques (68 from 132 balls with 5 fours) missing a slog sweep and getting lbw to Ashwin. Ravindra Jadeja with his darts got one to go through the gate of Mitchell Starc to help India finish the opening day’s play on a high.

Australia still have Michael Clarke, who is batting on 103 (from 169 balls with 11x4s and a six) and three decent tail-enders to add to their total of 316. R Ashwin had a great day, taking 6 for 88 in 30 overs on a first day track. His competitor Harbhajan Singh was totally disappointing as he went wicketless for 71 runs in 19 overs.  The Indians bowled as many as 95 overs as most of the day’s play saw spin at both the ends.