As many as 13 wickets fell on Day 1 of the third Test between India and Australia at the Holkar Stadium in Indore. Unlike what has been the case in the two previous Test matches of the series, it was hosts India who were found all at sea with the bat in the spinning conditions while Australia fared much better to end the day with a lead of 47 runs.
India were all out for 109 runs in just 33.2 overs with Virat Kohli’s 22 off 52 balls being the highest score by a home batter in the innings. Matthew Kuhnemann, who made his Test debut in the second match, took five wickets while veteran Nathan Lyon took three. Spinner Todd Murphy also got one while a run out accounted for India’s last wicket.
The pitch has come under sharp criticism from a number of quarters with former Australia batter Matthew Hayden launching an attack during commentary. Former India batter Dilip Vengsarkar has also stated that pitches for Test cricket shouldn’t be too lopsided in favour of the bowlers.
“The pitch makes all the difference if you want to watch good cricket. You must have wickets with even bounce so that both batters and bowlers get equal opportunity. If the ball turns from day one and first session itself and that too with uneven bounce, it makes a mockery of Test cricket,” Vengsarkar told PTI.
“It is important to get crowds back for Test cricket. You see that in England and Australia but unfortunately it is not happening in India. People will come back to Test cricket only if it is interesting. Nobody wants to see bowlers dominating the batters from first session itself,” added the former India captain, who had scored 6868 runs at an average of 42.13 in 116 Tests in a prolific 16-year international career.
While it looked Australia might fold in a similar fashion when Ravindra Jadeja dismissed opener Travis Head early, Marnus Labuschagne and Usman Khawaja shored things up to get them within one run of India’s total. The pair put up a partnership of 96 runs for the second wicket before Labuschagne fell to Jadeja for 31 off 91 balls. Khawaja fell next having scored a masterful 60 off 147 balls after which Steve Smith, captaining the side in the absence of Pat Cummins, looked good for his 26 off 38 balls but was dismissed by Jadeja as well. Australia ended the day on 156/4.