Adelaide: Prithvi Shaw’s poor technique was once again exposed but the experienced Cheteshwar Pujara’s perseverance kept India afloat at 41 for 2 in the opening session of the first day/night Test against Australia here on Thursday.
Pujara (17 batting, 88 balls) safely negotiated the testing first session after Shaw (0 in 2 balls) was bowled off the game’s second ball by Mitchell Starc.
His opening partner Mayank Agarwal (17 off 40 balls) did the hard work in the first hour but then got an in-dipper from Pat Cummins that cut back sharply to breach through his defences.
Giving Pujara company was skipper Virat Kohli (5 batting, 22 balls) when dinner break was taken at the completion of 25 overs.
The Australian pace troika of Starc (1/17 in 8 overs), Josh Hazlewood (0/16 in 9 overs) and Cummins (1/3 in 6 overs) bowled a very steady line comprising mostly of fuller deliveries but to the credit of the unbeaten Indian duo, they didn’t look very jittery.
At the start, it was another disappointing mode of dismissal for Shaw, who according to many, was rather surprising selection over an in-form Shubman Gill.
Starc kept a full delivery, which slightly shaped in, and the opener, having faced one delivery, went for an expansive drive, playing away from his body only to drag it back onto the stumps.
Pujara seemed like starting from where he had left during the tour of 2018 as he defended and only jabbed the drivable balls in his area.
Agarwal was a little bit adventurous as he found India’s first boundary with a cover drive off Hazlewood. An uppish square drive off Starc got him a second one.
But Cummins produced one that was fast and moved off the track and Agarwal was beaten for pace as replays showed that he couldn’t even complete landing on his front-foot.
When the ball clipped the off-bail, Agarwal had just landed his left heel.
Such was the pressure created by the Australian pace attack that Pujara played an astounding 34 consecutive dot balls being stuck on 14. (PTI)
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