Australia ended Day 1 of fourth Test slightly ahead of India, thanks to Marnus Labuschagne’s century on Friday at The Gabba.
At the end of the day’s play, Australia reached 274/5, with captain Tim Paine and Cameron Green holding the fort at 38 and 28 respectively.
Labuschagne was the star of the day with his brilliant 108. He smashed nine fours en route to his fifth triple figure score in Test cricket.
Matthew Wade and Steve Smith also made notable contributions of 45 and 36 respectively.
Earlier, electing to bat, the hosts didn’t get off to a good start as both David Warner and Marcus Harris went back to the dressing room with just 17 runs on the scoreboard against a very inexperienced Indian bowling line-up.
Warner was the first wicket to fall as he got caught in the slips in the very first over of the innings bowled by Mohammed Siraj. Rohit Sharma took a good, low catch at second slip to send the left-handed batsman back in the Australian dressing room at his individual score of just 1.
Harris, playing his first match of the series as he replaced injured Will Pucovski, then tried to stitch a partnership with Labuschagne but got out on the first ball bowled by Shardul Thakur in the ninth over. At his individual score of 5, Harris was caught as square leg by Washington Sundar.
Resuming the second session’s play at 65/2, both Steve Smith and Labuschagne made quick runs and scored boundaries at will against an inexperienced Indian bowling attack.
However, just when Australia looked threatening, debutant off-spinner Washington Sundar sent Australia’s premier batsman Smith back to the pavilion at his individual score of 36. Sundar got him caught at short mid-wicket by Rohit Sharma.
India were unlucky to not get their fourth wicket soon after as stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane dropped the catch of Labuschagne at gully off a delivery from Navdeep Saini.
Wade, who came to bat after the fall of Smith’s wicket, started off slowly but once he got set, the left-handed batsman stitched a brilliant partnership with Labuschagne. The pair added 113 runs before Wade became the first Test scalp of T Natarajan in the final session of the day.
Natarajan, playing his first Test, then removed Labuschagne and brought India back into the game.
However, Paine and Green then played cautiously and stitched an unbeaten 61-run partnership to help the hosts end the opening day of the series decider, having the upper hand.
Brief scores: Australia 274/5 at Stumps on Day One (Marnus Labuschagne 108, Matthew Wade 45; T Natarajan 2/63)