Cheteshwar Pujara’s first century in Australia helped India recover on the opening day of the first Test in Adelaide.
On a day where it touched 40 degrees in the middle at the Adelaide Oval, Pujara provided almost half the runs in India’s 250 for nine.
Pujara made 123 from 246 balls before falling to what proved to be the last ball of the day, stranded by a brilliant direct hit from Pat Cummins.
It was a monumental effort from the 30-year-old after India had slumped to 41 for four, with the top-order guilty of some careless batting.
Openers Lokesh Rahul (2) and Murali Vijay (11) fell before India picked up the prize wicket of Virat Kohli.
The India captain had only made three when he chased a full and wide delivery from Cummins and was brillaintly caught by Usman Khawaja in the slip cordon.
Ajinkya Rahane (13) also departed quickly before Pujara rebuilt the innings in tandem with Rohit Sharma (37), Rishabh Pant (25) and Ravichandran Ashwin (25).
But Nathan Lyon’s wily off-spin kept Australia on top and he took the wickets of Sharma and Pant to return figures of two for 83 from 28 overs.
Pacemen Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Cummins also finished the day with two wickets apiece.
Pujara went scoreless for a period of 29 deliveries on 11, but his patience was just what India required as the visitors edged towards respectability.
He was fortunate on 89 when replays suggested he got a nick to wicket-keeper Tim Paine on an attempted cut off Hazlewood, but Australia did not review.
Pujara punished Australia for that error by moving to 99 with successive legside blows off Hazlewood before clipping Starc wide of mid-on to reach three figures.
Cummins’ brilliance finally ended his resistance and gave Australia a definite advantage heading into day two.
Stylish middle-order batsman Darren Bravo was recalled by the West Indies after more than two years away from ODI cricket.
The Windies announced a 15-man squad for their three-match series against Bangladesh with Bravo in the mix while there were a few notable absentees.
Bravo played the last of his 96 ODIs against Pakistan in October 2016. He played the T20 series in India last month.
Carlos Brathwaite and Roston Chase also returned for the ODI series which starts in Dhaka on Sunday.
Fabian Allen, Chandrapaul Hemraj and Oshane Thomas retained their places after the ODI series against India last month.
With Jason Holder injured, young batsman Rovman Powell has been named interim captain as the Caribbean side aim to avenge the 2-1 home series defeat to Bangladesh in July.
“With two more ODI Series before the 2019 World Cup, the Bangladesh series allows us to narrow our search for our final 15-member World Cup squad,” chairman of selectors Courtney Browne said in a statement.
“Darren’s experience will add value to the batting, which in turn will place selection pressure for spots in the squad.”
Meanwhile, ESPNcricinfo reported that hard-hitting batsman Evin Lewis wasn’t available for selection despite featuring in the T10 League. Lewis had mysteriously pulled out of the India tour citing personal reasons.
Squad: Rovman Powell (c), Marlon Samuels, Devendra Bishoo, Roston Chase, Chandrapaul Hemraj, Shimron Hetmyer, Darren Bravo, Shai Hope, Carlos Brathwaite, Keemo Paul, Kieran Powell, Fabian Allen, Kemar Roach, Sunil Ambris, Oshane Thomas
Azhar Ali notched a brilliant hundred to lead Pakistan in their first innings on the third day of the third and final Test in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.
He was finally dismissed for 134 by William Somerville while Ajaz Patel picked up the scalp of Asad Shafiq who scored 104. Pakistan were ultimately bowled out for 348, taking an overall first innings lead of 74 runs. Debutant Somerville picked up four scalps in the innings.
New Zealand lost both their openers before the close of play on day three. Shaheen Afridi sent back Jeet Raval while Yasir Shah got the better of Tom Latham as the Kiwis were reduced to 26-2 when stumps were drawn.
The series is currently tied at 1-1. New Zealand won the first Test by four runs in Abu Dhabi while Pakistan bounced back with an innings and 16-run win in the second Test in Dubai.
Do not miss the action from Abu Dhabi by following our ball-ball coverage below.