Millennium Post

Top 4 hammer India

Top 4 hammer India
A 200-run opening wicket partnership between David Warner and Chris Rogers helped Australia post a solid 348/2 at the end of the first day’s play of the fourth and final Test against India at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on Tuesday.

It was a day to remember for the Australian batsmen as Warner (101) scored his 12th Test hundred while his partner Rogers (95) fell five short of what would have been his fifth century. Skipper Steven Smith (82 not out) and Shane Watson (61 batting) also scored half-centuries with the both of them unbeaten at stumps.

Indian bowlers were clueless on halting the run flow and taking wickets on what proved to be a classic batting track. Pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar hardly managed to find his rhythm and swing the ball while Umesh Yadav remained wayward and expensive for most of his spells. Mohammed Shami had pace and Ravichandran Ashwin looked dangerous a few times in the day but the Australian batsmen were totally in their groove.

Having already lost the series 0-2, India went in to the final Test making four changes to the squad. Wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma and Bhuvneshwar came in to replace the retired Mahendra Singh Dhoni, opener Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara and pacer Ishant Sharma. However, the changes bore no fruit as all three sessions were dominated by the home side.

Warner looked in a feisty mood from the word go and hammered the Indian bowlers for 16 boundaries all over the ground. Rogers played the anchor role to prefection and provided strong support from the other end.

Rogers caressed 13 boundaries to score his fifth consecutive half-century in Tests. However, he was in trouble as early as the eighth over, while batting on 19, when he edged a seaming Shami delivery. However, young Lokesh Rahul at second slip dropped a sitter and Rogers went on to add 76 more runs to the Australian tally.

India finally found success in the middle of the second session when Warner edged a turning Ashwin delivery and was caught at slip. Immediately in the next over, Rogers lost concentration and played on Shami only to shatter his stumps.  However, the two quick wickets did not help India further as Smith and Watson held the innings together and guided Australia to build a platform for a strong total. Unless Indian bowlers create some magic at the start of Day 2, the home side is well on course to post a massive first innings total.

India had one last chance to take a wicket when Watson edged the penultimate delivery of the day but the ball went through Ashwin’s fingers at the slips.

Australia (first innings):

Chris Rogers b Mohammed Shami 95, David Warner c Vijay b Ashwin 101, Shane Watson batting 61, Steven Smith batting 82; Extras (lb 3, w 6) 9; Total (for two wickets in 90 overs) 348; Fall of wickets 1-200 (Warner, 44.5 overs), 2-204 (Rogers, 45.5); Bowling Bhuvneshwar Kumar 20-2-67-0, Umesh Yadav 16-1-97-0, Mohammed Shami 16-2-58-1, Ravichandran Ashwin 28-5-88-1, Suresh Raina 10-2-35-0

Stat-attack day 1

* Chris Rogers’ superb 95 is his highest score against India in Tests
* The aforesaid innings is his second highest at Sydney behind the 119 vs England in January 2014
* Rogers has become the fourth Australian opener to record 5 successive innings of fifty-plus, joining Mark Taylor, Phil Jaques and Warner
* Steven Smith has performed exceptionally well as captain in Tests, his tally being 449 (ave 112.25) in five innings, including 2 tons and one 50
* Smith’s aforesaid tally is the third highest by an Australian in a Test series against India, next only to Don Bradman,  715 (ave 178.75) in the 1947-48 rubber and Ricky Ponting 706 (ave 100.85) in 2003-04
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