Will Pucovski’s half-century test debut helped launch Australian strikes, helping hosts 166-2 in logs on its first day against India in the SCG.
Pucovski hit a neat 62-inch The long-awaited test dock, Kicks off his luck before becoming Navdeep Saini’s first Test Gate when lbw gets trapped.
On Australia’s best summer day with bats so far, Marnos Labochagen scored 67 unbeaten while Steve Smith showed signs of coming back to life with no exit 31.
With the Series tied 1-1 and India managed to retain the Border-Gavaskar Cup by winning the penultimate Test, the fight against Australia came at a critical time.
* Concussion expert warns Australian Will Bukowski, but says “it’s up to him”
* Australia vs India: Will Bukowski will face intense scrutiny by the Aussie dollar ahead of a possible test debut
* Irregular batsman Joe Burns was fired from the Australian Test Cricket Squad
* Sydney Cricket Stadium is hosting a test as cricket Australia is considered Sydney to be safe
* India bounced back to win the Boxing Day Test by eight wickets
Bukowski started it.
For 110 balls on a wet and frustrating Sydney day in which he lost 35 hits, the Victorian gave Australia a glimpse into why he saw him as a future superstar.
He gently drove the ball to the ground and deftly worked the ball through his leg.
The 22-year-old also played Ravichandran Ashwin with relative ease, hitting him offside.
Crucially, he met in ward up to 100 times with Labuschagne, ushering in First Century Australia’s partnership in the summer of Test.
However, it was not without change.
It was shot down twice and had to run out once, as its rehab spilled it behind its stumps on the 26’s and 32’s.
The second came when he wore the glove of Muhammad Siraj’s goalkeeper, as India had clearly made a point to affirm him with his history full of nine tremors.
It came after Australia pulled Bukowski and David Warner together at the top of the ranking, and dropped Travis Head.
However, Warner’s comeback from a thigh injury was short-lived, beating Serag to bypass five points when he was driving hard in one outside the torso.
Siraj was the India bowler’s pick with 1-46, while Gaspreet Bumrah blunted the openers 0-30 out of 14 times.
However, perhaps Australia’s biggest concern may be Warner’s groin problem, as he still appears uncomfortable despite his five-week layoff.
Although the hosts were satisfied it was a return to the form of Smith and Labuschagne.
Fearful that Indian bowlers would be allowed to dominate him in his first two tests, Smith intentionally walked out and hit four balls on the ground and one behind the square in his first 13 balls.
His 60’s unbeaten stance with Laboshan Australia also gave Australia a clear advantage of late.
Meanwhile, Labuschagne was measured for all his 210 minutes at a curl while still benefiting as India strayed further.