India will be, if not happy, a bit relieved looking at the scorecard at the end of the first day of the Perth Test. Marcus Harris and Aaron Finch, on a track that has a thick layer of grass, forced the Indian pace quartet to squander. They batted with conviction and went into lunch at 66 for 0.
Harris continued the momentum in the second session and was the first of the pair to score a half-century, his maiden in international cricket. Although Finch survived a few close calls against Jasprit Bumrah, he batted with grit and reached his fifty-run mark soon. Together, they added 112 runs, before Bumrah’s hard work finally paid off: he trapped Finch lbw with an in-swinger.
India left no stones unturned to make further inroads. Despite the ball being close to his body, Usman Khawaja tried to cut it over the slips but ended up edging it to Rishabh Pant, becoming Umesh Yadav’s first victim.
To give his pacers some rest, Virat Kohli introduced Hanuma Vihari into the attack. As often is the case with part-timers, the batsmen relaxed and the culprit here was the well-set Harris.
Kohli kept shuffling his pacers, and that helped India scalp another wicket before tea. To make that happen, the captain himself took a one-handed blinder at second-slip to remove Peter Handscomb. From 112 for 0, Australia were reduced to 148 for 4.
The wickets column would have read 5 had Pant held onto an easy catch. In thick of the things, again, was Vihari. Shaun Marsh survived and went onto to score 45. Along with Travis Head, Marsh added 84 runs, before Vihari avenged the reprieve and had him caught at first-slip.
With the Indians pacers creating lateral movement, Head rather decided to go after them, bringing up his fifty in a mere 70 balls. However, he dug his own grave. He flashed a full and wide delivery straight to third-man.
At the crease are Tim Paine (16*) and Patt Cummins (11*) holding fort.
Australia 277 for 6 (Marcus Harris 70, Travis Head 58, Aaron Finch 50; Ishant Sharma 2 for 35, Hanuma Vihari 2 for 53, Jasprit Bumrah 1 for 41) vs India