First Test: Despite strong start, Aussie campaign fizzles before tea
- Author: Julie Sanders Feb 24, 2017,
Feb 24, 2017, 5:10
Openers David Warner and Renshaw weathered the initial storm while Indian skipper Virat Kohli employed the services of ace spinner Virat Kohli as early as the second over. Australia were now in collapse mode at 166/5.
Fortunately for Renshaw, his decision did not spark a flurry of wickets though Australia lost 7/56 either side of tea to hand the ascendancy back to the home side.
But some lusty hitting from Mitch Starc (57 not out) ensured that Australia reached a competitive 9/257 on a cracked and crumbling wicket that spinning great Shane Warne had likened to "a day eight pitch" before play.
They can draw encouragement from Renshaw's methods.
After tea, Jadeja packed off Mitchell Marsh (4) by trapping the batsman plumb in-front and then Umesh struck again to have Wade leg before that left the visitors at a hard 190 for six as Renshaw held one end up with diligent batting.
However, the left-arm spinner played his last Test at Melbourne during the 2013-14 Ashes, and was not considered for selection for England's recent 0-4 defeat in India.
"That was the most challenging bit, waiting to bat. because as an opener you just go straight out there and bat". Ravichandran Ashwin (2/59) and Ravindra Jadeja (2/74) picked two wickets apiece and kept things quiet.
"I've never seen a pitch like that, so I went with a pretty open mind and tried to do just what I normally do in Australia which is bat as long as possible and weigh the bowlers down". "Yeah we definitely discussed the chance of that happening", he said.
He added 32 more runs and kept one end secured as the visitors searched for a competitive first innings total. The pitch was the major talking point as it was too dry and an odd ball showed signs of misbehavior. Even Smith mentioned in a press conference that they are ready for word battles in the field if the situation needs and they can do anything to win against India. "They are the main threats that's (sic) against us in this series and I thought we handled them pretty well", Renshaw. "He is the number one Test player in the world and there's a reason for that".
"We want the batsmen to be thinking about what the bowlers will be trying to do to them over there and Monty can engage them that way as well as with the bowlers". However, it is not sure how far can the pair pull off in the opening session of Day 2, as Australia are now on 256. "We've talked about how the top-order needs to score runs but especially the tail needs to hang on and get some bonus runs (so to speak)", he added.