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Australia 92/1 at lunch on Day 1

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christ rogers shane wattsonMelbourne:  Australia overcame initial hiccups as Chris Rogers and Shane Watson helped them reach 92 for one at lunch on day one of the third cricket Test against India at the MCG here today.

Rogers and Shane Watson put on 92 runs for the second wicket after Australia elected to bat in the Boxing Day Test as Indian fielding descended into chaos in the morning session.

India got the early wicket of dangerman David Warner for a duck in the second over itself but Watson was dropped on his individual score of 37 by Shikhar Dhawan off Mohammed Shami four overs before the lunch break.

Rogers was batting on 46 (101 balls, 5 fours) at the break, with Watson unbeaten on 41 runs (61 balls, 3 fours).

For India, Umesh Yadav (1/30) was the lone wicket-taker, seemingly a long while ago. Ishant Sharma (0-23), Mohammad Shami (0-30) and R Ashwin (0-4) were the other bowlers tried.

Shami looked listless in the short spells he bowled.

This was after Australian skipper Steven Smith won the toss and elected to bat first. The hosts had made two changes to their eleven from the second Test. Ryan Harris came in for Mitchell Starc while Joe Burns made his debut in place of the injured Mitchell Marsh.

India too made two changes, bringing in Shami for Varun Aaron. Rohit Sharma was dropped to make way for debutant Lokesh Rahul, who will be batting at number six.

Rogers opened the innings with Warner. Ishant and Yadav bowled superbly in their initial spells, troubling the batsmen with their movement and creating pressure from both ends.

It resulted in Warner’s wicket, in the second over itself, out for a duck caught off Yadav in the slips by Shikhar Dhawan. Watson arrived at the crease and he too was put under pressure by the two bowlers.

Even as India looked on top, using the little cloud cover to their advantage, the pressure began to ease off as Rogers-Watson combination began to settle down. They started playing their shots and were helped by a poor effort in the field by the visitors.

Runs started coming off quickly, nearly four per over in the first 10, and the 50-mark came up in 14th over.

After the medium pacers had lost their bearings, R Ashwin was brought into the attack and he got some control giving away only four runs in five overs he bowled. But there were too many moments of botched-up fielding efforts as India let go of their chance to go into the break in a better position.

The worst moment for India during the first morning came when Watson was given a life in the 25th over. Shami was the unlucky bowler and he had created enough pressure to induce an edge when Dhawan jumped in front of first slip and let go off a simple chance, much to the visitors’ anguish. The batsman was on 37 at that time. The duo avoided any such moments until the break thereafter.

Australia had won the first Test in Adelaide by 48 runs and then the second Test in Brisbane by four wickets to take a 2-0 lead in the four-match series.

PTI

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