Test evenly poised after controversial first day

Australia 277-6 v India

Australia finished on 277 for six at the end of a controversial first
day of the Boxing Day Test against India at the Melbourne Cricket

India had refused to condone the use of the decision review system (DRS) in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy Series and that appeared to have implications today with the dismissals of Michael Hussey (nought) and debutant Ed Cowan (68) both questionable.

The visitors' refusal could also have repercussions for Hussey who is battling to save his Test career and must now try to ease the pressure with an impressive second innings.

The two dismissals took place in a devastating 19-ball period which saw the hosts lose three wickets for nine runs after they were cruising at 205 for three.

Veteran paceman Zaheer Khan (two for 49) found himself on a hat-trick when he first bowled Michael Clarke for 31 and, with the next ball, umpire Marais Erasmus adjudged Hussey to have been caught behind by MS Dhoni for a golden duck.

But TV replays suggested the ball missed the bat and glove by some distance.

And 16 balls later, off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin (one for 71) took the crucial wicket of Cowan when he was also caught behind by Dhoni although the DRS most likely would have given Cowan a reprieve with 'Hot Spot' appearing to show there was no nick.

It was an unfortunate end for the rock-solid Cowan who hit the best score by an Australian opener on his debut since Wayne Phillips (159) in 1983-84 against Pakistan.

However, Brad Haddin (21 not out) and Peter Siddle (34 not out) steadied things again for Australia with a very handy unbeaten 63-run seventh-wicket union.

Australia had found themselves in a strong position thanks to a superb 113-run third-wicket partnership between Cowan and the under-fire Ricky Ponting (62).

Ponting recovered well from a jittery start and became more comfortable as his innings wore on.

This was highlighted by three trademark pull shots for four off Khan and Umesh Yadav (three for 96) who unsuccessfully attempted to test out Ponting with some poor short deliveries.

Ponting, who ended up with six boundaries, joined Cowan in the middle with the score on 46 for two and the pair ramped things up after lunch as they smacked 48 from 49 balls, with Yadav copping the full brunt of the punishment.

After starring in the morning by claiming the scalps of David Warner (37) and Shaun Marsh (zero) in the space of seven balls, 24-year-old Yadav was brought back into the attack and quickly turned from hero to villain.

Yadav conceded 34 runs from just four overs after lunch, including five boundaries, and the scoring spree was what Australia needed after they could only manage to reach 68 for two at lunch.

But just as Ponting looked like he was possibly building towards his 40th Test ton, Yadav made up for his poor economy rate by having the former Australian skipper caught by VVS Laxman at second slip.

Cowan was a picture of caution in the first session of his Test career, moving along to just 14 off 61 balls at lunch.

But when he went on the attack, he did so with authority.

The Tasmanian opener began to take care of the bad ball, of which there were plenty at that stage of the match, and doubled his score from 14 to 28 within 10 deliveries after lunch ending up with seven fours.

Although Yadav was India's leading wicket-taker he was also by far their most expensive bowler, pitching it too short on too many occasions with the end result often being a trip to the boundary rope.


Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power