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
Ground.

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.

PA

Sport
sportWWE latest including Sting vs Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing