After a white-ball series, which was heavily dominated by batsmen, Indian top-order got a taste of what it is like to face the premium Australian pace bowling with the pink ball at the Adelaide oval as the opening day’s first session saw the visitors managing 41/2 in 25 overs.
The session saw an early departure of young Prithvi Shaw, who succumbed to an early stroke-making against the might of speedster Mitchell Starc. The left-handed pacer punished the 21-year-old right hander for playing away from his body as early as second ball of the match with a 144.9kmph inswinger rattling the stumps.
Make no mistake, the likes of Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins kept on injecting those lethal doses of fast swinging deliveries on the off stump but Pujara (17 off 88) showed how wearing down batsman with defensive strategy of leaving anything on the off stump.
It was surely a lesson for someone like Shaw, who had himself to blame for by putting no price on his wicket.
Mayank (17 off 40) too followed Pujara’s footprint with success in a 107-ball 32 stand but was outdone by Pat Cummins at the beginning of the 19th over. The in-form 29-year-old right-hander was left stunned by an unplayable inswinger, which deviated enough to find the little space between Mayank’s bat and pad to take the middle stump to dent what seemed to be a successful first session for the Indians.
This had no bearing on Pujara, who continued with his defensive art to wear down Australian bowlers with an equally cautious Virat Kohli (5 off 22) at the other end.