The opening day of the second Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy saw the Australia batters put up their best show on the tour, getting to a total of 263 runs in 78.4 overs.
Usman Khawaja (81) and Peter Handscomb (72*) starred for the tourists, meanwhile Mohammad Shami led India’s bowling effort with his 4/60, getting good support from Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.
At the end of the day’s play, India were 21 for no loss with openers Rohit Sharma (13*) and KL Rahul (4*) at the crease.
Khawaja, Handscomb find success
Overcoming his Nagpur failure, Khawaja played a solid knock at the top. He employed sweep and reverse sweep as effective attacking options during his stay at the wicket. His knock of 81 saw 12 fours and a solitary six.
Handscomb preferred to stick to the backfoot and worked the ball around using his crease. Coming in at number six, he struck significant partnerships with Khawaja (59 runs) and skipper Pat Cummins (60 runs).
Handscomb crossed 1000 runs in Test cricket during his stay in Delhi.
India spinners revel in landmarks
Ravichandran Ashwin pulled out his bag of tricks on a helpful Delhi surface. Creating tough angles for the batters from both over and around the wicket, Ashwin managed to take 3/57 in 21 overs.
In the 23rd over of the Australia innings, he accounted for Australia middle-order stars Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith in a space of three balls.
With his three wickets in the first innings, Ashwin has become the second Indian bowler to take 100 wickets against Australia. Only the great Anil Kumble, with 111 wickets at an average of 30.32, sits ahead of Ashwin.
Ashwin’s partner-in-crime, Ravindra Jadeja became the fastest Indian player, and second-fastest in the world, to achieve the feat of scoring 2500 runs and picking 250 wickets in Tests.
Khawaja became Jadeja’s 250th victim when his reverse sweep was intercepted by a magnificent one-handed aerial effort from KL Rahul.
The left-arm spinner finished with 3/68.
A day for the bowlers
Australia picked three spinners including debutant Matthew Kuhnemann in their playing XI.
After overcoming a testing new ball spell, the Australia openers put up an improved show, adding 50 runs for the first wicket. Just when David Warner was opening his arms, Mohammad Shami produced an absolute corker, getting the opener caught behind.
Enterprising stroke play was Australia’s ally during the day. They looked at their best when looking to score runs.
However, whenever Australia seemed to be getting slightly ahead in the game, India's bowlers struck back. Their overall brilliant display ensures that the hosts enter the second day at an advantage
Occasional low bounce, which might become a peril for batters in the coming days, troubled the keepers and helped both teams gain some extra runs.