Australia batsmen punish India


Published: Tuesday 6th January 2015 by The News Editor

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Australia took control of the fourth Test against India on an emotional first day at the SCG.

The final Test of this series was always going to be an emotional affair after Phillip Hughes lost his life after being hit in the neck by a bouncer while playing for South Australia at the Sydney venue in November.

And while tributes to Hughes were paid all around the ground, his countrymen managed to keep their focus on the pitch as a century from David Warner helped guide Australia to 348 for two at the close.

A bronze plaque in honour of Hughes had been installed outside the dressing rooms before the start of the contest and Warner made a point of placing his hand on it as he walked out to bat with fellow opener Chris Rogers.

Then, amid more emotional scenes, Warner kissed the ground upon reaching 63, the score that Hughes was on when he was struck by the delivery and will now remain forever more.

Warner had been in the middle when tragedy struck and was clearly intent on paying tribute to his friend as he set about scoring at a blistering pace after Steve Smith had won the toss and decided to bat.

Both Warner and Rogers were finding the boundary with relative ease but Rogers was fortunate when Mohammed Shami’s delivery found the edge and went to second slip where Lokesh Rahul put down a routine chance.

Rogers sent the next ball crashing to the boundary to bring up the Australian 50 in just 48 balls.

The 37-year-old was outscoring his more naturally flamboyant partner at that point, but three consecutive fours moved Warner to the brink of his 50 and he brought up the mark in just 45 balls.

Warner then paid his tribute to Hughes before Rogers brought up his own half-century off 91 deliveries as the hosts got to lunch 123 without loss.

The lunch break did not halt the momentum and Warner brought up his century with a boundary, leaping into the air before kissing his helmet and looking skywards.

The 200 partnership was reached just two deliveries before Warner departed for 101 off 114 balls, edging Ravichandran Ashwin to Murali Vijay at gully to end his 12th Test century and third of the series.

And Rogers was gone in the next over when he chopped Shami onto his stumps having scored 95 off 160 balls, the fifth consecutive innings the opener had made 50 but failed to go on to three figures.

That meant India had the chance to get at two fresh batsman but Smith and Shane Watson easily saw the hosts through to tea and Smith brought up his 50 off 67 balls.

Watson was not scoring at the same pace as his captain but reached his 50 off 99 balls with the second new ball taken at the earliest opportunity.

But it did not do India much good as the Australians eased to the end of the day’s play with the minimum of fuss with Smith on 82 and Watson on 61.

Published: Tuesday 6th January 2015 by The News Editor

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