Welcome to news.com.au’s live coverage of the first Test between India and Australia from Nagpur.
It has been a bleak opening two days for the Aussies with India in complete control after a dominant day at the crease.
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Skipper Rohit Sharma led the charge with a masterful knock of 120 as the delighted their home fans by building a first innings lead of 144 runs.
Todd Murphy provided the only spark for the Aussies as he became the 35th Australian to take a five-wicket haul on debut.
Don’t miss any of the action when play gets underway from 3pm (AEDT).
6.30pm – Renshaw goes as Smith gets off the mark with a six
This is getting faintly ridiculous.
Renshaw plays back to Ashwin, and despite being hit above the pads, is given out, umpire’s call on review.
He departs for 2, with Australia in absolute shambles at 42/4, having barely batted for an hour.
Meanwhile, Steve Smith got off the mark with a lofted straight drive for six, and he’ll meet the incoming Peter Handscomb.
6.30pm – Warner gone, Australia in tatters
Another one bites the dust.
David Warner falls for a valiant 10 off 41 deliveries, if that’s even possible.
Lasting longer than any other Australian bat so far, he falls again to a right-armer around the wicket, this time Jadeja’s offspin rather than the pace of Mohammed Shami.
Matthew Renshaw arrives at the crease, having had an unsettled return to the Test side.
He returned in the final Test of the home summer against South Africa, only to contract Covid-19 and barely be needed in a damp squib of a match in Sydney.
He then got a duck in the first innings here in Nagpur – Australia needs the young Queenslander desperately right now.
6.20pm – Labuschagne gone! Australia two down early again
After a brilliant fighting first-innings 49, Marnus Labuschagne has departed, trapped in front by a straightening Jadeja delivery, keeping low and hitting as plumb as plumb gets.
In typical Labuschagne fashion, a conversation with David Warner at the non-striker’s end ensues as to whether he should review, but he is sent on his way.
Never happy to leave the crease, he takes an inordinate amount of time to leave the field and is visibly upset with himself in the dressing rooms as Steve Smith comes to the crease, once again tasked with a rescue mission for Australia.
5.45pm – India bring on spin immediately, with immediate reward
As sure as death and taxes, India dropped all pretences and brought Ravichandran Ashwin on in just the second over of the innings.
Just as quickly, he’s knocked over Usman Khawaja, enticed by a cover drive for four earlier in the over and wanting to go again, edging behind off KS Bharat’s gloves to the grateful hands of Virat Kohli at first slip.
A loose shot from Khawaja, with Ravi Shastri noting on Fox Sports that Khawaja’s weight was all the way back, instead of coming at the ball and not allowing it to pitch in the dangerous rough that the Australians have lamented over the last three days.
Former selector Mark Waugh was equally critical, saying it “wasn’t a genuine half-volley.”
5.00pm – India dismissed for 400, lead by 223
Finally, India’s final wicket falls.
Cummins gets Axar Patel with an off-cutter that barely dislodged a sole bail, with Patel trying to deposit the ball into Pakistan and losing his wicket in the process.
India are all out for 400, with Rohit Sharma (120) and Axar Patel (84) top scoring.
Todd Murphy is the pick of the Australians, with his 7/124 the fifth best figures by an Australian on debut, and the best since Jason Krezja’s 8/215 on the 2008 tour of India.
We go to lunch, after which David Warner and Usman Khawaja will return to try and salvage the most unlikely of heists.
4.25pm – Murphy gets his seventh, with records in sight
Todd Murphy has taken his seventh wicket of the innings, taking him to figures of 7-113, the fifth best figures on debut by an Australian in the history of Test cricket.
He has now bettered Scott Boland’s magical 6-7 at the MCG, and skipper Pat Cummins’ 6-79 against South Africa in 2011, aged 18.
The Australian record for the finest figures in an innings on debut is held by Albert Trott, a Melburnian who took 8/43 against the touring English in Adelaide in 1895.
4.15pm – India in control as Australia let chances slip
India are firmly in control after the first hour of play in Nagpur.
The hosts have added 43 runs to the tally for the loss of one wicket, with only Todd Murphy breaking through to get Ravindra Jadeja for 70.
The session has seen a few DRS dramas for the Australians, and concerningly also much more variation from the Nagpur wicket.
Nathan Lyon has bowled well without reward, having had two decisions go to the third umpire and a dropped catch courtesy of Scott Boland at long on, but he is seeing much more turn off the wicket compared to the first two days, while Todd Murphy is enjoying the same conditions.
The offspinning pair have bowled all of Australia’s overs today bar one, and it has seen a 9th wicket partnership between Mohammed Shami and Axar Patel reach 50.
Australia’s longest partnership in the first innings was between Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne, and it lastest 202 balls for the third wicket.
India’s eighth-wicket partnership between Axar Patel and Ravindra Jadeja was longer, at 211 balls, and this ninth-wicket partnership is more than halfway there.
The Australians need to find ways to make a breakthrough, but for now they are trusting the spin that has brought them all bar one of their wickets thus far this Test match.
3.35pm – Another catch goes begging, Boland drops Shami
Nathan Lyon has had a nightmare of a morning on day three, now having a sitter gone begging off his bowling.
Having toiled away in the Nagpur sun for figures of 1-109, Lyon drew a massive ugly slog from Mohammad Shami, who barely got a piece of it as he top-edged towards Scott Boland at long-on, going a mile in the air.
Barely needing to move, and opting for fingers-up above the eyeline, Boland let the ball slip through his fingers, and with that, adds to Australia’s catching woes this Test after Steve Smith dropped two chances earlier in the match.
3.25pm – Review dramas galore for Aussies
The long-running Australian relationship with the Decision Review System has continued, with Pat Cummins getting two player reviews wrong within twenty minutes of each other.
Both coming off the bowling of Nathan Lyon, who has started day three looking much more dangerous than he has all Test match, Cummins sent a decision for caught behind upstairs to third umpire Michael Gough, thinking Lyon had Axar Patel caught defending in front, only to find there was no contact on ultra-edge, and slow-motion replays showing daylight between ball and bat.
Cummins’ blushes were saved by the umpires reviewing the ball themselves for a stumping after the fact, which means Australia don’t lose a review, under ICC Playing Condition 3.6.7 (Appendix D – Decision Review System).
It wouldn’t hold, with Lyon thinking he had Mohammed Shami trpaped in front two overs later.
Turning sharply out of the footmarks and keeping low, Shami was completely beaten in the flight and poked at the ball meekly, beaten on the inside.
That was, however, enough to be considered a shot played, and with the impact outside off, the Australians have one review remaining.
3.15pm – Murphy has six! Build the man a statue!
Todd Murphy has his sixth wicket on Test debut!
Australia’s bespectacled hero rips through Ravindra Jadeja, who played for Murphy’s consistent side-spin and shouldered arms, only for the ball to hit the footmarks and continue onto his off stump.
Jadeja departs for an elegant 70, bringing Mohammed Shami to the crease.
Murphy now has 6-83 on Test debut, the 13th-best figures by an Australian in the history of the game.
3pm – Day three is underway
The third day of the first test is underway, with Pat Cummins taking the ball around the wicket to Axar Patel.
Australia face an uphill battle, with Patel and Ravindra Jadeja set at the crease on 53 and 66 respectively.
India resume at 321/7, with a century to Rohit Sharma and wickets to Todd Murphy, Nathan Lyon and Pat Cummins.
1.15pm – The way back for Travis Head
With Australia heading into the third day’s play in Nagpur under significant pressure and trailing massively on first innings, Australia’s batting unit needs to produce something special to keep the first Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy alive.
Before the shock axing of Travis Head, Australia’s best batter this past summer, selectors toyed with the idea of bringing back the hard-hitting South Australian as an opener.
Revisiting the plan may be, according to News Corp’s Ben Horne, his only way of returning to the Test side in Asia, such is his weakness against India’s spinners.
With Matthew Renshaw out for a golden duck before suffering a knee injury, the possibility of Head’s return remains murky with the certain inclusion of all-rounder Cameron Green upon his recovery from a finger injury.
National selector George Bailey said in December that “opportunities for players in the XI to play different roles” may arise in the subcontinent, including potentially for Head.
“So whether that’s the same for Travis in subcontinent tours, we’ll wait and see,” he said.
Fox Cricket expert Brad Haddin believes the shift would work wonders, saying that Head is a different player when he is set against spin compared to how he starts against spin.
“The one thing they could have done is put him up the order to take the game on,” he said.
“If he’s set and spin comes on then he’s a much different player.”
It would be unlikely, given how it would upset the balance that David Warner and Usman Khawaja have developed at the top of the order.
Warner has been immovable opening the batting for over a decade, whilst Khawaja averages 72.48 opening the batting and 75.05 since his return to the Test side in 2022.
12.30pm – Dad’s embarrassing Shane Warne comparison
With the deification of a new hero in Australian cricket come comparisons galore, and none are bigger than being compared to the late, great Shane Warne.
Perhaps the biggest compliment in the game for a spin bowler, it’s a huge call to make for anyone, but especially someone who doesn’t actually bowl Warne’s trademark legspin.
That didn’t stop Todd Murphy’s dad Jamie on Friday though, saying he thought “there’s a lot of traits, of Warnie, I think, in Todd.
“That never-say-die attitude, that ‘we can win from anywhere’ attitude.”
Jamie Murphy played with Warne at St Kilda Cricket Club in the late 1980s and early 1990s, including a premiership with the blonde-haired legend in 1991-92, shortly after Warne had made his Test debut, also against India.
Murphy himself was incredulous when he heard what his old man had said, saying “I shook my head when I saw that.
“I’m not sure I’m anything similar to Warnie!”
It comes after a “hectic” couple of days for the Murphy family trying to travel to Nagpur to watch his debut.
With uncle Troy, cousin Riley, brother Joel, partner Bec and father Jamie in tow, the Murphy clan left the NSW border town of Moama at 2am to get on a flight to Nagpur in time from Melbourne via Sydney and Bangalore.
“I don’t know what we packed in the suitcase,” said a travel-weary Jamie.
“I forgot to even pack my clothes into the suitcase.”
The Australian’s Peter Lalor, on commentary, said that the family had even left their suitcases at the airport in the mad dash to Nagpur, and were all sharing clothes out of the one bag.