Despite Australia missing two key opportunities for a wicket in the first over of the third Test, the visitors have produced a stunning turnaround, claiming five wickets in the first hour of play. Substitute skipper Steve Smith appeared to have made a grave error by not reviewing two separate appeals against Indian captain Rohit Sharma in the first over, but a stunning collapse from India spared his blushes.
With India electing to bat after winning the toss, the recalled Mitchell Starc opened the bowling for Australia and looked to have made an immediate impact on the cricket match. On the very first ball of the Test, an almighty appeal rose from the Australian ranks after Sharma appeared to edge Starc through to the keeper, but the umpire remained unmoved.
Things got worse for Australia a few minutes later, when another Starc delivery seemingly trapped Sharma for an LBW. Again though, the umpire was not convinced, and nor was Smith, with the visitors again retaining their review.
Replays of both deliveries showed that both should have been given out - prompting fierce criticism of both the umpire, as well as Smith, for not reviewing the deliveries. In a stroke of good fortune for Australia however, Sharma's stay at the crease ultimately proved to be short lived.
In just his second Test match, it was Matthew Kunehmann who made the crucial breakthrough, removing the dangerous Sharma before the Indian skipper could inflict any further damage with the bad. A well-weighted delivery from Kunehmann tempted Sharma out of his crease, before spinning sharply away and through to wicketkeeper Alex Carey, who completed the stumping and sent the skipper packing for 12.
Kunehmann struck again a short time later, removing Shubman Gill for 21 after edging a delivery through to Smith at slip. Even in the first hour of the Test, it was clear spin bowling would have a substantial impact on the outcome in Indore.
As ridiculous as the pitch is seeming to be... India has to be a bit careful here. Did lose a Test to Australia on a rank turner in Pune within 3 days (2017). #IndvAus
— Chetan Narula (@chetannarula) March 1, 2023
— Cricketologist (@AMP86793444) March 1, 2023
Diabolical first over from Australia. Starc had Rohit out twice, both were given not out and Australia elected not to review them #INDvAUS
— Oliver Caffrey (@ollycaffrey) March 1, 2023
4.8 degree turn on Day 1 on the first session of a Test match. Is this the most a ball has turned in the first session ever? #INDvAUS
— Farid Khan (@_FaridKhan) March 1, 2023
I absolutely love low scoring test matches and think generally too much favours the batters. But taking alliances out of it, this test pitch is beyond embarrassing. A match designed to last 5 days will be lucky to last 2. #INDvAUS
— TomRehn9 (@tomrehn9) March 1, 2023
India collapse to start third Test amid savage pitch criticism
Nathan Lyon struck next for Australia, clean bowling Cheteshwar Pujara for just one run with a brilliant delivery that ripped back into the right-hander. It was an encouraging start for the visitors, despite the stumble in Starc's first over.
The encouraging start soon resembled an outright collapse from India, with Kunehmann hanging on to a particularly sharp catch off the bowling of Lyon to remove Ravindra Jadeja for just four runs. Next came Shreyas Iyer, who was Kuhnemann's third victim after chopping one back onto his own stumps, looking on as a single bail fell and marked the end of his innings for a duck.
The pitch, which has shown little in the way of bounce early in the match, has already come under substantial criticism on social media.
— The Spence (@adambspencer) March 1, 2023
The worst thing about the pitches india are rolling out is the asterisk it will attach to Ashwin and Jadeja's remarkable records
— TRVivek (@trvivek) March 1, 2023
The story so far
Australia bowling 👍
India batting 😳
Australia reviews 💩#IndvsAus
— Bernie Coen (@berniecoen) March 1, 2023
Dada. This pitch is not acceptable. We want to see good cricket as well. This is no home advantage and downright poor. Thank god for the WPL.
— Avishek Ghosh (@avishek_g) March 1, 2023
— Chetan Narula (@chetannarula) March 1, 2023
Virat Kohli looked to have steadied the ship somewhat after coming to the crease with the hosts three wickets down, but even his top-scoring innings was ultimately short-lived. He was trapped LBW by Todd Murphy, the third Australian spinner to snare a wicket in a lively first session.
Srikar Bharat followed Kohli soon after, again falling victim LBW to Lyon. Fast bowlers Starc and Cameron Green bowled just seven overs between them as it became quickly apparent that spin was king on the Indore pitch.
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