Pat Cummins has produced an incredible run out after spending more than six hours out in temperatures that reached 39 degrees, ending Cheteshwar Pujara’s resistance on 123.
Pujara reached his century late on day one at Adelaide Oval as India fought back from crashing to 3-19, 4-41 and then 6-127.
They were reduced to 9-250 at stumps after Cummins’ wondrous effort, which came after bowling 19 overs and fielding in the heat.
Pujara had played a lone hand of resistance for the tourists, reaching his 16th Test ton from 232 deliveries.
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He came to the crease in the third over of the day and, despite the frequent loss of batting partners and a slow scoring rate, completed the milestone in the 85th over.
“It was good fielding,” Pujara said with a laugh.
“I never thought he would get me run out but credit goes to (Cummins). I was really short of my crease.”
Australian captain Tim Paine, who lost the toss, will lament the way his side failed to keep their foot on the tourists’ throat.
But after eight months of soul-searching and scathing criticism, there was a lot for disillusioned fans to like.
The same goes for Paine, too, as his side finally started their first home Test since the Cape Town cheating scandal and first match on free-to-air TV this season.
Usman Khawaja, stationed at gully and playing two days after his brother was arrested, led the way as Australia dominated the opening hour.
Khawaja helped remove Kohli for three, flinging himself to the left to complete a dramatic dismissal after Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc both picked up a wicket in their opening spell.
Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, KL Rahul and Murali Vijay were all out edging in the morning session to Australia’s fast bowlers, who bent their backs in sapping heat to extract rearing bounce and generate good pace.
“They are pretty poor shots, really, from top-order international players,” Ricky Ponting said in commentary for the Seven Network.
Rohit Sharma’s post-lunch dismissal to Nathan Lyon on 37 was the low point of India’s ill-disciplined innings, while Lyon also ended an entertaining cameo from Rishabh Pant.
Meanwhile, scorching weather and India’s refusal to play a day-night match have dented attendance at Adelaide Oval for the start of the first Test between India and Australia.
Thursday’s final crowd of 23,802 is the lowest turnout for day one of a Test since the stadium was redeveloped in 2013.
Local officials had flagged that ticket sales were down compared to past years, and walk-up attendances are certain to have been affected by the 39C heat.
The mercury is set to reach 38C on Friday before a cool change over the weekend.
Adelaide has hosted day-night Tests since 2015 but India refused Australian pleas to play the series-opener as a day-night fixture.
A whopping 55,317 fans packed out the ground for day one of last year’s pink-ball Ashes Test.