Michael Vaughan has roasted India’s batsmen after the visitors gifted Australia key wickets in the opening session of the first Test in Adelaide.
After winning the toss and electing to bat on Thursday, the tourists endured a nightmare start, including the loss of talismanic skipper Virat Kohli, which left them 4-56 at lunch.
It took a screamer of a catch by Usman Khawaja at gully off the bowling of Pat Cummins to dismiss superstar Kohli for three.
But Kohli’s wicket, looking to drive a Cummins delivery which pitched full and outside off stump, was symptomatic of a wider tendency by India’s batsmen to play at deliveries they would have been better off leaving alone.
Openers KL Rahul and Murali Vijay fell into a similar trap while vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane’s dismissal was the worst of the lot, slashing at a wide Josh Hazlewood delivery.
Australian bowling coach David Saker confirmed it was a premeditated plan for Hazlewood, Cummins and Mitchell Starc to pitch it up and lure India’s batsmen into false shots.
“We got the wickets the way we thought we might get the wickets,” Saker told the Seven Network.
“We’ve bowled a fuller length and some bouncers to get them back in the crease … it is really encouraging that they are swinging the ball.”
Vaughan, commentating on Fox Sports, bemoaned Rahane’s “shocking” dismissal and said the Indians had fallen into an obvious trap.
“Here at Adelaide Oval, you’ve just got to see out the first session and get the bowlers into their second spells,” Vaughan said.
“They’ve just gifted Australia four cheap wickets.
“History tells you just get through the first session.
“It’s 30-odd degrees heat, the pitch will get better, the ball will get softer … all three players have got out in an identical fashion.”
Aussies bowlers make Kohli’s toss call backfire
After eight months of soul-searching and scathing criticism, Australia needed less than an hour to silence Kohli and make an emphatic early statement .
The tourists reached 4-56 at lunch on Thursday, when Rahane failed to make the most of a life that Peter Handscomb offered him while on two.
Rahane, dismissed for 13 when Handscomb made amends by holding a sharp slips catch, Kohli, Rahul and Vijay were all out edging to Australia’s pacemen.
“They are pretty poor shots, really, from top-order international players,” Ricky Ponting said in commentary for Seven.
Playing their first home Test since the Cape Town cheating scandal and first match on free-to-air TV this season, Tim Paine’s team started strongly.
Asked to bowl first by Kohli in sapping heat, with temperatures forecast to hit 39 in Adelaide, Hazlewood and Starc each picked up a wicket in their opening spell.
Hazlewood struck in his first over, delighting in Rahul’s lack of footwork and loose drive that led to a thick edge flying to the chest of Aaron Finch at third slip.
Vijay was out to what may well have been the last ball of Starc’s first spell, if the recalled opener didn’t feather an edge to Paine.
Kohli looked typically composed until he lashed at Pat Cummins’ third delivery, then watched in disbelief as the ball rocketed into Khawaja’s outstretched left hand.
Khawaja, stationed at gully and playing two days after his brother was arrested, flung himself to the left to complete a dramatic dismissal.