Rains kept most of the proceedings on halt at the Sydney Cricket Ground on the opening day of the Pink Test match between Australia and India as the hosts posted 166/2 in the curtailed 55 overs of play. India and Australia are currently locked 1-1 in the four-match Test series, with the last one scheduled to be played at Brisbane from January 15.
India got off to a good start, getting the dangerous David Warner (5) early in the innings. Md Siraj pitched one up and Warner barely moved his feet as he went hard for a drive, only to find a thick edge flying to Cheteshwar Pujara at the first slip. Australia were 21/1 when drizzles hit the proceedings and forced the players to go for an early lunch.
However, post lunch, it was the Australians who dominated the rest of the proceedings mostly. Both Will Pucovski (62) and Marnus Labuschagne (67*) got to their fifties to give the hosts an upper hand as the Indians struggled both with the ball as well as in the field.
Pucovski, on his debut, capitalised on a couple of dropped chances, courtesy some sloppy glovework by Rishabh Pant, to stitch a 100-run partnership with Labuschagne.
It took another debutant, Navdeep Saini, to break the partnership. Saini got his maiden wicket post Tea with a pitched-up delivery to trap Pucovski leg before.
The turf of SCG played very differently from the previous two at Adelaide and MCG. Having lost the toss, India bowlers tried to recreate their magic but barely got any assistance from the pitch. Steve Smith (31*), who struggled in the first two Tests, looked pretty comfortable in the middle. It seems like we can finally be hopeful of a five-day encounter with some good batting displays from both teams.
On that note, before we wrap up, we want to leave you with visuals of an emotional Md Siraj, wiping off his tears as the National anthem played at the start of the match. A proud moment indeed!