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Sydney, Day One: A Familiar Story For India

Shane Watson's shot eludes two Indian fielders - the story of the opening day at the SCG
Shane Watson's shot eludes two Indian fielders - the story of the opening day at the SCG
©REUTERS / Action Images
David Warner kissed the ground where Phil Hughes fell after reaching 63
David Warner kissed the ground where Phil Hughes fell after reaching 63
©REUTERS / Action Images

A familiar, repetitive script emerged for India on day one of the fourth Test versus Australia in Sydney.

Despite a new skipper taking charge, they were back to their old ways of bowling with little consistency and dropping catches to let the opposition slip away, and the hosts finished the day at a handsome 348 for two.

David Warner scored 101 runs and Chris Rogers made 95 as they put on 200 runs for the opening stand giving their team a rousing start in this dead rubber.

"We were lucky that the coin fell our way and it was a fantastic toss to win. 348 for two is a fantastic position to be in," Warner said.

"There was no swing or sideways movement at all, so it was quite challenging for the Indian bowlers.

"It's going to be challenging for us to take 10 wickets as well. We have to dry runs up when we bowl," he added.

The batsmen benefitted with some poor fielding as Rogers was dropped on 19 early in the day by KL Rahul at second slip. Later, off the penultimate ball of the day, Shane Watson (on 57) too enjoyed a life as Ravichandran Ashwin let go off a chance at first slip.

"When you are not fielding at your best, then everything else also doesn't go in your favour. If your tempo is upbeat from the start, you take those chances.

"We too have done it before, dropped a couple of chances in the slips," said Warner.

"It does really set your tone from ball one, if you're up and about that sets you. We try and thrive on that when we see that, I think their heads were down when we were 100 for no loss and that's expected sometimes in the field.

"They didn’t get their line and length right. Also there was no swing and sideways movement so you have to try and dry up the runs somehow.

"It must have been frustrating for Virat Kohli because it is tough to captain when the bowlers bowl both sides of the wicket," he added.

Warner paid a touching tribute to his late team-mate Phillip Hughes when on 63 he bent down and kissed the ground where he had fallen after being hit by a bouncer in late November. The hundred was another special moment for the batsman.

"It's very special. I spoke to the guys the other day and said that I haven't scored a hundred at home or at the MCG.

"I said I might as well not play those two Tests as I can't score a run there," Warner joked. "It's great to get milestones and it is a hundred.

"I've done my job for the team as well as I can. The thing I'm most proud of is actually putting up a double-century partnership with Rogers, our first one.

"We bat very well together and I think that's the highlight today for me.

"I had a tear in my eye this morning when I walked out to warm-up and I saw his (Hughes) family there in the stands.

"The hurt and the pain they've gone through and how much it would have hurt them to come back today - it's just courageous for them to be here, and I applaud them for making the effort.

"That score (63 not out) is always to be at the back of my mind. I am going to pay tribute to my little mate always, whether I am going to be on 63 or 100. 

"Every time I play here I'll definitely be doing that," he said.

Australia have the advantage going forward at the moment, with Watson (61 not out) and Steve Smith (82* not out) adding an unbeaten 144 runs for the third wicket.

Unless India make quick inroads on day two, the match could quickly slip out of their grasp.

"I really hope the dropped catch turns Watson’s luck around. He's been training very hard the last couple of days and it was unfortunate that he was sick before the match.

"The amount of time and effort he puts into training is unbelievable. He really deserves a big one coming out tomorrow and hopefully he does get that big one.

"He and Smith are doing a fantastic job at the moment and hopefully they can pile on the runs tomorrow," Warner signed off.

Meanwhile, the visitors’ bowling coach B Arun has expressed hope that the team’s young attack is able to iron out its deficiencies sooner rather than later.

"It has been a mixed bag," he said.

"We have to be lot more disciplined than we are at present.

"There have been occasions where we have been disciplined but I think the consistency is going to be the key.

"There is a lot of work need to be done on that. We are working on that to be more consistent and disciplined.

"Every kind of wicket you bowl on is different. You got to adjust to the wicket to be able to do that," he added.

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