Australia 93-1 at tea on a rainy day 1 of 3rd test vs India
SYDNEY (AP) — Will Pucovski posted an unbeaten half-century on debut and shared an 87-run partnership with Marnus Labuschagne as Australia reached 93-1 at tea on a rain-interrupted opening day of the third cricket test against India.
Australia won the toss and elected to bat at the Sydney Cricket Ground, giving Pucovski an immediate taste of test cricket as the 22-year-old opener started the innings with veteran David Warner.
Warner lasted only eight balls and scored five runs on his comeback from injury before he chased a full and wide ball from Mohammed Siraj (1-33) and was caught at first slip with the total at 6.
Pucovski continued with Labuschagne and looked at times assured and at times lucky to still be at the crease. He had three reprieves on his way to 50, a milestone he passed in the over before tea with consecutive boundaries against Navdeep Saini — the first two balls in test cricket for the Indian fast bowler.
He survived a pair of dropped catches from wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant and a missed chance for a run out to reach the second interval unbeaten on 54. Labuschagne was unbeaten on 34.
Pucovski was on 26 when he got a fine edge to Ravichandran Ashwin and Pant, standing up at the stumps to the off-spinner, wasn't able to hold the catch.
He was on 32 when he gloved an attempted pull shot to a Siraj short ball and Pant turned but wasn't able to cleanly grab a catch despite two swipes.
There was also a running mix-up when he was on 39. Pucovski appeared to be distracted by Jasprit Bumrah slipping in the outfield and was sent back by Labuschagne as both batsmen went for the same end — narrowly beating the throw back to the stumps.
Still, he showed intent to score against short-pitch bowling, and was strong through the legside early. His 100-ball innings contained four boundaries.
The Australian batsmen punished anything short from Ashwin, not letting him get into a settled line or rhythm that caused the home team problems in the first two tests.
Pucovski was on 14 and Australia was 21-1 after 7.1 overs when rain-shortened opening session ended when lunch was called early.
The four-match series is tied 1-1 after Australia won the opening day-night match in Adelaide by eight wickets and India responded with an eight-wicket win in Melbourne last week.
India also made two changes for the SCG match, with Rohit Sharma replacing opener Mayank Agarwal after showing no signs of discomfort from the hamstring injury that sidelined him for the limited-overs portion of the tour and the first two tests. He’s also deputy to stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane, whose gritty century guided India to victory in Melbourne.
India made an enforced change to its bowling attack, with 28-year-old right-arm fast bowler Saini replacing Umesh Yadav, who joined fellow fast bowlers Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma on the injured list.
More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports