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Will Pucovski, Marnus Labuschagne put Australia in control on Day 1 of SCG Test

Will Pucovski, Marnus Labuschagne put Australia in control on Day
  • Australia posted 166/2 at stumps on Day 1 of the SCG Test.

  • Will Pucovski scored a brilliant half-century on debut.

Some strong performances from Australian debutant Will Pucovski and middle-order batsman Marnus Labuschagne have put Australia in a commanding position on Day 1 of the ongoing third Test against India at Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).

Despite, rain stopping play early on, Pucovski showed good signs and smashed a half-century on his maiden Test. The hosts did lose explosive opener David Warner (5) early in the innings, but a 100-run partnership between Pucovski and Labuschagne guided them to make a strong comeback in the game.

Pucovski was eventually removed by another debutant in the match Navdeep Saini for a well-made 62 runs from 110 balls. After Pucovski’s dismissal, former Aussie skipper Steve Smith formed an unbeaten 60-run stand with Labuschagne to put the hosts on top at the end of day’s play.

The hosts wrapped up at 166/2 at stumps in 55 overs with Labuschagne (67 not out), and Smith (31 not out) are at the crease.

For the visitors, Mohammed Siraj provided the first breakthrough after he dismissed Warner in the fourth over of the match. Siraj conceded 46 runs in 14 overs with a wicket and three maidens.

Apart from the Hyderabad bowler, Saini also shined with the ball after sending back Pucovski in the 35th over. Saini bowled seven overs and conceded 32 runs.

Smith, who scored five boundaries in his unbeaten 64-ball 31 run knock, admitted that he came up with a different approach in SCG. Smith said he was trying to hold the grip of his bat a bit tighter. The New South Wales batsman heaped praises on Labuschagne for showing positive intent with the willow against a quality Indian attack.

“I’m good, nice to spend a bit of time out there, nice to stitch in a partnership with Marnus. I wanted to put him (Ashwin) under a little bit of pressure which I haven’t done this series. Was just trying to hold the grip a bit tighter, I’ve been struggling, so I was getting into good positions today. Was good to get a couple of boundaries early. Marnus played well; hopefully, we go along well tomorrow,” said Smith at the post-inning interview.

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