Australia off to a bright start at MCG

Published: Wednesday, December 26, 2007, 3:35 [IST]
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Melbourne: Openers Jaques and Hayden shared an unbroken century partnership to give their side a solid start on the first day of the first Test against India at MCG here on Wednesday.

Jaques was 57 not out, while Hayden was on 49 as Australia reached 111/1 at lunch.

Aussie skipper Ricky Ponting had won the toss and opted to bat in perfect batting conditions, though the pitch still showed signs of grass and the outfield was slow after heavy rain in the Melbourne area during the week leading up to the test.

Jaques and Hayden began slowly, with the first run off the bat not coming until the fifth over.

Both also survived several confident appeals for leg before wicket off Zaheer Khan, while Hayden in particular produced some streaky shots between, over and through the slips cordon.

However, two boundaries by Jaques off RP Singh in the 10th over reduced the tension for the Australians and they began to play more shots and run quick singles to rotate the strike and put pressure on the Indian field.

India captain Anil Kumble was forced to introduce Harbhajan Singh into the attack after just an hour, though the off-spinner and the medium pace of Saurav Ganguly were unable to break the partnership.

Jaques then proceeded to become the more aggressive of the pairing, with his half century coming from a slog-sweep off Harbhajan shortly before the interval. It was his seventh boundary.

Australia has left out fast bowler Shaun Tait and drafted in left-arm wrist spinner Brad Hogg.

India opted to include two spinners with Harbhajan Singh joining captain Anil Kumble while Rahul Dravid has been promoted to open with Wasim Jaffer, allowing Yuvjaj Singh a slot in the middle order.

Squads: India: Anil Kumble (captain), Wasim Jaffer, Rahul Dravid, Vangipurappu Laxman, Sachin Tendulkar, Saurav Ganguly, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Dhoni, Harbhajan, Zaheer Khan and Rudra Pratap Singh.

Australia: Ricky Ponting (captain), Matthew Hayden, Phil Jaques, Michael Clarke, Mike Hussey, Andrew Symonds, Adam Gilchrist, Brett Lee, Brad Hogg, Stuart Clark and Mitchell Johnson.

Brief Scores (at lunch, D-1):

Australia Ist innings 111/0 (Phil Jaques 57 n o, Matt Hayden 49 n o Vs India.


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