India Vs Australia First Test at Nagpur ended on the third day with the Australians losing by an Innings and 132 runs. Australia could only manage 91 runs in their second innings. This collapse happened in a single session with Ashwin taking a fifer. This was the third biggest win for India against Australia in a Test Match. It was an embarrassing defeat for the Aussies as none of their batsmen in the second innings could score more runs than the Indian tailender Mohammed Shami (37). The Australian batsmen failed to apply themselves on a wicket which had still not started to deteriorate. All credit goes to the Indian bowlers who did not give the Aussies any breathing space.
Result – India Won the Match by an Innings and 132 Runs.
Player of the Match – Ravinder Jadeja (7 Wickets, 70 Runs)
Highest Run Scorer – Rohit Sharma (120 runs)
Highest Wicket-taker – Ravichandran Ashwin (8 Wickets)
The Nagpur pitch was severely criticized by the international media for assisting spin. Some people used the word ‘doctored pitch’ as well. There was talk that it was going to be a nightmare for the left-handers. However, it was the Indian fast bowlers – Mohammed Siraj and Mohammed Shami who reduced Australia to 2 – 2 in the opening 10 minutes of the game. Siraj’s first ball to Usman Khwaja in India Vs Australia First Test rapped the pads, Indians went for DRS for LBW – And it was OUT! Shami came back for his Second over and castled David Warner. Coach Rahul Dravid was pumped; the Aussies were red faced! What a start to the Border – Gavaskar Test Series!
The Aussies Went Head-less into the First Test
India Vs Australia First Test began with the Aussie Captain Pat Cummins calling the right side of the coin. Cummins then announced to the world that he had left out ICC World Number 4 Travis Head from their Playing XI. This came as a shock to everyone including the Australian media and cricketing legends.
The Indians had a great start with their fast bowlers taking a wicket a piece in the first 10 minutes of the game. However, the prolific Australian batsmen – Steven Smith and Marnus Labuschagne got some stability to the Aussie batting line up on Day 1 of the Nagpur Test. After a jittery start, the two of them put their head down and applied themselves against the Indian Spin trio – Ashwin, Jadeja and Axar. Playing with a soft bottom hand and not pushing at any deliveries, the two Aussie batters did everything right in the first session of play.
In an enthralling contest between the bat and the ball, the Aussie run-rate was well below 3 runs per over. However, on such a pitch, preserving wickets is of utmost importance.
Ravinder Jadeja to the Indian Rescue
The star all-rounder of the Indian team, Ravinder Jadeja, came back in the second session of the first day of the Nagpur Test taking 5 key Aussie wickets. The star batters – Labuschagne, Smith, Renshaw, Handscomb and Murphy fell prey to his spin magic. Jadeja bought the Indian team back into the game with some superb bowling. Ashwin also came to the party, taking 3 vital wickets of Alex Carey, Captain Pat Cummins and Boland. The Australians could survive only a few overs in the third session of play before the Indians came into bat.
In a controversial incident on the second day, Jadeja was found guilty of a Level 1 offence as per the ICC Code of conduct. He had applied a cream on his left index finger for swelling during the match without the umpire’s permission. He got a demerit point for it, while also being fined 25 percent of his match fee. The match referee was satisfied the cream was not applied to the ball as an artificial substance to alter its condition.
The Aussie media made loud noise over this issue trying to play mind games with the Indians. The cricket illiterates were implying ball-tampering; however, they did not realize that tampering with the ball offers no help to a spinner. It only helps with reverse swing to a pacer. In fact, the spinner will not be able to get a firm grasp on the ball if any foreign substance is applied on it.
Rohit Sharma is Captain Brilliant
Rohit Sharma did everything right on Day 1 except for calling the right side of the coin. He shuffled his bowlers to perfection, set the correct fields and batted to perfection. The captain knew that batting is going to get tough on the wicket as the days go on, hence he decided to score quick. He charged at the bowlers, especially Pat Cummins, and hit him for 4 boundaries. Despite losing KL Rahul, he continued the momentum of the game by hitting a lofty six down the ground. This masterful innings by the Indian Captain put the Indians in a commanding position in the First Test Match at Nagpur.
Todd Murphy Breaks Records on Debut
The Day 2 of the Test Match began with the Indians taking the field with a night-watchman. Rohit Sharma and Ravichandran Ashwin came out determined and showed great resistance and grit for preserving their wickets. Ashwin made a vital 23 runs before he was sent back to the hut by Todd Murphy. Pujara was quick to follow with the debutant Murphy getting the third wicket against his name. Pujara came to the crease with positive intent. However, he tried the paddle sweep and got a top edge to short fine leg.
The Mid – Session started indifferently for the Indians with Virat Kohli getting caught on the first ball by Alex Carey off the bowling of Todd Murphy. King Kohli smiled sheepishly as he walked back for 12 runs. The debutant Todd Murphy showed his potential and justified his selection at the highest level. He was successful in claiming 5 Indian wickets on debut, breaking a 141-year-old Australian record.
Rohit Sharma’s Batting Prowess
Rohit Sharma smashed his First Test Century of the Border – Gavaskar Series with a boundary on Day 2 of the First Test at Nagpur. He was the only man standing tall in a wicket that was playing tricks ever since the start of the match. Rohit Sharms’s batting was defined by his lazy elegance. On a wicket where the ICC Top Ranking Players were struggling to get into double figures, it was only Rohit who seemed to play with ease. Though Surya Kumar Yadav and KS Bharat lost their wickets cheaply, it was the left-handed duo of Ravinder Jadeja and Axar Patel who got to their respective half-centuries. These two all-rounders from India ensured that India have a good lead going into the third day of the Nagpur Test.
The Australian Batting Disaster
Day 3 of the First Test at Nagpur began with the heroics of Axar Patel and Mohammed Shami who ensured that India took a healthy lead of 223 runs. Shami hit some lusty blows that landed into the heart of the Aussies. Axar Patel was fabulous with the bat. Coming at number 9, he helped India reach 400 runs. Even though Axar was unsuccessful in taking a wicket in the first innings, his contribution of 84 runs with the bat, on a tough wicket, was more than enough. These runs made by the Indian batters at the very end mentally broke the Aussies who had conceded a huge first innings lead.
Ashwin Runs through the Top Order
The Indian bowlers came and completely dismantled the Aussie Top Order in the Second Session of Day 3. Despite a dropped catch from Virat Kohli, Ravichandran Ashwin was able to take 5 wickets in the first hour post-lunch. His victims – Warner, Renshaw, Handscomb and Carey were all adjudged LBW with the exception of Khwaja who was caught by Kohli at slips. One could see the wry smile on Warner’s face throughout the time he was at the crease. It was a look of resignation on the face of the Aussie opener, who is widely loved in India.
Ravinder Jadeja was successful in trapping Marnus Labuschagne with a fabulous delivery. He then got rid of Captain Pat Cummins thrashing any Australian hopes of surviving the third day. Smith was seen showing the ‘thumbs-up’ sign to the Indian bowlers whenever the deliveries beat him. This was in great sportsman- spirit, something which the Aussies are not known for. Infact, the Aussie great Allan Border was very critical of this gesture as he felt that the mighty Australians were becoming soft.
It took just one session for the Indians to take 10 Australian wickets to register a huge winning and going ahead in the Border – Gavaskar Series by 1 – 0.
Statistics: Biggest innings wins for India vs Australia
1) Innings & 219 runs Kolkata 1997/98
2) Innings & 135 runs Hyderabad 2012/13
3) Innings & 132 runs Nagpur 2022/23 *
Player of the Match – Ravinder Jadeja
Jadeja: Feeling amazing. When you come back after five months and give your 100 percent, scoring runs and taking wickets. Was working hard at the NCA. Would like to thank the NCA staff, physios. They have been working hard with me, even on Sundays. Was looking to bowl in good areas. Ball was spinning, going straight, keeping low. Kept telling myself to bowl at the stumps – if they make mistake, I have a chance. I look to keep things simple. Try not to change things with my batting. It’s a crucial number – 5, 6, 7.
Captains Speak –
Rohit Sharma: Very important at the start of the series. Happy that I could put the performance for the team. Was unfortunate that I had to miss few Tests because of injuries but I’m happy to be back. Since I was appointed as the Test captain, I have played just two Tests. Got Covid in England, missed South Africa, got a freak injury against Bangladesh. Was ready for this one. The last few years, the kind of pitches we are playing in India, you need to have application and some sort of plan to score runs.
I’ve grown up playing a lot in Mumbai on surfaces that turns a lot. You need to be slightly unorthodox as well, use your feet. Need to put pressure on bowlers as well by doing something different. And that different could be whatever suits you – using your feet, sweeping, reverse-sweeping. It was the first two overs from the seamers. 2/2 – starting a game like that, you’re in the ascendancy. Opposition is under pressure from there. We know we have quality in our spin department. But the seamers can be threatening as well on a pitch like that.
Pat Cummins: The game moves pretty quickly here at times in India. They played very well. The spinners are always going to be hard work when it’s spinning. Rohit played very well. The wicket spun (in the first innings) but wasn’t unplayable. Should’ve scored 100 more runs. Starting here is tough but 3-4 of our guys got in. When you do get in, got to score big scores. Murphy was fantastic.
Toss – Australia won the toss and opted to Bat.
The Teams for India Vs Australia First Test at Nagpur are –
Australia (Playing XI): David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steven Smith, Matt Renshaw, Peter Handscomb, Alex Carey(w), Pat Cummins(c), Nathan Lyon, Todd Murphy, Scott Boland
India (Playing XI): Rohit Sharma(c), KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Srikar Bharat(w), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj
At the Toss
Rohit Sharma: We would have batted too. Looks pretty dry. There will be help for spinners. We got to wait and see how much it does. Yesterday when we started training we did see some seam movement for the pacers up front. We have had a good prep for the last 5-6 days. We trained on the aspects in store. This is a big one. We know the importance of the series but we also understand it’s about winning one session at a time. It’s a long series. Three spinners, two seamers, Bharat and Suryakumar Yadav are debuting for India.
Pat Cummins: We are going to bat. Looks like a pretty even wicket towards the middle. 2017 was a big series. Can’t wait to get this started. We have had good preparation. Two changes Todd Murphy in. Handscomb in for Travis Head.
Surya Kumar Yadav and KS Bharat made their Test debut for India. Australia have handed the Baggy Green to Todd Murphy.
India Vs Australia First Test at Nagpur started at 9:30 AM IST at Nagpur on 9th February 2023.