Australia in command as top order shines


Australia enjoyed a dominant first day of the fourth Test at the SCG, reaching stumps on 348 for two thanks to fifty-plus scores from all of the top order, including a David Warner century.

At the close, Steve Smith was unbeaten on 82, heading towards yet another ton in the series, while Shane Watson was on 61, a much needed good score after criticism from the fans and media.

The day at the Pink Test began with the hosts winning the toss and electing to bat, and India making a string of changes. Wriddiman Saha, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar replaced MS Dhoni, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ishant Sharma.

While the batting changes remain to be seen, the bowling ones were ineffectual. Bhuvneshwar had missed the whole series through injury, and looked out of sorts, bowling 20 overs for 67 runs and no wickets. By the end of the day, he needed treatment on his hamstring on the sidelines.

For the hosts though, it was mostly smooth sailing. Warner and Chris Rogers, playing in his last Test on home soil, put on 200 runs for the first wicket. They kept pace with each other, a welcome change after Warner's dominance.

The stocky opener reached his century off 108 balls, but was out a run later. He was caught by Murali Vijay off the bowling of Ravi Ashwin, and departed the SCG to rapturous applause and a look to the sky to Phillip Hughes.

Rogers was out four runs later, for 95. He was bowled by Mohammed Shami, and was visibly gutted to have missed out on his ton. This brought Smith and Watson together just before tea.

The pair put on 144 runs together by the close, with Smith going at his fluent best as he has all series, keeping his hold on the top of the run-scoring list. His fifty came off 76 balls, while Watson's came off 99.