Adelaide, Dec 6 (AP/UNB) — Captain Virat Kohli fell cheaply to a spectacular Usman Khawaja catch as a reckless India crashed to 56 for 4 at lunch on the opening day of the first test against an inspired Australia on Thursday.
India's high-profile batting order was under fire from Australia's aggressive pacemen in the sweltering Adelaide conditions. Josh Hazlewood was the pick of the bowlers with two wickets at the Adelaide Oval.
It was a disastrous start for an Indian team aiming to win their first test series in Australia. After openers K.L. Rahul and Murali Vijay fell to loose drives, India slumped to 19-3 when superstar batsman Kohli was brilliantly caught by Khawaja in the gully for just three runs.
Khawaja dived and snared the ball in his left hand. It could have been even worse for India with Ajinkya Rahane dropped at short leg by Peter Handscomb when on two in spinner Nathan Lyon's first over.
Rahane (13) did not make the most of his reprieve, falling in the slips to another impulsive shot from India's stuttering top-order. No.3 Cheteshwar Pujara held firm to reach lunch unbeaten on 11, batting with Rohit Sharma (15 not out) who was selected at No. 6 ahead of allrounder Hanuma Vihari.
Kohli won the toss and elected to bat. But the tourists were under immediate pressure when Rahul fell in the second over, caught in the slips after a loose drive off Hazlewood.
Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc bowled aggressively with short deliveries troubling the Indian batsmen unaccustomed to the faster Australian pitches. Starc was rewarded in the seventh over when he claimed Vijay caught behind to leave India reeling at 15-2.
Moments earlier, Vijay had awkwardly evaded Starc's sharp bouncer before falling to a full delivery in a similar rash manner to Rahul.
Kohli, who had scored three centuries in two previous tests in Adelaide, came in early and was forced to play watchfully. He survived just 16 deliveries before falling to Pat Cummins, as Australia's trio of quicks shared the wickets.
The No.1 batsman in the world, Kohli has scored just 49 runs in his past six test innings against Australia.