Australia ended day one of the fourth Test at the Gabba against India at 274/5. The Brisbane ground is the fortress of the home team, but even they felt the heat against the most inexperienced Indian bowling attack in a Test since 1933.
India fielded Mohammed Siraj, who had played two Tests prior, Shardul Thakur and Navdeep Saini with one Test each and gave debuts to T Natarajan and spin all-rounder Washington Sundar.
Australia found themselves in trouble when Siraj and Shardul sent back openers Warner and Harris back on the score of 17 runs. However, Marnus Labuschagne (108), Matthew Wade (45), and Steve Smith (36) kept them in the game and gave them an advantage.
However, T Natarajan removed both Wade and Labuschagne, while Sundar took care of Smith.
This left captain Tim Paine (38*) and all-rounder Cameron Green (28*) to keep the Indian bowlers at bay in the final session of the day’s play.
Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting said that Australia can control the game if Green and Paine bat big on day two.
“It could be the biggest partnership in the series," Ponting told cricket.com.au.
"Absolutely crucial (partnership). The fact they got through the new ball tonight was really pleasing for them and it looks like (injured quick Navdeep) Saini is in real doubt, Shardul went off late in the day as well so it could be tomorrow India only have the three bowlers to go to and if they do, the batting conditions tomorrow morning will probably be the best in the game.
One-one going up to Brisbane, Labuschagne, and Wade put on a 113-run partnership but both got out soon after that and Australia needed Paine and Green to do what they've done and really steady the ship, then try and push on for a really big first-innings score,” he added.
"These two, if they can then go on and turn this into a 100-run partnership first and then stretch it out past that, then I think Australia will be in the driver's seat of the game," Ponting emphasized.
Saini bowled just 7.5 overs before succumbing to what appeared to be a groin injury while Shardul left the field after bowling 18 overs in his second Test, and first since October 2018.