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India's Ravindra Jadeja celebrates after completing his five-wicket haul on the first day of the first Test against Australia in Nagpur on Thursday. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: India’s ace left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja celebrated his return to international cricket from injury with a five-wicket haul in Nagpur on Thursday. Former Australian assistant coach Sridharan Sriram says he was surprised the visitors didn’t pick Ashton Agar, another left-arm spinner.

In an exclusive interview with Gulf News, former Indian all-rounder Sriram, who is part of the Zee commentary team for the DP World ILT20, said: “I am surprised that he didn’t play in this Test, given that amount of rough there was for the left-handers. I am sure they have their own reasons and decide to use him when and what stage. Personally, I was surprised he didn’t play.”

Robust reply

India bowled out Australia for 177 and then cruised to 77-1 to dominate day one. Home captain Rohit Sharma led India’s robust reply with a typically belligerent 56 not out that included nine boundaries.

Nightwatchman Ravichandran Ashwin was yet to open his account at the other end but India would be pressing for a decisive lead in the contest when play resumes on Friday. The first Test saw three players get their country caps, Suryakumar Yadav and Srikar Bharat for India and Todd Murphy for Australia.

Sridharan Sriram

Sriram, who was part of the Australian team during the earlier visits, talks highly of the 22-year-old off-spinner.

Good future ahead

“Murphy is a good young spinner, who has come through the ranks. I have seen him in Under-19, had a couple of chats, but not really worked with him. He is rated one of the promising red ball bowler after Lyon to come through the system after a long time,” said the former Indian left-arm spinner. “Murphy’s got big shoes to fill and there are high expectations off him. From what I saw today, he has got great character and good head on his shoulders. The way he has started off his spell was very good, accurate and asking the right questions. He has a very good future ahead,” Sriram said, adding that the talk about the pitch is only natural.

“When foreign teams come to Australia they would also talk about the bounce and the grass, similarly when teams come to India they talk about spin. It’s natural for every team to react in a particular way. It’s up to every individual how he prepares and tackle what’s thrown at him.”

Australia skipper Pat Cummins won the toss and elected to bat on a spin-friendly pitch but the tourists had both their openers back in the hut inside the first 13 deliveries.

Mohammed Siraj trapped Usman Khawaja lbw with his first delivery, an outswinger that struck the opener low on his pad.

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Australian opener David Warner reacts after being dismissed by Mohammed Shami on the first day. Image Credit: AFP

In the next over, Mohammed Shami sent David Warner’s off-stump cartwheeling to reduce Australia to two for two.

Marnus Labuschagne (49) and Steve Smith (37) staged a mini-recovery with a 82-run stand, but the home spinners were in the thick of things after the lunch break.

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Marnus Labuschagne plays a cover drive during his classy knock of 49. Image Credit: ANI

Crucial wicket

Australia scored 98 runs in that session but also lost six wickets with Jadeja as the wrecker-in-chief, while off-spinner Ashwin (3-42) played the second fiddle.

Left-arm spinner Jadeja lured Labuschagne out of the crease to be stumped and dismissed Matt Renshaw for a first-ball duck with the next delivery to be on a hat-trick.

While that feat eluded him, Jadeja claimed the crucial wicket of Smith with an extra delivery he had to bowl for having sent down a no-ball earlier in that over.

Alex Carey realised the futility of trying to hang around and decided to counter-attack.

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Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin celebrates after dismissing Alex Carey for his 450th Test wicket. Image Credit: ANI

Ashwin's landmark

Carey hit seven boundaries in his 36 but his 33-ball cameo ended after he fluffed a reverse sweep against Ashwin, who became the second Indian bowler — after Anil Kumble — to claim 450 Test wickets.

Murphy scored a duck in his debut Test and Peter Handscomb, picked ahead of Travis Head, made 31 before falling to Jadeja, who claimed 5-47 in his return from a knee injury suffered last year.

“I was looking to bowl into the stumps because there was no bounce on the wicket,” Jadeja told the official broadcasters.

“So I was targeting the stump-to-stump line and that helped me.

Early indication

“The odd ball was spinning and the odd ball was going straight, so that is what I was looking to do.”

His captain Rohit gave an early indication of India’s batting approach hitting counterpart Cummins for three boundaries in the first over of the innings.

Murphy broke the flourishing 76-run opening stand when he took a return catch to remove KL Rahul (20) for his maiden Test wicket.

Delhi, Dharamsala and Ahmedabad host the other matches of the four-Test series.

— With inputs from AFP