Five-star Jadeja shines on his return as India dominate Australia

By Sports Desk February 09, 2023

Ravindra Jadeja marked his comeback with a five-wicket haul as Australia were bowled out cheaply by India on day one of the Test series at Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium.

Much of the talk ahead of the match in Nagpur was over the condition of the pitch and Jadeja took centre stage with the ball, where the tourists collapsed to 177 all out after Pat Cummins won the toss and elected to bat.

Jadeja, playing his first international since August after undergoing knee surgery, took 5-47 and Ravichandran Ashwin (3-42) reached the 450 Test-wicket milestone in fewer matches than any other India bowler as Australia folded from 84-2.

India were 77-1 at stumps in reply as part of a great start to their quest to lift the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Rohit Sharma unbeaten on 56 as both sides bid to secure a place in the World Test Championship final at The Oval in June.

Australia were reduced to 2-2 with Mohammed Siraj trapping Usman Khawaja leg before wicket with an outswinger before Mohammed Shami sent David Warner's off stump flying.

Marnus Labuschagne (49) and Steve Smith (37) put on 82 for the third wicket, but Jadeja had the number three stumped and was on a hat-trick after getting Matt Renshaw lbw early in the afternoon session.

Spinning all-rounder Jadeja struck a huge blow by bowling Smith through the gate, but Peter Handscomb – preferred to Travis Head – and Alex Carey briefly steadied the ship with a stand of 53.

Ashwin then came to the fore to join the 450 club, cleaning up Carey (36) and sending Cummins on his way before Jadeja got rid of debutant Todd Murphy without scoring and Handscomb (31).

Tweaker Ashwin saw the back of Scott Boland to end Australia's innings in the 64th over, and although Murphy had KL Rahul caught and bowled late in the day, Rohit was still there at stumps along with nightwatchman Ashwin.

Jadeja has his day in the sun

As he prepared to make his comeback this week, Jadeja said he "hadn't felt the sun for about five months" during his recovery.

Australia felt the heat as the left-armer shone on day one of the four-match series, claiming his 11th five-wicket Test haul.

This was his fourth five-wicket Test haul against Australia, the most he has claimed against any nation. Since the 34-year-old's debut in December 2012, only Stuart Broad (six) and Ashwin (five) have picked up more against Australia.

Ashwin second-fastest to 450

It was another day to remember for Ashwin, who took his tally of wickets in the longest format to 450 in his 89th match.

That beat the previous India record held by Anil Kumble, who reached that incredible tally in 93 contests. Only Muttiah Muralitharan got to the landmark in fewer matches, the Sri Lanka spinner achieving the feat in his 80th Test.

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