Rohit century joy for India, Jadeja and Axar pile on runs after Murphy burst

By Sports Desk February 10, 2023

Rohit Sharma completed a century for India on day two of the first Test against Australia – but that was just the start of the suffering for the tourists in Nagpur.

It proved to be a grim day for Australia, despite Todd Murphy, a 22-year-old Victoria off-spinner, taking five wickets on debut.

India racked up 321-7 by the close, leading by 144 after Australia were dismissed for 177 on day one at Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium.

Ravindra Jadeja followed up his five-wicket haul by leading a lower-order assault on Friday, sharing in an ongoing eighth-wicket stand of 81 with Axar Patel, both men making fifties. Jadeja reached 66 not out, with Axar 52no.

Rohit had lost opening partner KL Rahul just before the close on Thursday, so he returned in the morning looking for others to provide support, and it proved to be in limited supply.

Ravichandran Ashwin fell for 23, given out lbw after a review from Australia, and Cheteshwar Pujara (7), Virat Kohli (12) and Suryakumar Yadav (8) all went cheaply as India struggled to cope with the Australian spinners. Nathan Lyon coaxed out Suryakumar with a teasing delivery the batter went after but missed, the ball clattering into off stump.

Stability at the other end finally arrived in the shape of Jadeja, who helped to put on 61 for the sixth wicket before Rohit fell for 120, perishing to the new ball, Australia captain Pat Cummins uprooting his off stump moments after Steve Smith dropped the century-maker at slip.

That left India on 229-6 and Jadeja went on to reach a gritty half-century, while Murphy completed his five-wicket haul by having Srikar Bharat (8) pinned lbw, again getting the decision on review.

Axar's arrival helped India take the game away from Australia though, and when slip fielder Smith dropped Jadeja from the penultimate delivery of the day, frustration was etched across the face of every tourist.

Rohit's Australia breakthrough

In his eighth Test against Australia, Rohit made it to three figures for the first time. He previously had five 40-plus scores, but his highest score was the 63no he managed at Melbourne in the 2018 Boxing Day Test. This was his ninth Test century in all, and his first since making 127 against England at The Oval in September 2021.

It made Rohit, at the age of 35 years and 286 days, just the second India opener to score a Test century against Australia after turning 35, with Sunil Gavaskar the first to manage the feat.

Jadeja doubles up

This marks the sixth Test where Jadeja has taken five wickets in an innings and hit a half-century. Back in action after recovering from knee surgery, he is continuing where he left off with the bat against England last July, having hit a century at Edgbaston, albeit in a losing cause on that occasion.

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