Brisbane, Dec. 6 (Reuters): India needed only one delivery to mop up Australia’s first innings on Saturday before heavy rain washed out their chances of making a significant reply in the first Test at the Gabba.
Australia finished with a first innings total of 323 after their worst batting collapse on home soil in a decade. India were 11 without loss when more showers forced play to be abandoned early on the third day.
Only 38 balls were bowled after the start was delayed for six hours. Less than 85 overs have been completed in the first three days. The umpires will try to make up some of the lost time on the final two days. The weather men had encouraging news for the fans with clear skies forecast for Sunday and the day after.
Australia, resuming at 323 for nine, decided against a declaration but lost their last wicket immediately when tail-ender Stuart MacGill, on one, took a wild swing and top-edged a short ball from Ajit Agarkar to Akash Chopra at short third man.
After looking to be in complete control at 262 for two on the opening day, Australia’s last eight wickets fell for 55 runs. It was the worst Australian collapse at home since Allan Border’s team lost nine wickets for 60 against South Africa in Sydney in 1993-94. Agarkar finished with three for 90. Left-arm paceman Zaheer Khan was the pick of the bowlers with five for 95.
The Indian openers, Akash Chopra and Virender Sehwag, faced a hostile six-over burst from Jason Gillespie and Nathan Bracken. Gillespie, returning after missing the Indian tour because of side-strain, looked sharp but Chopra showed neat footwork against the aggressive fast bowler.Sehwag could once drive Bracken on the onside but he had problems in picking the bowler’s line who mostly bowled inswinging deliveries at the openers.
Although the wet conditions helped the ball swing, the dampness meant Gillespie and Bracken could not hit the maximum speed they were capable of.