India make breakthroughs but Australia on top

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Sydney, Jan 6 (IANS) Openers Chris Rogers (95) and David Warner (101) gave Australia the perfect start against India in the fourth and final cricket Test by striking a first wicket partnership of 200 runs as the hosts went into the tea break with the score on 242 for two at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) here Tuesday.

After a brilliant first session of play for Australia, the home side added 119 more runs but lost Warner and Rogers in the 32 overs in the post-lunch session.

Skipper Steven Smith (28 batting) and Shane Watson (10 batting) were at the crease when tea was called.

Smith won the toss and decided to bat and in came Rogers and Warner who gave the home side a solid, flying start.

Indian bowlers – Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami and Ravichandran Ashwin – were hammered all over the ground in the 28 overs bowled in the first session.

Having already lost the series 0-2, India went in to the final Test making four changes to the squad.

Wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma and Bhuvneshwar came in to replace retired Mahendra Singh Dhoni, opener Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara and pace bowler Ishant Sharma.

However, the changes bore no fruit as the Australian openers came out to bat with an attacking mindset.

Warner scored his 12th Test century while Rogers struck his fifth consecutive half-century but fell five short of his fifth hundred.

Warner’s blazing innings was caressed with 16 half centuries and while trying to accelerate he edged one of spinner Ashwin to hand India their first success of the morning.

Rogers followed him back in the next over as he played on a Shami delivery, shattering his stumps.

Earlier, in the morning the only real chance India had was when Rogers edged a seaming Shami delivery which first went into Lokesh Rahul’s hands at second slip and in the same second, the ball popped out. It was the eighth over with the score reading 46 runs with Rogers batting on 19.

There was an emotional moment towards the end of the first session when Warner reached 63 not out, bent down and kissed the turf as a tribute to the late cricketer Phillip Hughes, who on this very ground was struck by a bouncer Nov 25 which eventually led to his tragic death two days later.

Hughes was also batting on 63 not out in the first class match when the bouncer hit the back of his head.

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