Smith, Warner give Australia steady start

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Smith, Warner give Australia steady start 

Dharamsala, March 25 (IANS) Skipper Steven Smith and David Warner scored half-centuries as Australia made a steady start in their first innings on the opening day of the fourth and final cricket Test against India here on Saturday.

Smith was batting on 72 and looked on course for his third century of the series while Warner made the most of the life he got in the very first ball of the match to be unbeaten on 54 at the other end as the visitors reached 131/1 in their first innings at lunch.

The duo added 121 runs between them in the morning session after the early dismissal of young opener Matt Renshaw.

For India, fast bowler Umesh Yadav returned figures of 1/29. Left arm-spinner Ravindra Jadeja troubled both Australian batsmen and was unlucky not to bag a wicket in the morning session.

Electing to bat first after winning the toss at the picturesque Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) Stadium, the Australians suffered their first blow when Renshaw was bowled by Umesh in the second over of the day.

The 20-year-old opener faced just five balls before trying to drive an Umesh outswinger which came in after pitching. The ball found the gap between bat and pad before crashing into the stumps.

At the other end, Warner also had a shaky start. The experienced opener had a lucky escape in the very first ball of the day when he offered a thick outside to a Bhuvneshwar Kumar delivery.

A diving Karun Nair at third slip managed to put his fingers on the ball but was unable to hold on as the ball went on to reach the boundary.

But with Smith joining Warner in the middle the two batsmen gradually managed to find their feet.

Smith, who has been in superb form in this series, handled the Indian bowlers with ease, hitting 10 boundaries during the 101 deliveries he has faced so far.

Warner, who adopted his trademark aggressive style after recovering from his early struggles, was also going great guns with eight boundaries apart from a six over the mid-off fence off the bowling of Ravichandran Ashwin.

Warner survived another close call around 20 minutes before lunch when he tried to drive a Jadeja delivery and the ball took the outside edge before going past the outstretched hand of the slip fielder on its way to the boundary.

Brief Scores:

Australia (First Innings): 131/1 (Steven Smith 72 batting, David Warner 54 batting; Umesh Yadav 1/29) vs India.

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