Brisbane Test: Indian openers fire in morning session

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Old 17-Dec-2014
Post Brisbane Test: Indian openers fire in morning session

India eased to lunch on 89 for one after winning the toss and electing to bat first on the opening day of the second Test against Australia at a sweltering Gabba in Brisbane on Wednesday.

Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan put together India's first half-century opening partnership in an away Test for more than three years before they were separated when Dhawan slashed wildly at a Mitch Marsh delivery to be caught behind for 24.

Vijay survived a scare of his own in the following over when he was dropped by Shaun Marsh at gully off the bowling of Mitch Johnson and reached the break on 46 not out with Cheteshwar Pujara alongside him on 15.

Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, returning to lead the side after missing the first Test defeat with a thumb injury, will have been pleased with his team's start on a bouncy surface which was expected to favour Australia's fast bowlers.

The hosts, who have not lost a Test at the Gabba since 1988, overhauled their pace attack for the match with Josh Hazlewood winning his first cap and left-armer Mitch Starc recalled to the side in place of Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle.

Johnson, whose bowling shattered England in the Ashes opener at the Gabba last year, got a bit of early movement but there was no real fire and the Indian openers started the scoreboard ticking over.

They reached the 50 partnership, India's first such opening stand on the road since the Lord's Test of 2011, when Dhawan slapped a Johnson ball off his pads to deep square leg for a run four. All-rounder Mitch Marsh made the breakthrough in the following over, however, when his short, wide delivery elicited an equally poor shot from Dhawan and Brad Haddin snaffled up the top edge behind the stumps.

Haddin retained his vice captaincy but it was Steve Smith who was handed a blazer before the start of play to signify his becoming Australia's 45th Test skipper as a stand-in for the injured Michael Clarke.

India also made three changes with Dhoni replacing Wriddhiman Saha, all rounder Ravichandran Ashwin coming in for leg spinner Karn Sharma and fast bowler Umesh Yadav replacing Mohammed Shami.

Australia won the first Test in Adelaide by 48 runs at the weekend to take a 1-0 lead in the four-match series, which was rejigged in the wake of the death of Phillip Hughes.

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