Debutant Pucovski helps Australia take early control in crunch India Test

Hosts reach end of rain-affected opening day two down with Smith at the crease in Sydney

Australia’s Will Pucovski made a half century on Test debut in Sydney. Photograph: David Gray/Getty/AFP

Australia’s Will Pucovski made a half century on Test debut in Sydney. Photograph: David Gray/Getty/AFP

 

Australia debutant Will Pucovski hit a maiden half-century on a rain-affected first day of the third Test against India with the four-match series delicately poised at 1-1.

More than 30 overs were lost to rain in Sydney but there was enough time for the opener to make a positive impression in red-ball cricket with a score of 62 to help the hosts end on 166 for two.

David Warner, on his return from injury, was out cheaply to Mohammed Siraj and not long after the heavens opened.

Rain forced lunch to be taken early, but the covers were cleared before tea and Australia’s debutant was able to make the most of two lives.

India wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant put down Pucovski twice and was made to pay before the 110-ball innings of the Victoria batsman was ended after he was pinned in front lbw to Navdeep Saini.

Number three Marnus Labuschagne had played patiently to move into the thirties before the opener’s dismissal and went on to a ninth half-century in Test cricket while Steve Smith looked in great touch to close on 31 not out and ensure it was advantage Australia at the end of day one.

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