India has hit back over criticism of footage showing Ravindra Jadeja applying cream to his finger and appearing to touch the ball on day one in Nagpur. FOLLOW LIVE.
Australia desperately needs quick wickets on day two in Nagpur after Rohit Sharma launched India to within 100 runs of its first innings total of 177.
Pat Cummins’ side was in a strong position at 2-84 before Marnus Labuschagne and Matthew Renshaw went in consecutive balls off Ravindra Jadeja.
The left-arm spinner was India’s hero on Thursday and Australia will need one of its bowlers to produce a similar display to stay in the Test match.
Debutant Todd Murphy has the only wicket after removing KL Rahul to have India 1-77 at stumps.
What will day two produce? Follow live with News Corp cricket writer Ben Horne.
2.40PM INDIA EXPLANATION FOR JADEJA BALL FOOTAGE
Indian team management has explained vision of star spinner Ravindra Jadeja appearing to apply a substance to the ball on day one in Nagpur.
According to ESPNCricinfo, Indian officials said Jadeja was “applying pain relief cream to the index finger of his bowling hand.”
The ESPN report noted Australia had not raised the incident with match referee Andy Pycroft.
CLARKE WEIGHS IN ON CONTROVERSIAL VISION
Former Australian captain Michael Clarke has suggested that controversial vision of Indian bowler Ravindra Jadeja wasn’t ball tampering.
Clarke agreed with reports out of India that the bowler was simply treating an injured finger but admitted the vision didn’t look good in isolation.
“He’s bowling so much so he’s probably got a blister or cut on that finger.” Clarke said on radio.
“What he should have done there, he should have given the ball to the umpire and stand in front of the umpire while he was putting it on his finger.“I don’t look at that and think it’s a thing.
“I just wish he didn’t have the ball in his hand. If he chucks the ball to the umpire and does that I don’t think there’s any comment made about that. It’s just the perception.“I don’t think there’s anything to it. I could be 100 per cent wrong.”
The controversy was started by a forensic fan on Twitter who posted a bizarre video of Ravindra Jadeja rubbing the ball during his bulldozing bowling performance.
Jadeja took a scintillating 5-47 and was the difference between the two teams in a superb return to Test cricket in Nagpur.
Agar’s Test future in doubt after Nagpur snubbing
By Peter Lalor
Travis Head’s exclusion was the biggest shock, but Ashton Agar’s exclusion from the first Test in India bodes ill for the left arm off spinner who captured Australia’s imagination with the bat on his Ashes debut all those years ago.
All of Agar’s cricket life was headed for this moment and this pitch.
Never was a wicket or a series better suited for a left arm orthodox. India’s cunning curators had designed a track that Agar could have only dreamt of.
If you can’t bowl here where can you bowl?
The selectors included him over Scott Boland in Sydney and while his performance there was sub par, the SCG is not the tailor made red clay of Nagpur.
Yes, Todd Murphy is rated as the second best spinner in the country, but even the third, fourth or fifth best left armer was sure to profit on this pitch.
Did selectors lose faith in Agar or did Agar lose faith in himself?
Perhaps it was a bit of both.
An intelligent man and a deep thinker, he never looked comfortable in the nets during preparation for the match.
Picked ahead of Nathan Lyon at Trent Bridge for his debut as a teenager, he was dropped after going wicketless in the second Test of that Ashes series, brought back for a pair of matches in Bangladesh in 2017 before being granted what looked like match practice in Sydney.
Should Murphy not work out he may be given another chance in the remaining three matches of this series, but as it stands it looks as if his only role on this tour is to carry drinks and provide net practice for his teammates.
Agar has been a regular member of the Australian ODI squad over the journey and as a consequence has missed a lot of first class cricket over the journey.
In November this year he was in the WACA nets having “a nice long bowl” with the red ball.
“I still have a desire to play red-ball cricket,” he was compelled to say.
The great problem Australian cricket faces with spin bowlers if finding exposure to red ball cricket. Four day Sheffield Shield games on wickets designed to get results make it difficult to create any depth in the slow bowling ranks.
Murphy, like Agar a decade before, is being thrown in at the deep end in the hope that he can swim. Or at least float.
The off spinner from Echuca has only played five Shield games.
Even Shane Warne had played seven before his debut in 1991.
Murphy is a phenomenal talent who impresses all who see him, he made his Australia A debut after two games.
He had a long meeting with captain Pat Cummins, the coaches and Nathan Lyon on the eve of the match, New Zealand legend and spin bowling coach Daniel Vettori is on hand to guide him in his preparation.
Vettori, made his debut after just two first class games for his country.
Both players began life as medium pacers. Vettori was convinced to give up seam bowling by his college head master and was just 18 when the new skill gave him entree to the national team.
Murphy was bowling medium pace at a rep trial in Shepparton when a chance encounter with former Victorian spinner Craig Howard changed the course of his life.
Howard, who was there to watch his son and had no involvement with the squad, saw the aspiring batsman sending down some off spin.
Murphy was bowling slow because he’d grown tired of his stock medium pace deliveries.
Howard mentioned to the coaches that he thought the teen was the best off spinner they had and changed the course of his life.
Murphy moved to Bendigo to play for Sandhurst where he was coached by Howard who lives in the Victorian city.
Australia’s decision to go with two off spinners is extraordinary but Ashton Agar has struggled with his rhythm since arriving in India.
The last time an Australian side played two off spinners was in 1988 when Peter Taylor and Tim May played across the border from India in Karachi.
Originally published as India v Australia: Follow all the action from the first Test in Nagpur