(Updates at tea)
By Ian Ransom
ADELAIDE, Dec 6 (Reuters) - Australia spinner Nathan Lyon struck twice to expose India’s tail as the tourists staggered to 143 for six at tea on day one of the series-opening test on Thursday.
Cheteshwar Pujara was 46 not out, with Ravichandran Ashwin on five, after the canny Lyon dismissed Rohit Sharma for 37 and wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant for 25 on a scorching hot day at Adelaide Oval.
Having won the toss and elected to bat, India resumed after lunch on 56 for four after a disastrous morning of batsmen falling to Australia’s pacemen with a slew of poor shots.
Pujara and Rohit Sharma, recalled at the expense of Hanuma Vihari, were pinned down after the break by disciplined bowling and the latter tried to break the shackles by attacking Lyon.
He slog-swept the spinner for six but it was a risky play as debutant Marcus Harris leaped to catch the ball just behind the rope before tossing it back inside in a failed bid to save runs.
Rohit was out next ball with another ham-fisted attempt to clear the short square boundary, skying a simple catch to the same fielder after Lyon had pitched the ball shorter.
Rishabh Pant was greeted with fierce pace from Mitchell Starc, who beat the young wicketkeeper’s bat twice in succession and followed up the deliveries with verbal assaults.
He responded in turn by smashing Starc for six behind square to bring up India’s 100th run and then sent an edge flying past the slips for four.
It was a short-lived resistance, though, and he was out soon after the drinks break when he feathered an edge to Australia skipper Tim Paine off a pearl of a delivery from Lyon.
India lost 41 for four in the morning to Australia’s fired-up seamers.
Usman Khawaja flew in the gully for a brilliant one-handed catch to remove Virat Kohli for three after both the openers fell cheaply.
Kohli, who is hoping to lead India to their first series win in Australia, fell in Pat Cummins’s first over with Khawaja leaping at full stretch to pluck the ball out of the air with his left hand.
“Stuck my hand out and it stuck. It’s nice when they do stick,” said Khawaja.
“It was a good little momentum-goer too, because we got a couple of early ones ... and we got a few more so it was nice.”
Seamer Josh Hazlewood grabbed two wickets in the morning session, removing Ajinkya Rahane (13) and the out-of-form Lokesh Rahul (2).
Starc removed Murali Vijay for a streaky 11, the recalled batsman edging another rash shot behind to Paine. (Editing by Nick Mulvenney)