PERTH •Despite several of their top-order batsmen failing to capitalise on promising starts, Australia were still pleased with their overall position at the end of the first day of the second cricket Test against India yesterday.
A century opening partnership after captain Tim Paine won the toss and elected to bat appeared to lay the foundation for a sizeable total on a tricky pitch at the Perth Stadium, Test cricket's newest venue.
But openers Marcus Harris (70) and Aaron Finch (50) were among a number of top-order players who could not build the big individual score Australia craved on a day when temperatures hit 39 deg C.
At stumps, the home side were 277 for six, with Paine on 16 and Pat Cummins on 11, with a crowd of 20,746 braving the heat to be part of history on the first day of Test cricket at the venue, following a 47-year run at the Waca.
Most fans, however, spent much of the day at the 60,000-capacity stadium seeking refuge.
Given the sweltering conditions and the battering Australia took after losing the first Test in Adelaide by 31 runs, Finch declared his satisfaction with his team's work.
"I thought we batted really well today," he said, adding that the wicket presented "some challenges". "The position we are in, we would have taken that at the start of the day."
India dropped two catches and ended the day with concerns of their own. Paceman Ishant Sharma, who claimed two wickets, briefly left the field late on with what team officials said was cramp.
Their batsmen would also have been slightly alarmed by some of the variable bounce.
But recalled batsman Hanuma Vihari, who picked up two wickets, including a delivery that removed Harris, insisted their batsmen would not be concerned by the bounce on day two today.
"The first hour tomorrow is crucial," he said. "If we can get them out for less than 320, we are back in the game. (We must not) think about those aspects too much."
Australia are keen to christen their new home by ending a run of six Tests without a win against an India side seeking their first series win Down Under.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS
AUSTRALIA V INDIA
2nd Test, Day 2: Singtel TV Ch123 & StarHub Ch236, 10.20am