Sydney, January 7
Will Pucovski scored a half century on debut to help Australia to 93 for one at tea after rain washed out four hours of the first day of the third Test against India on Thursday.
The 22-year-old rode his luck to reach 54 not out at the break after twice being dropped behind the stumps by wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant and surviving a run-out scare. Marnus Labuschagne was unbeaten on 34 at the other end.
Australia captain Tim Paine won the toss and chose to send his reworked opening partnership of Pucovski and David Warner to face the Indian attack under cloudy skies at Sydney Cricket Ground.
Warner missed the first two Tests in the series with a groin injury and there will be questions over just how fit he was after he departed for five runs after pushing a Mohammed Siraj delivery to Cheteshwar Pujara in the slips.
The rain descended soon afterwards with only seven overs completed, a disappointing start to a much-anticipated match in a series well-poised at 1-1 after the first two contests in Adelaide and Melbourne.
Pucovski made an assured start to his Test career but India will be desperately disappointed to face the 22-year-old in the final session.
On 26, he got a feather of an edge to a Ravichandran Ashwin delivery but Pant dropped the catch cold behind the stumps.
Pucovski had added another six runs to his tally when he gloved the ball behind to give Pant a chance to redeem himself.
Although the wicketkeeper scurried back and leapt high to reach the ball, he was adjudged to have trapped it on the ground on the way down and Pucovski was recalled to the crease.
A mix-up with Labuschagne as the pair went for a third run when Pucovski was on 37 left the debutant stranded at the wrong end but the throw from the Indian fielder was poor and he survived to bat on.
A pulled four to the onside saw Pucovski reach the half century mark just before the tea break as rain clouds gathered ominously on the horizon.
After a second outbreak of COVID-19 in Sydney, the match was being played in front of a reduced attendance of around 10,000 fans with the wearing of masks compulsory for fans except when they are eating or drinking. Reuters