Rain put a major dampener on day one of the Third Test between Australia and India at the SCG but the hosts did enough to put themselves in a strong position led by debutant Will Pucovski.
Pucovski, 22, received his baggy green pre-game before opening the batting alongside David Warner, helping Australia reach 2-166 by stumps with only 55 overs bowled on a rain-affected day in Sydney.
The young Victorian, whose debut has been delayed by mental health and concussion issues, managed a gritty 62 from 110 balls before being trapped LBW by Navdeep Saini.
On his comeback from a groin injury, Warner was visibly hampered by the issue when running and didn’t last long, dismissed caught at first slip for 5 off Mohammed Siraj.
But Pucovski’s knock was a gratifying display given his off-field struggles, while Marnus Labuschagne (67no) and Steve Smith (31no) finished the day as the not out batsmen.
“It wasn’t the best sleep I’ve ever had,” Pucovski said after day one, referring to the night of Test eve. The young Victorian appeared nervous initially but also assured once he settled.
“In my head I think I’d built up I was going to be ridiculously nervous, and it wasn’t that bad in the end.”
Pucovski’s selection came at the expense of South Australian middle-order batsman Travis Head, who had managed scores of 7, 38 and 17 this series.
Across 19 Tests, Head has only managed two centuries for Australia, although one was only four matches ago against New Zealand, albeit that was the 2019 Boxing Day Test, more than 12 months ago.
Youngster Cameron Green retained his spot despite only debuting in the First Test having produced steady displays with both bat and ball. Pucovski’s inclusion meant Matthew Wade shuffled down the order from opener.