Pune - Australia's
Matt Renshaw admitted he feared he had let his team-mates down by
leaving the fray with an upset stomach before returning to hit a gritty
half-century in the first Test against India on Thursday.
In the opening day of a four-match series between the world's top two
sides, Renshaw's innings and some late Mitchell Starc fireworks pulled
Australia back from the brink as they reached 256 for nine at stumps.
Starc has so far made 57 off 58 balls and Josh Hazlewood was with him
at the crease on one at Pune's Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium.
Indian seamer Umesh Yadav claimed four wickets while the spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja took two each.
The left-handed Renshaw was the anchor of the innings, top-scoring
with 68, although it was Starc who provided the entertainment and caused
a rethink in assessments of who had the better of the day.
All had seemed calm with Renshaw for most of the morning session but
when David Warner fell with the scores on 82, the English-born batsman
caused a stir by following his opening partner back to the pavilion.
As news filtered out that he had an upset stomach, the 20-year-old
Renshaw became the talk of social media with even the famously tough
former Australian captain Allan Border weighing in.
"Hope he's lying down half-dead, because as a captain I wouldn't be
happy," Border wrote on Twitter as Renshaw lay on his sick-bed.
But after Australian skipper Steve Smith fell for 27 just before the
tea break, Renshaw then strode back to the crease to register his second
Test fifty in his fifth game.
Renshaw said he had been feeling unwell for most of the morning and
had tried to tough it out before deciding he had to leg it off the
"It was tough. I wasn't too sure on the ruling, I didn't know you
could retire ill so I thought I just had to get out there and make sure I
batted till lunch," he told reporters.
"It wasn't an ideal situation and coming back it was probably a bit
strange for me, waiting to bat because as an opener you just go straight
out there and bat."
Renshaw admitted his captain Smith "wasn't too thrilled" about his retirement just before the break.
"But he understands that when you need to go to the toilet, you need to go to the toilet," he said.
"It was probably a couple of hours before I came back but I felt
bad knowing that I could be letting the team down - that's why I went
back out there.
"I wanted to do my bit for the team and try and make sure we had a pretty good day."
Renshaw struck 10 fours and a six during his 156-ball stay which
ended when he edged a ball from Ashwin and was caught by Murali Vijay in
His dismissal was swiftly followed by the departure of Steve O'Keefe
and Nathan Lyon who both fell for ducks off consecutive Umesh
Warner, who had tackled the Indian spinners with good feet movement,
was the first of Umesh's four victims, falling to a good length delivery
that hit the bat en route to stumps just before the lunch break.
"There was some movement, there was a bit of reverse swing as well. I
tried to keep the ball on the up," Umesh said of Warner's wicket.
"It is a turning wicket and reverse swing is always helpful on such pitches."
Lyon's dismissal meant the visitors - who have a dreadful recent
record on the sub-continent - had slumped from 119/1 to 205 for nine
before Starc put on an unbeaten 51-run stand with Hazlewood.
Starc, better known for his fast-bowling, caught the Indian attack by
surprise by carting them around the ground in a blistering innings
which featured five boundaries and three sixes. It was the ninth Test
The match is the first in a four-Test series between the world's two top-ranked sides.