A BREATHTAKING debut by Moises Henriques was the one shining light in an otherwise inglorious start to Australia’s four Test campaign in India this week.
The St George cricket captain starred for Australia, hitting back-to-back half centuries to keep his side in the contest. He combined with skipper Michael Clarke for a 151-run, sixth wicket partnership in the first innings before falling to Ravichandran Ashwin for 68 in Australia’s loss.
‘‘It’s been a fantastic experience,’’ Henriques said. ‘‘Whether I contributed or not just to be able to play Test cricket is amazing.
‘‘I think after day one or two to be on the same field as Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni, Harbhajan Singh and Michael Clarke, you’ve just got to keep pinching yourself but to obviously contributed [was great].’’
As wickets fell around him, Henriques became Australia’s mainstay in the second dig. He hit an unbeaten 81 to save Australia from an innings defeat.
‘‘It’s a very tough wicket to start on,’’ Henriques said. ‘‘I had a couple of balls hit my gloves very early on in the innings. I was lucky that those balls went straight to ground.’’
India cruised to an eight-wicket victory and left Australia searching for answers ahead of the second Test, starting this Saturday.
Henriques, who took one wicket from 17 overs in the first innings, is a certain starter but those around him are not as secure.
With Australia likely to call on back-up spinner Xavier Doherty at the expense of a pace bowler, Henriques is likely to be expected to bowl more. The selectors will debate whether to rest the in-form James Pattinson or drop left-arm paceman Mitchell Starc.
‘‘I think it’s terrific as cricketers that we get to go to different nations and experience different conditions, otherwise, it’ll get a bit monotonous,’’ Henriques said.
‘‘It’s so different to what we get in Australia. Getting out there is so enjoyable even if you get hit on the glove and survive.
‘‘Even though it is different, it is frustrating when you get out, but you have to enjoy it because it’s different. I think it’s terrific that cricket is such a world game and having so different types of conditions.’’
Sutherland’s Shane Watson made an indifferent start to his Test return from injury. He scored 28 in the first innings batting at No.4 before hitting just 17 when he opened the innings instead of David Warner, who was battling a stomach bug.
Watson fell to Ashwin in each innings.
‘‘It was easier when you spent more time out there,’’ Henriques said.
DREAM TEST DEBUT
Top scored in Australia’s second innings with 81 not out.
Also scored 68 in his first innings.
Took 1/48 from 17 overs and claimed a catch.
What did you make of Moises’s debut?
Moises Henriques bats during a Sheffield Shield match between NSW Blues and Western Australia Warriors at Blacktown in January. Picture: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images.
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