Australia won the toss and batted, omitting Michael Beer who was replaced by Ryan Harris as pace was considered to be more important on this dead looking pitch. Mitchell Starc won his fourth Test in place of the injured James Pattinson, who is already under physiotherapists hands back home.
Ed Cowan was out without playing a shot in the second over to Ravi Rampaul, always a foolish practice on the first morning with a new ball coming at you.
Shane Watson and Dave Warner added the day's best stand of 83 for the second wicket but not without plenty of incident. Warner, playing without regard to the conditions, shouldn't have got past 5 when Darren Sammy dropped yet another sitter at third slip from Rampaul in the 8th over. He continued to play risky shots, attempting sweeps from Shillingford when he came on that were full of the threat of dismissal. The pair made it to lunch with no further loss but it was slow, hard work. Watson was dropped in close by Adrian Barath from Shillingford after lunch and lasted only another half hour before Sammy removed him at the end of a long spell when he dropped short and Watson sent a free hit to Narsingh Deonarine at mid wicket. After such hard work, it was a waste. When drinks were taken with Ponting at the wicket, 15 runs had been added in the hour in as many overs. Three overs later, Warner hit a ball straight to cover point where Kieran Powell held a simple catch.
|Sammy catches Hussey|
Mitchell Starc is a much better bat than most in the tail but his next hour was a succession of lofted drives down the wicket off Shillingford and for the rest of the time, he had less idea than the average liberal back bencher. Matthew Wade took up Warner's challenge and swept at Shillingford, almost exclusively unsuccessfully but handled the faster men reasonably well, although Rampaul bowled a good spell at him with the old ball. The pair will take up the fight in the morning against a fresh Roach and a hungry Rampaul before Shillingford swings in behind them in search of the first five wicket haul of his short career. He has already become the first Dominican to play Test cricket on his home ground.