|Third Test, Sydney Cricket Ground (day one):|
|Australia 166-2: Labuschagne 67*, Pucovski 62|
|India: Yet to bat|
Opener Will Pucovski hit 62 on his much-anticipated Test debut as Australia had the better of the opening day of the third Test against India.
Highly rated 22-year-old Pucovski impressed until he was trapped lbw by fellow debutant Navdeep Saini.
Marnus Labuschagne ended a rain-shortened day 67 not out in Sydney as Australia closed on 166-2.
Steve Smith was 31 not out – his best score of the series – but David Warner fell for five on his injury return.
Pucovski was dropped twice by India wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant – on 26 and 32 – but looked composed, scoring freely on both sides of the wicket after a patient start.
Long-tipped as a future Test star, the right-hander’s career has been hampered by mental health issues and a series of concussions – both cricket-related and otherwise.
He combined with Labuschagne in a stand of 100 after Warner edged a drive to first slip in the fourth over.
Labuschange added an unbroken 60 with Smith as both sides look to take the lead in a competitive four-match series currently tied at 1-1.
Who is Will Pucovski?
- Scored a record-breaking 650 runs in a domestic state Under-19 competition in 2016, averaging 162.50 with four consecutive centuries.
- Made his first-class debut aged 18 and hit 188 from 414 balls aged 20 – his maiden first-class hundred.
- In 2018, became ninth player to score a double century in the Sheffield Shield before his 21st birthday.
- Progress has been slowed by nine concussions, the first of which was suffered in a game of Australian Rules Football as a teenager. Other concussions have been when hit by a bouncer, struck in the field and when diving to complete a run while batting.
- Took a break from cricket in 2018 for mental health reasons and did so again in 2019 after receiving his first Test call-up.
- Returned to cricket and toured England in 2019 alongside the Australia Ashes and World Cup squads but made himself unavailable for selection against Pakistan in 2019 to again manage his mental health.
- Scored back-to-back double centuries this season for Victoria.
‘A player of real talent’ – analysis
by Australian commentator Jim Maxwell, speaking to the Stumped podcast
“Pucovski played with a lot of assurance and it was very calm and impressive the way he stood up and played through the line.
“He had a little bit of luck but he hasn’t had much luck in the last 18 months with various things that have occurred around his cricket.
“He looks a player of real talent. He had plenty of time to play his shots and a number of boundaries he hit today indicated this is potentially a very special player we’re watching.
“It was a big day for him and he gave a very impressive interview at the end of the day. The kid has got his head screwed on, he’s nice and balanced and engaging in what he does, so I think we’re seeing the start of a pretty strong career potentially.”