Cheteshwar Pujara slammed his 18th century and his third of the series to help India reach 303/4 at stumps on day 1 of the Sydney Test. Virat Kohli won an important toss but KL Rahul's miserable form continued as he fell cheaply for 9. Mayank Agarwal showed he was high on confidence with a brilliant 77 and his 116-run stand with Pujara steadied the ship. However, Agarwal squandered a chance to score a century as he holed out to Mitchell Starc off Nathan Lyon. Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane fell cheaply but Pujara notched up his third century of the series and his partnership with Hanuma Vihari has given India a decisive advantage as they head into day 2 of the Test. (SCORECARD)
That is stumps on day 1. Cheteshwar Pujara has been simply sublime and his efforts have put India in a great position. For Australia, it was another day of toil.
India have crossed 300 on the first day. With two overs to go, Pujara will be hoping to get through the day without any hassles.
Pujara and Rahane are ending the day on the ultimate high as they look to weather this period of the new ball.
The partnership between Pujara and Vihari has gone past fifty as India near 300.
The second new ball has been taken and Cheteshwar Pujara continues his great form. India are nearing 300 and Australia will be hoping to strike gold with this new nut.
CENTURY! What a player. What a performer. Cheteshwar Pujara, take a bow. Slams his 18th century and his third in the series with a flick. Raises his bat and acknowledges the applause. Another match-winning ton in progress, one feels.
Brute of a delivery from Starc. A bouncer bowled from round the wicket and it climbs on Rahane, he tries to drop his wrists but the ball brushes the glove and Paine leaps to take the catch. Fantastic stuff and Australia have another opening. Hanuma Vihari gets off the mark with a boundary. Australia will be gunning for one more wicket.
Pujara enters the 90s now with a couple of boundaries off Mitchell Starc, one a whip through deep midwicket and the other a cracking cut shot past deep backward point.
Pujara and Rahane are maintaining their composure as India make steady progress. Rahane is tackling Lyon well while Pujara moves to his hundred.
Pujara moves into the 80s with some magnificent shots. He gets to the pitch of a flighted delivery from Nathan Lyon by dancing down the track and and then whipping a flighted delivery to the long on fence.
Australia are bowling tight lines to Rahane and Pujara but the hosts are not able to dislodge Pujara, who has now played over 1050 deliveries on tour.
WICKET! What a massive blow but a soft dismissal. Short ball down the leg side from Hazlewood, Kohli looks to glance it but the ball touches the glove and Tim Paine dives to his left to take the catch. Superb stuff from Australia and the captain goes for 23.
That is tea and India are in a strong position at 177/2. Pujara the star yet again.
Cheteshwar Pujara, what consistency. Reaches his 21st fifty with a pull shot of Labuschagne. It has been a splendid and career-defining tour of Pujara and his exploits might go a long way in India clinching this series.
Oh close! Kohli gets into an awkward tangle as to whether he should play or leave the ball. Cummins gets a back of a length delivery to rear up outside off and Kohli is late in withdrawing the bat, in the end, the ball hits the bottom edge and goes past the gap at slip and gully.
Kohli glances Pat Cummins to the fine leg fence as India are playing sensibly for the Tea break. Australia are searching for another breakthrough.
Kohli and Pujara are making steady progress but the scoring rate has dropped ever since the departure of Mayank Agarwal. Australia are bowling tight lines.
Virat Kohli gets going with a brilliant cover drive off Hazlewood to the deep extra cover fence. Australia are hunting for a couple of more wickets and if they get Kohli cheaply, it will be gold dust.
Oh Mayank Agarwal! What have you done? A century was in the offing and he has squandered it again. He miscues the flighted ball from Lyon to hole out to Starc at long on. After all the attack, he has missed the opportunity like he did in Melbourne. However, unlike here, he was undone by a good ball from Cummins at the MCG.
The partnership between Agarwal and Pujara goes past 100 and it is brought up in style with Agarwal hammering Lyon over long on for the first six of the game.
Mayank Agarwal, take a bow. Hits his second fifty as India make great progress in the second session. The pressure is on Australia at this moment.
Welcome back to the second session. Agarwal and Pujara continue to make solid progress as Australia toil away for another wicket. The Australians are trying all kinds of lengths to unsettle the batsmen.
That is lunch on day 1 of the Sydney Test. Both Pujara and Agarwal are batting well and both batsmen survived a short pitched barrage by the Australian bowlers. India have reached 69/1 and are in a good position to reach a solid total
The partnership between Pujara and Agarwal has gone past fifty. Australia need to break this stand quickly otherwise, they are all set for a repeat in Melbourne.
Agarwal finds yet another boundary to the third man fence as he nears a well-deserved fifty. Pujara, on the other hand, has been simply sensational and solid in defence.
Agarwal is holoding on firmly against the short-pitched barrage dished out by Mitchell Starc. One hit him on the forearm while the other leapt off the pitch and hit him on the glove to go over the slips to third man.
Australia opt for the review against a catch for Cheteshwar Pujara. The ball darted back in off the seam and Pujara played slightly outside the line of the delivery, the ball misses the inside edge and the original NOT OUT decision stays.
Mayank Agarwal is getting some treatment on his elbow in which he was hit by a bouncer from Starc. Slight hold-up in play.
While this is the first Test of 2019, the first ODI of 2019 will take place between New Zealand and Sri Lanka at Mount Maunganui. Kane Williamson's side have won the toss and elected to bat. You can follow live updates here
Pujara and Agarwal are growing in confidence, especially Agarwal. He pounces on a full ball from Mitchell Starc as he slams the cover drive to the boundary, his third so far.
Agarwal gets another boundary as he steers Pat Cummins to the third man fence. This partnership is looking solid and both are looking to repeat their heroics of Melbourne.
Pat Cummins is into the attack, replacing Mitchell Starc and Agarwal grows in confidence by creaming a full ball to the deep extra cover fence.
Pujara and Agarwal are scoring at a decent rate. The pitch is still fresh and Australia would be wanting to take a few wickets quickly.
Mayank Agarwal gets off the mark with a couple as he punches a full ball from Mitchell Starc to the long off region. One feels the duo of Agarwal and Cheteshwar Pujara hold the key for India in this session.
All the Indian players are wearing a black armband after Ramakant Achrekar, the individual who gave Indian cricket Sachin Tendulkar along with a host of other cricket stars, died at the age of 86 on January 2. Achrekar indeed was the coach who redefined the art of coaching.
WICKET! KL Rahul falls cheaply again. Fourth time Josh Hazlewood has gotten his wicket. Full ball and a hint of shape away outside off, Rahul pokes at it and the edge is taken by Shaun Marsh at first slip.
Rahul gets off the mark with a streaky boundary to the third man fence. Starc angles a full ball just outside off and Rahul is tentative as he edges the ball between third slip and gully.
The national anthems are done. Mitchell Starc will open the bowling with three slips and a gully in place. All set for the first Test of 2019.
One gets a feeling this is the last chance for Shaun Marsh. A failure in Sydney could result in his omission for the next series against Sri Lanka and possibly even the Ashes.
So, for the first time, a Karnataka duo will open the batting for India in a Test. Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul, two close friends, will take on the new ball and they hopefully will give India a good start.
The plan for Australia is simple. They must make full use of the first hour when the grass and wicket are fresh. After that, the Sydney pitch will be an absolute belter. Maybe, it might be a good idea to open the bowling with Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood rather than Mitchell Starc, who has struggled for rhythm and consistency.
Here are the playing XIs of both the sides. Australia have included Peter Handscomb and Marnus Labuschagne in the side.
Australia: Marcus Harris, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Travis Head, Tim Paine(w/c), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood
India: Lokesh Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli(c), Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant(w), Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah
India opt to bat against Australia. Virat Kohli reckons it will become difficult as the game progresses. Rohit Sharma is back home. KL Rahul will open the batting and Hanuma Vihari will go back to No.6. Kuldeep Yadav replaces Ishant Sharma.
There is some cloud cover but the team that wins the toss will want to bat first. Ravichandran Ashwin and Kuldeep Yadav were practising in the side nets. Does that mean no Ravindra Jadeja?
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) January 2, 2019
Hello and welcome to the first day of the fourth and final Test between India and Australia in Sydney. It is the New Year Test and a chance for India to create history. Virat Kohli's side need to avoid a loss in order to become the first Indian or first side from the sub-continent to win a series in Australia. On the other hand, Australia will be desperate to avoid a loss and start 2019 on a fresh note after a disastrous 2018.