India grabbed the key wicket of David Warner in a rain-interrupted first session of the third Test Thursday, but fellow opener Will Pucovski showed composure to remain unbeaten on his debut.
After captain Tim Paine won the toss, the hosts were 21 for one when lunch was taken 10 minutes early in front of around 10,000 socially-distanced fans, quarter capacity at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Pucovski was on 14 not out and Marnus Labuschagne on two after only 35 minutes of play were possible in a Test both sides are desperate to win with the four-match series level at 1-1.
Veteran Warner missed the first two Tests in Adelaide and Melbourne with a groin injury and his return was highly-anticipated. But he didn’t last long, out for five.
He showed intent with a two off his first ball but his natural aggression brought him undone, swinging at a full Mohammed Siraj delivery which took at outside edge and flew to Cheteshwar Pujara at slip.
Australia have high hopes for 22-year-old Pucovski, who scored two double centuries in the Sheffield Shield this season but has been sidelined with a concussion, the ninth of his short career.
He was given the all-clear to play by a neurologist and looked comfortable in the short time he had at the crease.
India tried to unsettle him with Jasprit Bumrah sending down a bouncer on his fifth ball, but Pucovski was unfazed and soon got off the mark, hitting his first Test four off a Siraj short ball as he gained confidence.
He was one of two Australian changes, with Joe Burns and Travis Head dropped to make way for him and Warner.
The visitors also made two changes to the team that won in Melbourne by eight wickets, where they bounced back from an eight-wicket defeat at Adelaide.
Opening batsman Rohit Sharma returned from injury in place of the out-of-form Mayank Agarwal, while Navdeep Saini made his debut in place of fellow fast bowler Umesh Yadav, who has a calf problem.