Ravichandran Ashwin and Mohammed Shami squared things for India in the second hour as Australia lost the initiative after an impressive start to go into lunch at 75 for two on the opening day of the fourth Test here on Thursday, March 9, 2023.
The dogged Usman Khawaja (27 batting, 94 balls) was being given company by skipper Steve Smith (2 batting, 17 balls) after Travis Head (32) and Marnus Labuschagne (3) were dismissed in quick succession by Ashwin (1/18 in 10 overs) and Shami (1/14 in 8 overs) respectively.
There is nothing in the track and Australia, if they apply themselves well, could post their best total of the series.
Head, in fact, must be feeling horrible as he undid all his good work in the first hour by playing an indiscreet shot. He tried to chip Ashwin over mid-on without reaching to the pitch of the delivery.
Ashwin had just altered the length slightly and deceived Head, who offered the easiest of catches to one of the world’s best fielders, Ravindra Jadeja.
Head got a reprieve while batting on seven when wicketkeeper KS Bharath dropped a regulation catch off Umesh Yadav’s bowling. Umesh, who has always been blamed for his inconsistency, was once again erratic as he gave a lot of boundary balls.
Out of the seven boundaries that Head got, half a dozen came from Umesh’s overs.
Bharath would like to forget the session in a hurry as he was troubled by inconsistent bounce on both sides of the wicket. He found it difficult to gather a lot of balls which kept low from one end, and conceded eight byes, apart from dropping a dolly.
The end from which Shami bowled, a lot of deliveries kept low and one such ball brought about the downfall of Labuschagne. It was an off-cutter and Labuschagne wanted to play the square cut but dragged it back onto the stumps, much to his dismay.
Smith wins toss
Earlier, Australian captain Steve Smith won the toss and opted to bat against India in the series-deciding fourth Test here on Thursday, March 9, 2023.
Before the toss, the two captains received the Test cap from their respective Prime Ministers, Narendra Modi and Anthony Albanese.
BCCI president Roger Binny felicitated Australia's Prime minister Albanese, while the secretary Jay Shah felicitated PM Modi.
Mr. Modi and Mr. Albanese also did a lap of honour across the ground to mark the occasion of 75 years of friendship between India and Australia.
Australia remained unchanged, while Mohammed Shami replaced Mohammed Siraj in the Indian team.
Modi, Albanese take round of sprawling stadium
Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese on Thursday morning reached the Narendra Modi stadium here and took a round of the massive sports arena on a golf car before the start of the fourth Test match between India and Australia.
Mr. Modi and Mr. Albanese handed over Test caps to their respective team captains Rohit Sharma and Steve Smith.
The round of the playing turf on a golf car by the two dignitaries was applauded by the thousands of spectators who had already taken their seats in the world’s largest cricket stadium.
Mr. Albanese arrived here on March 8 and attended some programmes, while Mr. Modi reached the State late last on March 8 night..
India: Rohit Sharma (capt), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Ravindra Jadeja, KS Bharat (wk), R Ashwin, Axar Patel, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami
Australia: Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steven Smith (capt), Peter Handscomb, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (wk), Mitchell Starc, Todd Murphy, Nathan Lyon, Matthew Kuhnemann.