Australia put up a dominant performance on the first day of the fourth Test against India in the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy. They ended the day at 255 for 4 at stumps at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Thursday.
Khawaja and Green Secure a Commanding Position
Usman Khawaja and Cameron Green provided a solid foundation for Australia by securing an unbroken 85-run partnership for the 5th wicket. Khawaja hit his first hundred against India and 14th overall, continuing his great form in the series. While most of Australia’s batters have failed to make an impact in the 2023 BGT, Khawaja added to his scores of 81 in Delhi and 60 in Indore with a masterclass in the final Test of the series.
The pitches for the first three Tests in Nagpur, Delhi, and Indore received a lot of criticism, with the ICC rating the pitch for the third Test as poor. However, India chose to play on a flatter surface in the fourth Test, where run-scoring was easier and the spinners struggled to make regular breakthroughs.
Australia Races to a Quick Start
After winning the toss and deciding to bat, Australia’s Travis Head provided a quick start, showing a lot of intent on a pitch that was clearly different from the previous venues in the series.
Disappointing Performances from India’s Bowlers
India’s pacers were erratic, and KS Bharat was poor behind the wickets. R Ashwin, India’s most threatening bowler in the morning, dismissed Travis Head with a full and tossed-up delivery bowled just outside off stump. Marnus Labuschagne, the No.1 ranked Test batter in the world, continued his poor run of scores in India, chopping a ball from Mohammed Shami onto his stumps.
Khawaja and Smith Form a Stubborn Partnership
However, a stubborn partnership between Usman Khawaja and Steve Smith frustrated India’s bowlers for 41.4 overs on a hot day in Ahmedabad. They added 79 runs for the 4th wicket, denying the hosts a single wicket in the second session. Steve Smith was finally removed by Ravindra Jadeja for a 135-ball 38.
Green Provides an Aggressive Approach
Peter Handscomb fell to Mohammed Shami, and Australia slumped to 170 for 4. Cameron Green joined Usman Khawaja with a more aggressive approach at the crease. While Khawaja continued to frustrate India with astute footwork, solid defence, and a penchant for punishing the loose balls, Green used his long stride to keep the Indian bowling attack at bay.
Khawaja Continues to Shine
Usman Khawaja continued his good form and was happy to play second fiddle to Travis Head in the morning. The determination to stay at the crease saw him inch towards his first hundred against India. It took Australia four Test matches for one of their players to finally score a hundred.
India Looks to Bounce Back
India had a difficult day in the final Test of the series, and a lot will depend on how many runs Australia can add on the second day. India will look to bounce back with quick wickets, and Rohit Sharma said India are ruthless, not overconfident after severe criticism following their Indore defeat. The time to show some ruthlessness for India and Rohit Sharma is now.
India (Playing XI): Rohit Sharma(c), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Srikar Bharat(w), Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav
Australia (Playing XI): Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steven Smith(c), Peter Handscomb, Cameron Green, Alex Carey(w), Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Todd Murphy, Matthew Kuhnemann