Australian batters Travis Head and Steve Smith displayed resilience and skill as they guided their team to a commanding position on the opening day of the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) final against India at The Oval.
Opting to field first, the Indian bowlers initially dominated the proceedings, reducing the Australian team to 73-2 before the Lunch break.
In the fourth over of the innings, Mohammad Siraj claimed the wicket of Usman Khawaja, who attempted a leg-side pull but ended up edging the ball to wicketkeeper Srikar Bharat, who took an exceptional diving catch. Khawaja departed without scoring a run after facing 10 deliveries.
David Warner, who had recently hinted at a potential retirement from Test cricket, managed to contribute 43 runs, including eight boundaries, before being dismissed by Shardul Thakur.
Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith fought hard to stabilise the Australian innings before the Lunch break. However, upon their return, India struck back swiftly, courtesy of Mohammad Shami's deceptive bowling. Labuschagne fell victim to Shami's guile, providing India with a crucial breakthrough.
Nevertheless, Head and Smith formed a formidable partnership, patiently accumulating valuable runs for Australia. Head showcased exceptional batting prowess, reaching his sixth Test century and ending the day unbeaten on a brilliant 146 runs. Smith, providing unwavering support from the other end, remained not out on an impressive 95 runs.
By the close of play, Australia had amassed a formidable total of 327 runs for the loss of three wickets in 85 overs, firmly establishing their dominance in the match.
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