LONDON: Travis Head scored an impressive half century as Australia reached 170-3 against India at tea on the opening day of the World Test Championship final at the Oval. Australia struggled after losing the toss in bowler-friendly conditions but as the sun burst through the clouds in south London on Wednesday, the runs started to flow. Middle-order batsman Head was 60 not out at the break and Steve Smith unbeaten on 33 -- the pair had added 94 runs after coming together at 76-3 soon after lunch. India captain Rohit Sharma elected to bowl under overcast skies and on a green-tinged pitch that promised to assist a four-man pace attack. It was not long before a bowling unit missing injured fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah justified Rohit´s decision, with Mohammed Siraj removing Usman Khawaja for a 10-ball duck with an excellent wobble-seam delivery. Australia, to the raucous delight of a mostly pro-India crowd, were then 2-1 in the fourth over.
But David Warner, who had managed just one century in his previous 32 Test innings, counter-attacked. The 36-year-old struck first-change Umesh Yadav for three fours in successive balls, with a forcing shot through cover-point followed by an uppercut over the slips and a delicate late cut.
Even better was a cover-driven four off Shardul Thakur that sped across the outfield. Medium-pacer Thakur had his revenge when he dismissed the opener for 43, although credit for the wicket belonged to wicketkeeper Srikar Bharat, who took a fine diving catch down the legside after Warner had gloved an attempted pull shot. Marnus Labuschagne, the world´s top-ranked Test batsman, fell for his lunch score of 26 when bowled between bat and pad by a Mohammed Shami inswinger.
India won the toss:
Australia 1st Innings
Warner c Bharat b Thakur 43
Khawaja c Bharat b Siraj 0
Labuschagne b Shami 26
Smith not out 29
Head not out 60
Extras: (b 1, lb 5, nb 5, w 6) 17
Total: 51 Ov 170/3
Did not bat: Cameron Green, Alex Carey, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins (c), Nathan Lyon, Scott Boland
Fall of wickets: 1-2, 2-71, 3-76
Bowling: Shami 10-2-30-1, Siraj 11-4-38-1, Yadav 10-4-50-0, Thakur 10-2-32-1, Jadeja 1-0-35-0
India Team: Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Srikar Bharat, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami,
Umpires: Gaffaney, Illingworth
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan discard Shan Masood completed his debut season with Yorkshire with flying colours when he scored a...
LAHORE: The highlights of the play on the third day of the fourth round matches of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy were...
HANGZHOU: India´s Aditi Ashok has one hand on a women´s golf Asian Games gold after a blistering round of 11-under...
MANCHESTER: The Women´s Super League kick offs in front of huge crowds in England this weekend, with organisers...
ROME: The United States gave themselves a glimmer of hope of retaining the Ryder Cup as Patrick Cantlay holed a...
BEIJING: World number two Iga Swiatek said on Saturday she felt relieved of the "baggage" of defending the top ranking...