Ganesh Chaturthi

WTC final: Team India in troubled waters after losing wickets in quick succession before tea

08 June,2023 07:56 PM IST |  London  |  mid-day online correspondent

Australia added 142 runs to their overnight total with the loss of seven wickets before being bowled out one hour into the afternoon session

Team India (Pic: AFP)

The Men in Blue found themselves in a difficult situation with the early loss of their openers after Australia posted a commendable 469 in their first innings of the World Test Championship final on Thursday.

Australia added 142 runs to their overnight total with the loss of seven wickets before being bowled out one hour into the afternoon session. Mohammed Siraj cleaned up the tail and was the pick of India's bowlers with four wickets.

India batted for 10 overs before the tea break and were dealt a twin blow as skipper Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill fell to Pat Cummins and Scott Boland respectively. They were at 37 for two at tea with Virat Kohli (4 batting) and Cheteshwar Pujara (3 batting) in the middle, trailing Australia by 432 runs.

Both Rohit (15 off 26) and Gill (13 off 15) looked in good touch before flattering to deceive. Rohit missed a ball from Cummins that was angled in before Gill inexplicably decided to leave a delivery from Boland on length only to see his stumps being uprooted in the following over.

The conditions are good for batting but India have a massive challenge at hand.

After the lunch break, Alex Carey pushed Australia past 450 with a 48 off 69 balls.

His innings included a six off Ravindra Jadeja but an attempted reverse sweep the following ball led to his downfall, trapping him in front of the stumps.

India got themselves back in the game with four wickets in the morning session on day two but Australia maintained their upper hand by reaching 422 for seven at lunch, following Steve Smith's 31st hundred.

Also Read: WTC final: India dismiss four but Australia remain ahead with 422 for seven at lunch

Resuming the day at 327 for three, Travis Head (163 off 174) and Steve Smith (121 off 268) walked into the middle under bright sunshine at The Oval.

Smith, who was on 95 overnight, got two freebies on the pads from Mohammed Siraj in the first over of the day and he happily put them away for consecutive boundaries to complete his seventh hundred in England and third at the venue.

India were guilty of not using the short ball tactic early enough on the opening day but Siraj went for that from the get on Thursday.

Mohammed Shami too tried to mix it up with an odd bouncer but was not able to get the same zip from the surface as much as Siraj did.

While Smith was not bothered by India's tactic, Head looked in a bit of discomfort.

Siraj banged one short into his body in the sixth over of the day and Head walked across the stumps to pull it but ended up edging it to wicketkeeper K S Bharat.

Cameron Green was the next to go as he went for an expansive drive off a full ball from Shami but ended up being caught at second slip by an alert Shubman Gill.

The prized wicket of Smith came out of nowhere as he dragged an innocuous ball from Shardul Thalur back to his stumps. It was Thakur's first ball of the day, highlight his uncanny ability to provide a breakthrough out of the blue.

A brilliant piece of fielding from substitute Axar Patel got India their fourth wicket of the day as his one handed direct hit from mid off left Mitchell Starc well short of his ground. Though the sunny weather has made the pitch easier for batting, there is enough help for the fast bowlers.

(With PTI inputs)

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