India captain Rohit Sharma won the toss and chose to bowl first after which players from both sides walked out wearing bands on their sleeves as they lined up for the national anthems
Team India (Pic: @bcci/Twitter)
Both India and Australia teams along with the umpires were spotted wearing black armbands during the high-profile World Test Championship final on Wednesday at The Oval. India captain Rohit Sharma won the toss and chose to bowl first after which players from both sides walked out wearing bands on their sleeves as they lined up for the national anthems.
The armbands marked as a tribute to the victims of the train accident in Balasore, Odisha on Friday. Over 280 died and more than 1000 were left injured as the Coromandel Express collided with a stationary iron ore-laden goods train at Bahanaga Bazar station a little before 7 PM. Some of its derailed coaches then crashed into the Yeshwantpur-Howrah Express in what appears to be India’s worst railway disaster in three decades.
“The Indian Cricket Team will observe a moment of silence in memory of the victims of the Odisha train tragedy ahead of the start of play on Day 1 of the ICC World Test Championship final at The Oval. The team mourns the deaths and offers its deepest condolences to the families and friends of all those who tragically lost their lives. To express solidarity with those affected, Team India will wear black armbands,” the BCCI had said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the Rahul Dravid-coached side went in with a four-pronged pace attack and preferred Ravindra Jadeja over seasoned off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin. Pacer Mohammed Siraj provided a crucial breakthrough in his opening spell before seamer Shardul Thakur got rid of a well-set David Warner to reduce Australia to 73 for two at lunch on day one of the WTC final against India.
Having survived challenging conditions in the first hour at The Oval, Warner (43 off 60) and Labuschagne (26 batting off 61) were on course to see off the session until Thakur dismissed the left-handed opener with a short ball targeting his rib cage. Wicketkeeper KS Bharat took a well-judged catch down the leg-side.
India expectedly opted to bowl in overcast conditions and on a pitch with fair amount of grass. They made the tough call to leave out Ravichandran Ashwin from the playing eleven for a four-pronged pace attack including Shami, Siraj,Umesh Yadav and Shardul Thakur.