After Australia’s openers gave the team a steady start in the opening session on the first day of the fourth Test here at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Thursday, India responded with wickets in the latter half of the first session before lunch.
The visitors got off to a good start in the first half before the Indian bowlers struck twice. Ravichandran Ashwin took the first wicket, and Shami took the second. At lunch, Usman Khawaja (27) and Steven Smith (27) were at the crease for Australia. Choosing to bat first, Australia got off to a solid start, with the Indian pacers struggling to find the right line and length and failing to use the new ball.
Shami and Umesh Yadav struggled to find their rhythm, with both bowlers starting their spells with errant deliveries. The Australian openers settled in with loose deliveries and took advantage of scoring opportunities provided by the Indian pacers. Usman Khawaja and Travis Head helped Australia reach 50 in 14 overs.
The opening stand was a sixty-run stand stitched together by the batting duo, putting the visitors in a good position. After the pacers failed to provide a breakthrough with the new ball, India skipper Rohit Sharma introduced Ashwin into the attack in search of a wicket. The hosts took the lead after the offspinner dismissed Head. Head shimmied down the pitch, attempting to attack Ashwin.
However, the ball cued off the toe end, allowing Jadeja to complete the catch. The left-hander was out for 32 runs. Marnus Labuschagne joined Khawaja at the crease, with the left-hander continuing his strong form, striking boundaries with ease.
Labuschagne was sent packing early after Shami breached his defence (20). To dismiss the batter, India’s pacer bowled a lovely in-swinger. Labuschagne tried to punch through the covers by dragging the ball onto the stumps.
Australia lost no more wickets and went into the break at 75/2. Earlier, Australia captain Steve Smith chose to bat first in the fourth Test against India.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese arrived at the stadium for the start of the fourth Test. PM Modi presented the Test cap to India captain Rohit Sharma, while PM Abbott presented the ‘Baggy Green’ to Australia captain Steve Smith.
Both prime ministers were greeted with applause as they took a lap of honour around the massive sports arena to commemorate 75 years of friendship between India and Australia.
BCCI president Roger Binny congratulated Australia’s Prime Minister, while BCCI secretary Jay Shah congratulated India’s Prime Minister. Brief Score: Australia 75/2 vs India (Travis Head 32, Usman Khawaja 27*, Mohammed Shami 1-14).