India strike twice after Australia start strong in 4th Test
March 10, 2023 02:10 AM
Travis Head helped Australia start strongly in the fourth Test against India on Thursday, before the hosts fought back with two wickets.
Australia were 75-2 at lunch on the opening day after Head's attacking 32 in a 61-run opening stand with Usman Khawaja at the world's biggest cricket stadium in Ahmedabad.
The left-handed Khawaja, on 27, and stand-in-skipper Steve Smith, on two, were not out at the break after Australia elected to bat in their bid to square the four-match series.
India's pace spearhead Mohammed Shami started the match with a wide and Khawaja soon got a boundary on a pitch that looked good for batting.
The pitches in the first three Tests were rank turners, with the highest total being 400 by India in the opening match.
The left-handed Head took charge to hit a flurry of boundaries including three in one over from pace bowler Umesh Yadav. His glorious on-drive for four stood out.
Head survived a reprieve on seven when wicketkeeper Srikar Bharat dropped a simple catch off Yadav and the opener added 25 more before being dismissed by Ravichandran Ashwin.
Khawaja stood firm and attempted to build another partnership, but Shami got Marnus Labuschagne, for three, with a delivery that came in and rattled the stumps.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese were in attendance for the first hour of play at the 132,000-capacity stadium, named after the Indian premier.
A bumper crowd greeted the two leaders before focus turned to cricket as Smith won the toss and named an unchanged XI from their previous win in Indore that kept the series alive at 2-1.
India, led by Rohit Sharma, need a win to clinch the series and secure their berth in the World Test Championship final, scheduled for June at The Oval in London.
The hosts made one change with Shami coming in for the rested Mohammed Siraj.