Australia started the final Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, carrying forward their momentum from Indore Test with an intent to level the series. While India kept breaking partnerships at intervals, Australia’s batters did well to make use of the batting conditions on offer and contribute regularly.

From Travis Head at the top of the order to Steve Smith and Cameron Green in the middle order, the visitors looked far more settled to tackle India’s bowling. Although Mohammed Shami and Ravindra Jadeja picked up two wickets apiece, the day belonged to the Australian batters.

However, it was the gritty century of Usman Khawaja that stood out on Day 1 of the Ahmedabad Test.

Here’s a session-wise report of the day:

Australia won the toss and opted to bat first in the final Test at Ahmedabad on Thursday. While Steve Smith and Co went in unchanged, the hosts decided to rest Mohammed Siraj with Mohammed Shami returning to the side after being rested in Indore.

Smith, at the toss, said, “Looks like a nice surface, does look like a good wicket. The guys performed well last week. We’ll wait and see (whether he will lead Australia in India again.)”

Ahead of the Test, two tracks had been prepared at the world’s biggest cricket stadium for the match, which is being attended by India and Australia’s prime ministers. And despite the assessment of both captains that the pitch looked like a better one to bat on, both sides opted to go in with a three-pronged spin attack.

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India captain Rohit Sharma said, “We need to regroup as a team, you can reflect on so many things. Not the surface what we saw in the first three Tests, looks a good pitch, I hope it stays the same for all five days.”

Although not a decider per se as the hosts have retained the Trophy, the match is vital for India to bounce back and win the series 3-1, and with it secure their berth in the ICC World Test Championship final at the Oval in June. Meanwhile, a resurgent Australia, on the other hand, will aim to carry the momentum forward and square the series.

Morning session

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.

Post-lunch session

Opener Usman Khawaja hit his third half-century of the series to take Australia to 149-2 at tea on Thursday’s opening day of the fourth Test against India. The stylish left-hander, on 65, put on an unbeaten stand of 77 with Steve Smith, on 38.

Khawaja and stand-in-skipper Smith got to the grind after lunch to wear down the Indian bowlers. With no wickets to show in the session, India were put on the backfoot and the session comfortably belonged to the visitors. Interestingly, this was the first wicketless session on the Tour and won that was dominated by Australia.

If things continue to go downhill for the hosts, this session in particular would have played a major role. It also allowed Khawaja got to get his eye in, truly see what the pitch was playing like and which lengths to avoid going after.

Post-tea session

Ensuring that the final session of the day belonged to them also ensured that the first day belonged to them. After carrying “drinks for 8 Tests in two tours,” Usman Khawaja had the honour of becoming the only Australian batter on the tour to score a century so far. Still unbeaten at 104*, Khawaja looks in good stead to carry on for Day 2. An unbeaten 85-run stand between him and Cameron Green has put Australia in total control at the end of Day 1.

Watch, IND v AUS: Mohammed Shami sends Peter Handscomb’s stump cartwheeling in Ahmedabad

Ravindra Jadeja had done the damage for Smith, who believes that he’s probably playing his last Test in India, dismissing him for 38. Shami struck again to send a fluent-looking Peter Handscomb back to the pavilion with a peach of a delivery. However, the visitors recovered quickly to stitch an assuring partnership in the last hour of the day.


India: Rohit Sharma(c), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Srikar Bharat(w), Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav

Australia: Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steven Smith(c), Peter Handscomb, Cameron Green, Alex Carey(w), Mitchell Starc, Todd Murphy, Matthew Kuhnemann, Nathan Lyon

With inputs from AFP