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BGT 2023, IND v AUS, 4th Test, Day 1: Australia cobble up 255-4 on grinding day for India's bowlers

Updated: Mar 10, 2023

Border Gavaskar Trophy 2022-23, India vs Australia, 4th Test, Day 1: Australia cobble up 255-4 on grinding day for India's bowlers. Usman Khawaja scores his 14th Test century.

Border Gavaskar Trophy 2022-23, India vs Australia, 4th Test, Day 1: Usman Khawaja scored 14th Test century | Walking Wicket (Images_ ©BCCI_Twitter)
Usman Khawaja smashes 14th Test century (Images: ©BCCI/Twitter)

Brief Scores: Australia 255-4 (Khawaja 104*, Green 49*, Shami 2-65) against India

Hosts India after a rare Test defeat to Australia at home during the third Test in Indore, locked horns with Australia in the fourth and last Test of the Border Gavaskar Trophy (BGT) 2022-23 at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

The day began with honorable Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi and Prime Minister of Australia, Anthony Albanese being felicitated before the toss to mark the 75-year friendship through cricket between the two proud nations. They also had a lap of honour around the ground after delivering caps to the respective teams.

Australia make most of their chances with the bat; Rohit’s captaincy in last session leaves much to be desired

Deciding to bat first, Australia made the most of the batting conditions with the opening batters showing full patience in their game. They could have been a bit more proactive but because of Cameron Green’s aggression, runs came at a lightning pace in the last session.

Rohit Sharma’s captaincy looked to be clueless. When Ravindra Jadeja sent back Steven Smith to the dressing room just after Tea, the best bowler against the new batter Peter Handscomb could have been Ravichandran Ashwin who has been excellent against him in the series, but instead of brining Ashwin, Rohit kept Umesh Yadav in the attack. Irrespective of the result, the decision wasn’t perfect at all. He kept on changing the field but a wise bowling change could have changed the fate of the day’s play.

Australia opt to bat; Shami returned for India

Australia captain Steven Smith on winning the toss opted to bat first on a pitch with an even covering of grass and a few dry patches on the surface.

India brought back Mohammed Shami in the playing eleven, resting Mohammed Siraj, while Australia went with an unchanged winning team from the last game.

Let's take a look at how the first day of the fourth Test of the Border Gavaskar Trophy 2022-23 panned out.

India made a strong comeback after Australia's powerful opening stand; visitors 75-2 at Lunch

Both Australia openers - Usman Khawaja and Travis Head began in an aggressive manner with a couple of boundaries in the very first over. India's short ball theory was punished brutally by both the batters as Travis Head rocked back and tucked Umesh Yadav away fine for a boundary. He was dropped on 7 as wicketkeeper Srikar Bharat failed to grab his catch. Head took full advantage of the opportunity as he drove Umesh down the ground for a boundary, before Khawaja smashed Ravichandran Ashwin in the fine leg region for a boundary to bring up the 50-run opening stand.

But just after the drinks break, India finally became successful in breaking the good-looking stand as Ashwin sent back Head (32) who in trying to muscle Ashwin for a boundary, found the hands of Ravindra Jadeja at mid-on. India kept it simple and tight for the next period of the game as pressure was mounting on the visitors. Shami coming back for his second spell bagged Marnus Labuschagne (3) who was trying to punch the short ball only to see it roll on to the stumps. Australia finished on 75-2 at the lunch interval as India dragged the game back in their court.

Border Gavaskar Trophy 2022-23, India vs Australia, 4th Test, Day 1_ Mohammed Shami took 2-65 on Day 1 of Ahmedabad Test _ Walking Wicket (Images_ ©BCCI_Twitter)
Mohammed Shami took 2-65 on Day 1 of Ahmedabad Test (Images: ©BCCI/Twitter)

Smith-Khawaja make India toll hard with sturdy stand; Australia 149/2 at Tea

The visitors started the second session in a calm manner with a very few boundaries. Khawaja hammered Ravindra Jadeja behind square on the leg side for a boundary, before Smith going top of the bounce, smacked Umesh for boundary in the deep square leg region. Without these rare boundaries, Australia were happy to consolidate, while India kept it tight to draw mistakes from the opponents. The pitch looked placid with plenty of runs on offer.

Soon after the drinks break, Smith with an inside edge got a boundary against Ashwin in the long leg region while Usman Khawaja with a boundary that rolled between the first and second slip celebrated his 22nd Test fifty; it was also his third of the series. India kept on changing the bowlers along with different field positions but nothing seemed to be working in their favour.

Except a few occasional boundaries, both Smith and Khawaja showed full patience on this track as Australia shouldering on their sturdy fifty-plus stand for the third wicket, reached 149/2 at Tea.

Khawaja’s 104* and Green’s quick 49* help Australia to 255-4 at Stumps

Just after the break, India became successful in breaking the promising partnership as Jadeja sent back Smith (38) who got an inside edge of the bat as the ball rolled on to the stumps. Peter Handscomb, using his feet, flicked Shami through the gap between mid-on and mid-wicket before pulling Umesh Yadav to the left of square leg for another boundary. But Shami had the last laugh as he bagged Handscomb on 17 who being caught on the backfoot was beaten as the off-stump went for a walk.

Cameron Green looked to take on the bowlers from the start as he cut Umesh behind point for a boundary before driving him through the covers for the same result. He then pulled Shami in front of square for a four before driving him to the wide of mid-on for the same result. Green did exactly what the doctor ordered as suddenly, runs started to flow at a quick rate.

With a boundary flicked in the deep mid-wicket region, Usman Khawaja notched up his 14th Test century, and his first against India in India, as Australia ended the day on 255-4.

Statistical Highlights from India vs Australia, 4th Test, Ahmedabad

  • Usman Khawaja became the first Australia left-hander to score a Test century in India in 12 Tests and 13 years; last being Marcus North in Bengaluru in 2010-11.

  • With 1531 runs in 16 games in the World Test Championship (WTC) cycle of 2021-23, Usman Khawaja becomes the second highest aggregate run-scorer of the cycle, going past Babar Azam who has 1527 runs in 14 games in this cycle. Joe Root still sits at the top of the table with 2234 runs in 24 games.

What’s to Come on Day 2

Australia will look to bat for most part of the second day and post a huge total on the board to put full pressure on India whose batters are low on confidence. The pitch will change its character in the upcoming days and India need to restrict Australia at least to 350 runs in the first essay.

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