Cricket-Head and Labuschagne fall after Australia's decent start

March 09, 2023 05:23 PM AEDT | By Reuters
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AHMEDABAD, India (Reuters) -Australia got off to a decent start before losing two quick wickets to be 75 for two wickets at lunch on the opening day of the fourth and final test against India on Thursday.

Travis Head, who made 32, and Usman Khawaja raised 61 runs for the opening stand after skipper Steve Smith elected to bat on winning the toss.

Khawaja was batting on 27 at the break with Smith on two at the other end, watched by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, after whom the stadium is named, and his Australian counterpart, Anthony Albanese.

Smith is leading Australia for the second test in a row in the absence of regular skipper Pat Cummins, who flew home to be with his ailing mother.

India wicketkeeper KS Bharat endured a torrid time behind the stumps and floored a waist-high sitter after Head, then on seven, had edged Umesh Yadav.

Head kept playing his shots but did not get his timing right against Ravichandran Ashwin and was caught at mid-on by Ravindra Jadeja.

India tasted further success largely because of Marnus Labuschagne's tendency on this series to get stuck in the crease.

The right-hander, currently the top-ranked test batsman, pushed at a Mohammed Shami delivery only to drag it on to his stumps.

Shami replaced fellow paceman Mohammed Siraj in the only change to the Indian side who lost the previous test in Indore, while Australia persisted with the same bunch, which includes a three-member spin attack.

India, who lead the series 2-1, need to win the match to join Australia in the final of the World Test Championship at The Oval in June.

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Robert Birsel and Sonali Paul)


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