Indian players celebrate after the fall of an Australian batter.© AFP
The Rohit Sharma-led Indian cricket team won the toss and opted to bowl against Australia in the WTC final at the Oval on Wednesday. The match provides a chance for India to end its decade-long ICC title drought. Talking about the decision, former India player Farokh Engineer made some interesting observatiions. “…India winning the toss, the decision (to bowl first) is a bit surprising but I think the decision was taken because our batsmen do not want to be exposed to the Australian attack on a fresh green track. We are hopeful, Mohd Shami and Siraj are effective. I think they will be effective. It’s a bold decision. He (Cheteshwar Pujara) is a key member of the side. So are Virat and Shubman Gill. We have a very good batting lineup. Very good all-round side,” Farokh Engineer told ANI.
India pacer Mohammed Siraj breathed fire in his opening spell before seamer Shardul Thakur got rid of a well-set David Warner to reduce Australia to 73 for two at lunch on day one of the World Test Championship final against India. Having survived challenging conditions in the first hour at The Oval, Warner (43 off 60) and Labuschagne (26 batting off 61) were on course to see off the session until Thakur dismissed the left-handed opener with a short ball targeting his rib cage. Wicketkeeper KS Bharat took a well-judged catch down the leg-side. India expectedly opted to bowl in overcast conditions and on a pitch with fair amount of grass. They made the tough call to leave out Ravichandran Ashwin from the playing eleven for a four-pronged pace attack including Shami, Siraj,Umesh Yadav and Shardul Thakur. Both Siraj and Shami kept Australia in check in the first hour, sharing six overs six each and conceding only 29 runs.
Siraj breathed fire and got more out of the surface than Shami by bowling with a scrambled seam. Usman Khawaja (0 off 10), who has an ordinary record in England, began the tour on a disappointing note as he got a faint edge off a ball that pitched outside the off stump and seamed way.
There was minimal feet movement and he paid the price for playing away from the body and the nick was taken easily by Bharat behind the stumps.
With PTI and ANI inputs
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