WTC final: Can India fight back and stop Australia from posting a 500-plus total today?

It's not going to be easy as Steve Smith, the world's best Test batsman, is looking set for another big hundred

by

Rituraj Borkakoty

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India's Mohammed Shami was brilliant in the morning session on the opening day. — AFP
India's Mohammed Shami was brilliant in the morning session on the opening day. — AFP

Published: Thu 8 Jun 2023, 11:49 AM

Last updated: Thu 8 Jun 2023, 12:13 PM

Buoyed by Travis Head's magnificent hundred — 146 not out off 156 balls — and Steve Smith's brilliant unbeaten 95, Australia finished the opening day of the World Test Championship at 327 for three.

The Aussies are in a commanding position against India who looked clueless during Head and Smith's 250-run unbroken partnership for the fourth wicket after it reduced Australia to 76 for three.


So can India make a comeback at the Oval today, the second day of this high-profile Test match?

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Early wickets will be key to India's hopes today.

If the bowlers, who looked tired in the second and third sessions yesterday after the promising start, can bounce back and break this partnership, India will be right back in this contest.

The pitch played better from the second session onwards under bright sunshine.

In the morning session, the weather was gloomy and the Indian pacers exploited it beautifully.

Now Rohit Sharma's men will be hoping for an overcast condition this morning to swing the ball.

If they can get a few quick wickets, the likes of Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj will fancy their chances against the Australian lower-order.

But they will also need better support from Umesh Yadav and Shardul Thakur, both of these pacers were ineffective yesterday.

The decision to drop veteran off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin seems to have backfired as the dryness beneath the green surface would have brought him into play.

It's a huge challenge for India now to make a comeback without the world's number one ranked bowler.

So can they still stop Australia from posting a 500-plus total?

It's not going to be easy as Smith, the world's best Test batsman, is looking set for another big hundred.

Only an inspired spell of fast bowling from either Shami or Siraj can get India back in the contest.


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