The first day of the fourth Border Gavaskar Trophy 2023 Test belonged to Australia, who accumulated 255 runs at the loss of only four wickets here at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. Usman Khawaja was the chief anchor of the baggy greens’ innings, as he struck a century whilst also remaining unbeaten.
Following a steady first session, wherein they accumulated 75 runs at the loss of a couple of wickets, the visitors had a cautious start to the second session. While Khawaja did have the odd boundary to offer, Steve Smith’s predominant intention was to get his eye in ahead of a prolonged knock.
The Australian skipper, although, switched gears and started scoring a bit more freely when Khawaja neared his 22nd Test half-century. The latter completed his third fifty of the series with a boundary off Mohammed Shami’s bowling in the 49th over.
Despite Indian skipper, Rohit Sharma trying out a number of alternatives, including a rather unexpected alternative in part-timer Shreyas Iyer, the second session of the day did not produce any wickets as Australia went to the tea break comfortably placed at 149/2 after 62 overs.
The break, however, did bring a breakthrough for the Indians as Smith’s knock finally met its conclusion in the second over since resumption. Trying to guide a Ravindra Jadeja delivery gently to the off-side, he ended up edging the ball into his pads, before it finally crashed onto the stumps.
Unlike his predecessor, Peter Handscomb was not particularly interested in a cautious approach and struck three boundaries off the first 21 deliveries that he faced. However, his stint was only a short-lived one as Shami sent him packing in the 71st over in the most dominating of manners – that is – by uprooting the batter’s stumps.
It proved to be India’s last source of joy from the day’s play, with the Aussies’ new batter, Cameron Green looking in flawless touch.
The young all-rounder took a leaf out of Handscomb’s book to adapt a counter-attacking approach, except that he also was more indefatigable.
At the other end, Khawaja brought up his 14th Test century in the last over of the day. The 36-year-old became the first Australian, and the second player, to score a century in the ongoing edition of the Border Gavaskar Trophy. He remained unbeaten on 104, with Green batting on 49 runs off 64 deliveries, in a knock that has featured eight boundaries already.
Steady Start Set the Pace for the Visitors
Earlier in the day, the baggy greens had a strong start with the bat at a track that proved to be considerably more conducive to the batters than those at Indore, Delhi and Kanpur were. The opening pair of Khawaja and Travis Head managed to sail through the first hour fairly comfortably, though the latter did have a reprieve when India’s wicketkeeper, KS Bharat dropped a dolly in the sixth over.
The first breakthrough arrived in the 16th over, when dancing down the track with the ambition of hitting what could have been his eighth boundary, Head could not time a Ravichandran Ashwin delivery and ended up miscuing it straight into the safe palms of Ravindra Jadeja at mid-on.
Marnus Labuschagne did not have much to offer either, as he departed after scoring only three runs. Trying to defend a Mohammed Shami delivery, he ended up dragging the cherry onto his stumps to provide the hosts with their second wicket.