Usman Khawaja scored a determined century to give Australia the upper hand over India on the opening day of the fourth Test.
Only the second century of a spin-dominated series, the opener batted all day for 104 not out from 251 balls. His century and Cameron Green’s 49 not out helped the tourists close on 255-4 in Ahmedabad on a flatter surface.
Australia batted slowly for the majority of the day before all-rounder Green upped the intensity against the new ball in the final session.
Australia had a strong start to the Test as they sought a victory in order to tie the series 2-2. They would become the first team to avoid defeat in an away Test series against India since England won on their 2012 visit.
India must win the game, however, in order to secure a spot in the World Test Championship championship game in June.
Khawaja and Travis Head put on a 61-run opening stand before Khawaja and Steve Smith added 79 runs in a third-wicket partnership that lasted 41.2 overs.
They batted for the entire afternoon session, the first in the series in which no wickets fell, till Smith was dismissed by Ravindra Jadeja for 38 from 135 balls after tea.
Peter Handscomb was dismissed for 17 runs by seamer Mohammed Shami, but the combination between Khawaja and Green, who scored eight fours in 64 balls, turned the day in Australia’s favour.
Khawaja’s century marked his sixth since being called up for the Ashes in January 2022 and his fourteenth in 60 Tests.
Usman Khawaja: “It was such a nice wicket”
“It was a lot of emotion in that. I have been to India on two tours before this, and carried the drinks in eight Test matches. It was such a nice wicket; I just didn’t want to give my wicket away. It was a mental battle more than anything. You need to put your ego away. I’ve got no superstitions… just run through, stretch.”
Full Scorecard: Ind vs Aus
Australia 1st Innings
|Travis Head||c Jadeja b Ashwin||32||44||7||0||72.72|
|Usman Khawaja||not out||104||251||15||0||41.43|
|Marnus Labuschagne||b Mohammed Shami||3||20||0||0||15.00|
|Steven Smith (c)||b Jadeja||38||135||3||0||28.14|
|Peter Handscomb||b Mohammed Shami||17||27||3||0||62.96|
|Cameron Green||not out||49||64||8||0||76.56|
|Extras||(b 9, lb 1, nb 1, w 1)||12|
|TOTAL||90 Ov (RR: 2.83)||255/4|
|Yet to bat: Alex Carey †, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Todd Murphy, Matthew Kuhnemann|
|Fall of wickets: 1-61 (Travis Head, 15.3 ov), 2-72 (Marnus Labuschagne, 22.2 ov), 3-151 (Steven Smith, 63.4 ov), 4-170 (Peter Handscomb, 70.4 ov)|
Also read about Orange cap here.