David Warner will face renewed pressure to retain his place in the Australian Test team after being dismissed cheaply early in the first innings against India in Nagpur. Both Australian openers, Warner and Usman Khawaja, were sent back to the pavilion within the first five overs of the Test.
Khawaja's wicket was an unwelcome reality check, after the 36-year-old was the recipient of the Shane Warne men's Test Player of the Year back in January. He was the first of the two openers to go, with India successfully reviewing an appeal from Mohammed Siraj in the second over.
Warner didn't last much longer at the crease, beaten by Mohammed Shami and clean bowled. Both openers were dismissed for just one run. India hd come under fire before the match started following accusations that the pitch had been 'doctored' in order to benefit the home side against Australia's complement of left-handed batsmen.
The early returns appear to be strong for India, however both Khawaja and Warner could be considered hard done by after both wicket balls barely took any bounce. Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne came in following the swift dismissal of both openers.
— The Field (@thefield_in) February 9, 2023
Warner had sensationally suggested there was a chance he might attempt to bat right-handed at times during the series in India, after he was spotted doing so during a net session in the lead-up to the first Test. Given his wicket fell after facing just five balls, the 36-year-old might be discouraged from such a bold change in tactics.
On social media, fans were disappointed in the opening duo's lack of resistance as the visitors attempt to win the Border-Gavaskar trophy on Indian soil for the first time since 2004.
And the great David Warner continues his awesome average in India. Oi Oi Oi.
— Steve Potts (Shaggs) (Pottsie) (@shaggs23) February 9, 2023
David Warner bowled top of off-stump for 1 by Shami. 2-2. Diabolical start for #Australia in first three overs with new ball.. and that's before the accepted threat of #India's spin comes on. Grim faces among the Australian team brains trust. #INDvAUS
— Robert Smith (@OnyaDon) February 9, 2023
How many failures do we need to see from David Warner overseas to see him dropped? Fantastic cricketer for our country , but not in India and England #PLEASE
— Tom McIntyre (@TomMcIntyre12) February 9, 2023
— Gaurav Nandan Tripathi 🜃 (@Cric_Beyond_Ent) February 9, 2023
That David Warner wicket was as bad as Ricky Ponting’s last wicket when Kallis clean bowled him. Was nowhere near seeing it. #INDvsAUS
— The Esteemed Outlaw (@EsteemedOutlaw) February 9, 2023
David Warner being extremely late on a medium pacer around the wicket is amateur hour batting #INDvsAUS
— Harry Ramage (@harryramage) February 9, 2023
Australia on the back foot after selection shock against India
Australia pulled a surprising selection move ahead of the coin toss, with Travis Head dropped in favour of Peter Handscombe and Matt Renshaw. Todd Murphy will debut as an off-spinner alongside Nathan Lyon, the first time Australia has selected two such bowlers in the same side for 35 years.
It is a bold decision from Australian selectors after Head's dominant 2022, where he made 655 runs at an average of 50.38 with two centuries. The 29-year-old played some vital knocks during Australia's summer Tests against the West Indies and South Africa, but his poor record in Asia has counted against him.
Head, who can bowl handy off-spin, struggled during two Tests in Sri Lanka, averaging just 7.66.
India have debutants of their own with Twenty20 sensation Suryakumar Yadav brought in to bat in the middle order in place of youngster Shubman Gill.
KS Bharat has been selected as India's wicketkeeper, debuting after star Rishabh Pant suffered serious injuries in a car accident in December.
Cummins had no hesitation in batting first, with questions surrounding the pitch following some unusual curating by ground staff in the lead-up to the Test.
India have selected three spinners - Ravi Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel - in a bid to exploit Australia's perceived weakness against the turning ball. India - which features no left-handed batters in its top order - appears to be trying to capitalise on Australia's left-hander heavy batting line-up, paving the way for right-hander Handscomb's recall at No.6.
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