Australia makes a DISASTROUS start to India tour as early wickets fall cheaply – and David Warner sends a pointed message about doctored pitch on his way to the sheds
- Both Aussie openers departed for one
- It has been disastrous start for Australia
- Side chasing first series win there in 19 years
Australia have got off to the worst possible start in their Test series against India, with David Warner and Usman Khawaja both out for one just three overs into the game.
Warner’s stumps went cartwheeling – a sight become all-too-common for the ageing opener – with Indian quick Mohammed Shami delighted as the Aussie appeared to blame the pitch for missing the ball entirely.
It continues the 36-year-old opener’s poor form in India, where he averages just 24.25.
Khawaja didn’t fare much better, surviving an appeal but later being given out LBW by the third umpire after a ball from Mohammed Siraj that kept low down his legside.
David Warner was clean bowled by a Mohammed Shami delivery that sent his off stump cartwheeling
Australia have not won a Test series in India for 19 years, and despite Josh Hazlewood and Cameron Green being last minute withdrawals, a groundbreaking win was not out of the question under skipper Pat Cummins.
Much will now hang on the bats of Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith, with Travis Head sensationally dropped in favour of Peter Handscomb and Matthew Renshaw.
If Warner’s woes continue, that will only magnify.
As he walked off following his dismissal, he glared pointedly at the wicket, following concerns prior to the Test that India had doctored the pitch to make life tough for left-handers, though this delivery didn’t appear to do anything untoward.
It was a decision that set cricket twitter into a frenzy, and prompted a rebuke from Aussie legend Steve Waugh, who said it was a ‘gamble and overanalysing’ on the back of Head’s best-ever Test summer.
‘Hard to believe we can drop the number 4 ranked test batsman in the world and probably our best batsman in the last 12 months plus he bowls better than average off spin – let’s wait and see-maybe the Aussie selectors are geniuses!’ Waugh wrote on his Instagram.
Aussie great Damien Martyn agreed with Waugh, writing ‘it’s a big call, now we wait’, while fans and pundits were also shocked with the decision.
Despite his incredible Test summer, including this century at the Adelaide Oval, Travis Head was sensationally dropped for the first Test against India
The left-hander made 655 runs @ 50.38 in 2022, and batted with a phenomenal strike-rate. Crucially, he’s looked to be the most comfortable and confident in his career at the crease, and appeared ready to put his subcontinent woes behind him.
On the other side of the coin, Handscomb has not played Test cricket since 2019, while Renshaw also spent a significant time in the wilderness before being recalled for the New Year’s Test in Sydney.
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