Australia has asserted their dominance in the initial two days of the World Test Championship final against India at The Oval. On Day 2, Steve Smith achieved a century right at the beginning, followed by Travis Head surpassing the 150-run milestone.
After lunch, the Indian bowling attack managed to wrap up the Australian innings within the first hour, with a total of 469 runs conceded. In response, Australia’s fast bowlers halted India’s rapid start as Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, and Cheteshwar Pujara were dismissed cheaply.
Ultimately, a commendable partnership between Ravindra Jadeja and Ajinkya Rahane guided India to 151-5 at the close of play, but Australia still maintained a commanding position.
During a critical moment in the game, India found themselves in a challenging situation at 71 for four when Mitchell Starc delivered a remarkable ball that dismissed Kohli for 14.
However, a resilient partnership of 73 runs between Jadeja and Rahane revived India’s hopes. Just as it seemed that their partnership could become formidable for the Australian team, Nathan Lyon bowled an exceptional delivery to remove India’s best batter.
Commenting on the match for Star Sports, Ganguly took a sharp jab at India’s captain Rohit and head coach Rahul Dravid following Jadeja’s dismissal. Ganguly referred to the team’s decision to exclude Ravichandran Ashwin from the playing XI, despite the offspinner being ranked as the number one bowler in the ICC Test rankings.
“Who says off-spinner can’t play on a green pitch? Left-handed batter [Ravindra Jadeja] and Nathan Lyon. He has more than 400 wickets in Test cricket. At this moment, he dismissed India’s best batter. [It had both] Turn and Bounce,” Ganguly said.
Ganguly’s disappointment over the exclusion of Ravichandran Ashwin was not limited to just one instance in the match. Like many other experts present at The Oval, the 50-year-old expressed his belief that India made a mistake by opting to play four seamers instead of including the match-winning abilities of Ashwin. The consensus among experts was that India missed an opportunity by not having Ashwin in the playing XI.