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09-Jun-2023 02:02:00 GMT
Aus vs Ind - WTC Final, The Oval, day 2

Smith and bowlers put Australia in command

India 151 for 5 (Jadeja 48, Lyon 1-4) trail Australia 469 (Head 163, Smith 121, Siraj 4-108) by 318 runs

London: Australia's bowlers put in a thunderous performance to rip through the India top order on day two of the World Test Championship final at The Oval.

In an exhibition of why the Australian pace attack will bring a supreme threat to England's swashbuckling batters in the Ashes, India were reduced to 71-4.

Captain Pat Cummins removed opposite number Rohit Sharma, before Scott Boland, Cameron Green and Mitchell Starc all produced sensational deliveries.

India clung on through Ravindra Jadeja and Ajinkya Rahane, only for Jadeja to edge the off-spin of Nathan Lyon to slip for 48.

India closed on 151-5, still 318 behind the Australians, who were bowled out for 469 in their first innings.

That represented something of a fightback for India, who took the last seven Australia wickets for 108 runs.

Travis Head was out for 163 and Steve Smith 121 as Mohammed Siraj led the revival with 4-108.

Then came the awesome display from the Australian bowlers that has put them well on course to be crowned world champions.

Earlier, at 327-3 overnight, Australia had the opportunity to bat out of sight and looked likely to do just that when Smith clipped two fours in the opening over of the day to move to his 31st Test century.

Though Head made a silky 146 on day one, he was discomforted by the short ball, and when a fired-up Siraj went short again on Thursday morning, Head gloved down the leg side.

Crucially, Smith contrived to deflect the first ball of Shardul Thakur's spell on to his own stumps and, when Starc attempted a single that was never on to be run out by substitute Axar Patel's direct hit from mid-off, Australia had lost 4-41.

Alex Carey steadied with 48, adding 51 with captain Cummins. The wicketkeeper was lbw on review attempting a reverse-sweep at Jadeja's spin, leaving Siraj to take the final two wickets - the last three fell for 16.

From their strong position at the end of the first day, Australia should have got more than 469.

Still, on only three occasions in the history of Test cricket in England has a team batting first made more then lost, and their bowlers have made it highly unlikely Australia will become the fourth.

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