India faced a challenging start as they lost their openers early after Australia set an impressive total of 469 runs in their first innings of the World Test Championship final in London on June 8. Australia added 142 runs to their overnight score, losing seven wickets before being bowled out in the afternoon session. Mohammed Siraj shone for India, taking four wickets to clean up the Australian tail.
During India's batting, captain Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill fell victim to Pat Cummins and Scott Boland, respectively, dealing a blow to India's innings. At tea, India stood at 37 for two, with Virat Kohli (4 batting) and Cheteshwar Pujara (3 batting) at the crease, trailing Australia by 432 runs. Rohit and Gill displayed promising form but failed to capitalize on their starts, with Rohit falling to Cummins and Gill misjudging a delivery from Boland.
After lunch, Alex Carey contributed a valuable 48 runs off 69 balls, taking Australia's total past 450. However, an attempted reverse sweep off Ravindra Jadeja led to his dismissal. India made a strong comeback in the morning session on day two, taking four wickets and restricting Australia to 422 for seven at lunch, courtesy of Steve Smith's century.
Resuming at 327 for three, Travis Head (163 off 174) and Steve Smith (121 off 268) took to the field under sunny skies at The Oval. Smith completed his seventh hundred in England and third at the venue, taking advantage of loose deliveries from Mohammed Siraj. India introduced the short ball tactic early on the second day, with Siraj creating discomfort for Head, who eventually edged a delivery to the wicketkeeper. Cameron Green fell prey to a full ball from Mohammed Shami, caught by a vigilant Shubman Gill at second slip. In a surprising turn, Smith dragged a seemingly harmless ball from Shardul Thakur back onto his stumps.
India's impressive fielding also contributed to their success, with substitute Axar Patel's exceptional one-handed direct hit from mid-off resulting in the dismissal of Mitchell Starc.
Despite the favorable batting conditions due to sunny weather, the pitch still provides assistance to the fast bowlers, setting up a challenging task for India.
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