Squaring off against hosts Australia in the fourth and the final Test in Brisbane on Friday, India fielded an inexperienced side. Losing most of the seasoned players to injury and fatigue the visitors handed debut to Washington Sundar and T Natarajan. The rookie side did manage to jolt the hosts but Marnus Labuschagne brought up his fifth Test ton to hurt the visitors’ cause. Australia ended Day 1 on 274/5 at stumps at the Gabba.
Owing to injury India had to go with a young inexperienced side on Friday. In absence of Jaspit Bumrah, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, it was Sundar and Natarajan who made their debut. Shardul Thakur was the fourth pacer in the line-up beside Navdeep Saini. To rub salt in their wounds, India missed services of Saini during the last session from a niggle.
Mohammed Siraj struck in the first over of the opening session as David Warner nicked one to the second slip as he walked back on 1. Marcus Harris soon followed the footsteps of Warner when he was dismissed by Thakur, thus the hosts reduced to 17 for two.
Steve Smith and Labuschagne took the charge and steadied the ship thereafter as the duo kneaded a 70-run partnership. Both the batters relished a free flow of runs as began to frustrate the bowlers. India paid for their poor fielding as they dropped Labuschagne twice before his fifty.
Sundar came back into the attack who did a commendable job to keep the Aussies in check. He dismissed Smith on 36. In came Mathew Wade, who played the perfect second fiddle to Labuschagne who kept the run rate hopping. The missed chances turned out costly as the Aussie brought up his 5th Test hundred and went on to stitch a 113-run stand with Wade.
It was Natarajan who broke the partnership when he dismissed Wade on 45. Wade missed out on a fifty. Two overs later, Natarajan struck again to pick up the prized wicket of Labuschagne on 108. With Tim Paine (38) and Cameron Green (28) at the crease, the hosts finished the day on 274/5.