Watch: Two Indian batters bowled after leaving ball against Australia in WTC final
Gill and Pujara were dismissed in a manner that is any Test batter’s worst nightmare: shouldering arms, and turning around to see the wickets spoilt.
India’s first innings against Australia very nearly turned into a crisis, as they were left reeling at 71/4 with a daunting score of 469 still left to track down. After putting Australia in to bat on day 1 at The Oval, India fell behind in the World Test Championship final after twin centuries from Steve Smith and Travis Head. Matters went from bad to worse as both Shubman Gill and Cheteshwar Pujara were dismissed in a manner that is any Test batter’s worst nightmare: shouldering arms, and turning around to see the wickets spoilt.
In a sequence of events that betrayed perhaps a lack of focus and application to batting for a long time at the crease, as the situation required, a brisk Indian start meant very little as two wickets within the space of a few deliveries pinned the Indian batting back. Captain Rohit Sharma first fell LBW to his Australian counterpart Pat Cummins, but just then disaster struck as in-form Gill watched a delivery pitching outside off nip back in and castle his off-stump.
Gill has shown a rich vein of form in the recently concluded IPL and looked in good touch while he was at the crease, but an error of judgement was all it was took for Scott Boland to make inroads. While it was a dangerous delivery on the top of off, Gill would be supremely disappointed that he misread which way the ball would seam.
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Pujara and Virat Kohli then looked to stitch together a recovery partnership and bring their team back into the game. Pujara, a senior batter in the team fresh off a County stint with Sussex in the Championship, was caught napping similarly to Gill. He fell victim to Cameron Green, Australia’s fifth bowling option, as he left a delivery which he thought would go over the stumps. It stayed low, and Pujara looked visibly disgusted with his choice to let a straight one go.
Watch the two dismissals below:
oth batters came into criticism from pundits and former players, with their commitment and focus on the task at hand questioned, especially after the manner in which Smith and Head had dealt with similar length bowling from the Indian attack. Forced to track down a large total, these early wickets falling in such a manner would have stung the Indian batters, not forcing the Australian bowlers to beat them but rather costing their own wickets. After toiling in the field for over four sessions, both Pujara and Gill would have wanted to score greater runs rather than fall in such a meek manner.
Kohli would also fall to Mitchell Starc, before Ravindra Jadeja’s counter-attack would be cut short by Nathan Lyon. All five front-line Australian bowlers chipped in with wickets, sending Ajinkya Rahane and KS Bharat in overnight to try and post a competitive total.