WTC Finals 2023 Challenging Session: Slow start for Warner and Labuschagne as Khawaja departs early

The highly anticipated World Test Championship final between India and Australia at The Oval kicked off with an intense battle between bat and ball. The first 10 overs of the match witnessed some key moments, with Australia losing an early wicket and their star batsmen, David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne, struggling to find their momentum.

The match took an intriguing turn in the third over when India’s Mohammed Siraj delivered a brilliant wobble seam delivery to Usman Khawaja. Bowling at an impressive pace of 144kph, Siraj managed to move the ball slightly away from outside the off stump. Khawaja, known for his attacking strokeplay, decided to play at the ball but could only manage to edge it.

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Behind the stumps, the alert wicketkeeper, Srikar Bharat, made no mistake and took a comfortable catch to dismiss Khawaja without him opening his account. It was an early breakthrough for India and a significant blow to Australia’s batting lineup.

Meanwhile, at the other end, David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne were struggling to find their rhythm against the disciplined Indian bowling attack. Warner, known for his aggressive batting, had only managed to score 13 runs off 25 deliveries by the end of the 10th over. Labuschagne, who had been in good form leading up to the final, also found it difficult to get going, scoring just 8 runs off 25 deliveries.

As the overs progressed, the Indian bowlers maintained a tight line and length, making it challenging for Warner and Labuschagne to score freely. The pressure built on the Australian batsmen, and they were unable to break free and establish a strong partnership.

In a moment of concern for Australia, Labuschagne faced a challenging delivery from Siraj in the ninth over. Siraj delivered a well-directed bouncer that unexpectedly bounced higher than Labuschagne anticipated. As Labuschagne attempted to leave the ball alone, it struck him on the left thumb, causing him to drop his bat instantly. The physiotherapist rushed onto the field to assess Labuschagne’s condition, but fortunately, he showed resilience and decided to continue batting.

Siraj continued to pose a threat to Labuschagne on the very next ball. Delivering a fuller length delivery, he enticed Labuschagne to defend with soft hands. The ball took the outside edge but fell short of the waiting fielder at third slip, giving Labuschagne a lifeline and allowing him to continue his innings.

As the first 10 overs concluded, it was evident that Australia had faced a challenging session. Losing the early wicket of Khawaja and struggling to find their rhythm, Warner and Labuschagne would need to regroup and build a solid partnership to stabilize the Australian innings.