A lot of talk surrounded the Indian team's combination before the start of the ICC World Test Championship Final (WTC), especially regarding the omission of Ravichandran Ashwin. There have been mixed reactions to the team's selection as they went in with just one spinner in Ravindra Jadeja and opted for four fast bowlers on a green pitch at The Oval against Australia.
India captain Rohit Sharma said that it wasn't an easy decision to not include Ashwin in the playing XI. The commentators in the match also discussed about the selection at length.
Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting was surprised with the decision and said that India made a mistake by thinking about short-term gains rather than looking ahead.
Ponting highlights the importance of Ashwin
Ponting feels Ashwin would have been a force to reckon with in the latter stages of the Test match as conditions on this ground get better for the spinners in the final two days under bright Sunshine and a hard pitch to deal with.
"India have fallen into the trap of picking an attack for the first inning of this Test match only," Ponting said during commentary in the first session.
"The reason why I was surprised that Ashwin was left out is because of the number of left-handers Australia have. There's no doubt in my mind that Ashwin would have bowled a lot better than Jadeja later on in the Test.
"The big decision that they had to make was between Thakur and Umesh. I was leaning towards Thakur because he would be my workhorse to give a bit of a break to the strike bowlers Shami and Siraj. You can go to Jadeja for a couple of overs just to tie the game down a bit," he added.
Australia take honours in first two sessions
Australia are in a commanding position on the first day as they reached 170 for 3 by tea with Steve Smith (33*) and Travis Head (60*) at the crease.
India made a good start with the ball in the first session as Mohammed Siraj removed Usman Khawaja for a duck in the fourth over before David Warner (43) and Marnus Labuschagne stitched a 69-run partnership for the second wicket.
Shardul Thakur broke the stand with the wicket of Warner before Mohammed Shami bowled Labuschagne (26) with his first delivery after the Lunch break.
But the Aussies recovered from there on and added 97 runs in the second session thanks to the Smith and Head partnership.
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