Bowling first under overcast conditions, India got off to a good start as Usman Khawaja was caught behind for a duck off a good delivery from Mohammed Siraj. David Warner (43 off 60) and Marnus Labuschagne (26 off 62) then added 69 for the second wicket to put Australia in a decent position.
India fought back well to dismiss both the set batters either side of the first break. Warner was caught down the leg side off Shardul Thakur towards the end of the first session. Labuschagne was then knocked over by a beauty from Mohammed Shami at the start of the post-lunch session.
At 76/3, India seemed to have the upper hand. However, Head and Smith played contrasting knocks to lift Australia, featuring a superb 251-run unbroken stand for the fourth wicket. Head struck 22 fours and a six, while Smith helped himself to 14 fours, playing the anchor role in the partnership. While India had some say in the first session, Australia dominated the next two, adding 97/1 and 157/0 respectively.
Speaking after his brilliant knock, Head said that Australia had done an exceptionally good job on day one after losing the toss. He commented, “Lot of hard work to do in the morning, but nice to come off with a really good start. I had a wonderful time, this time in '19, we played a million warm-up games and A series. This time completely different. We know the process well and train and have the backing.”
On this key to success, Head added, “Making sure I am in really good position, I felt like today I was for most of my innings. I was tested, there were moments I thought they were going to come with plans. Trying to be adjustable on the job, work through and negate those periods and stay relaxed at the same time. It's nice when you have got a bloke at the other end playing as well as he is.
“I always love batting with Steve, I always feel I go under the radar because there are so many plans bowling to him,” he stated.
--By A Cricket Correspondent