David Warner led a rebuilding job but was denied a half-century as Australia reached 73 for two at lunch on the opening day of the World Test Championship (WTC) final against India at The Oval on Wednesday (7).
After Usman Khawaja fell for a duck, Warner shared a 69-run stand with Marnus Labuschagne, who reached 26 not out, to steady the innings.
Shardul Thakur dismissed Warner for 43 in the penultimate over before lunch.
Steve Smith was unbeaten on two at the interval at a venue where he has a test average of 97.
Earlier, India did not have to wait long for a breakthrough after captain Rohit Sharma won the toss and inserted Australia on a grassy wicket.
Like his new-ball partner Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj also began with a maiden over before returning to dismiss Khawaja.
It was a wobble-seam delivery from Siraj which kissed the outside edge of Khawaja’s bat before nestling into wicketkeeper KS Bharat’s gloves.
Siraj knocked the bat out of Labuschagne’s hand with a rising delivery that hit the Australian, who is the world’s top-ranked test batter, on the thumb.
After a quiet opening hour, Warner cut loose and hit Umesh Yadav for four fours, including three in a row, in an over.
Shardul Thakur had two lbw appeals against Labuschagne turned down and India reviewed both decisions but could not get them reversed.
The seamer struck before the lunch break when Warner gloved the ball trying to pull it and Bharat dived to his right to take his second catch.
There was no place for off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin in India’s seam-heavy attack with all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja their lone spin option.
Scott Boland replaced injured fast bowler Josh Hazlewood for Australia.