Travis Head dropped for Matthew Renshaw, score at stumps, Rohit Sharma, Todd Murphy wicket

Australia made a massive selection gamble for the opening Test against India

Selectors made the shock decision to axe Travis Head, who averaged a tick over 50 in Test cricket in 2022.

That decision was then made to look awful as the South Australian’s replacement at No.5 in the batting order, Matthew Renshaw, was sent packing for a golden duck.

AS IT HAPPENED: First Test, day one

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After Australia was skittled for 177 in 63 overs, India reached stumps on the first day at 1-77.

Captain Rohit Sharma (56 from 69) and nightwatchman Ravichandran Ashwin will resume in the middle on day two, after Australian debutant Todd Murphy removed KL Rahul to grab his maiden Test wicket.

Head pounded 525 runs at the average of 87.5 against the West Indies and South Africa over the Australian summer, but has struggled mightily on the subcontinent, averaging just 21.3 across seven Tests.

Despite Head’s subcontinent failures, Australian great Matthew Hayden was among those stunned by Head’s ommission, with the legendary opener admitting he was left “speechless” at the toss.

“I can’t believe it. For me, he was the player of the summer,” Hayden said on Fox Cricket’s coverage.

“Totally different conditions to Brisbane, I know, but his 90 there was so good. He made it look flat even though it wasn’t. It was a raging green-top.”

Hayden was far from the only Australian Test legend stunned by the call, with ex-captain Steve Waugh equally bemused.

”Hard to believe we can drop the No.4-ranked Test batsman in the world and probably our best batsman in the last 12 months, plus he bowls better than average off spin. Let’s wait and see – maybe the Aussie selectors are genius’s!” Waugh wrote on Instagram.

Australia was pegged back in the first session after winning the toss and electing to bat first, losing both Usman Khawaja and David Warner for 1 in the opening two overs.

Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne briefly embarked on a rebuild mission, before Head’s absence was made even more glaring when Ravindra Jadeja sparked a middle-order collapse in the second session.

Labuschagne was dismissed for 49 and Smith 37, and while Peter Handscomb (31) and Alex Carey (36) combined for a healthy partnership, another clump of wickets tumbled as Jadeja finished with a five-for.

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