Australia's Cameron Green (2L) celebrates taking the wicket of India's Cheteshwar Pujara
Australia's Cameron Green (2L) celebrates taking the wicket of India's Cheteshwar Pujara (unseen) during day 2 of the World Test Championship final at The Oval, in London, on June 8, 2023. Image Credit: AFP

London: Australia racked up 469 in their first innings and then reduced India to 151-5 to put themselves in the box seat in the World Test Championship (WTC) final at The Oval on Thursday.

Having bled 327 runs on the opening day with only three wickets to show for, India staged a comeback after their seam-heavy attack bowled out Australia in Thursday's second session.

Their star-studded top order, however, let India down and Australia look on course to claim a decisive first-innings lead after dominating the first two days of the contest.

India trail by 318 runs with Ajinkya Rahane batting on 29 and KS Bharat on five at the other end.

Earlier, Australia run-machine Steve Smith, resuming on 95, duly brought up his 31st test hundred with back-to-back fours off Mohammed Siraj.

The former Australia captain also equalled Englishman Joe Root's record of nine test hundreds against India in the process.

At the other end, overnight centurion Travis Head crossed the 150-mark before Siraj (4-108) broke his 285-run stand with Smith, the highest fourth-wicket partnership at the venue.

Head, whose 163 off 174 balls included 25 fours and a six, gloved a short ball down the leg side giving Bharat his third catch of the match.

Mohammed Shami had Cameron Green caught in the slip for six and Smith departed after dragging a delivery from Shardul Thakur on to his stumps.

Smith's patient 121, which contained 19 fours, was his third test hundred in six innings at The Oval.

Alex Carey made 48 down the order before falling to Ravindra Jadeja who is India's lone spin option in the match.

India scored nearly at a run-a-ball rate in the first four overs before Scott Boland replaced Mitchell Starc and put the pressure back on the openers.

Australia captain Pat Cummins drew first blood when he trapped his counterpart Rohit Sharma lbw for 15.

In the next over, Boland dismissed Shubman Gill (13), who did not offer a shot to an incoming ball that crashed into his off-stump.

With India reeling on 30-2, Cheteshwar Pujara's ability to bat long was exactly what his team needed the most.

The 35-year-old made 14 before falling in a fashion identical to Gill's dismissal - not offering shot to a Green delivery that pegged back his off-stump.

In contrast, Virat Kohli was done in by extra bounce.

The batter had looked assured for his 14 but could only fend a steeply rising delivery from Starc to Smith at second slip.

Rahane got a reprieve on 17 when he was adjudged lbw but he stayed on after replays confirmed Cummins had over-stepped.

Ravindra Jadeja made a counter-attacking 48 before edging Nathan Lyon to Smith in the slip in a late blow to India's hopes of staying alive in the contest.

"I think we're in a really strong position after two days," Boland told the official broadcasters.

"I think the pitch is going a little bit up and down, which we saw in the last couple of overs.

"So hopefully it's harder for India to bat tomorrow."

Australia 1st innings

David Warner c Srikar Bharat b Shardul Thakur 43
Usman Khawaja c Srikar Bharat b Mohammed Siraj 0
Marnus Labuschagne b Mohammed Shami 26
Steven Smith b Shardul Thakur 121
Travis Head c Srikar Bharat b Mohammed Siraj 163
Cameron Green c Shubman Gill b Mohammed Shami 6
Alex Carey lbw Ravindra Jadeja 48
Mitchell Starc Run Out (Sub) 5
Pat Cummins c Ajinkya Rahane b Mohammed Siraj 9
Nathan Lyon b Mohammed Siraj 9
Scott Boland Not Out 1
Extras 13b 10lb 7nb 0pen 8w 38
Total (121.3 overs) 469 all out

Fall of Wickets : 1-2 Khawaja, 2-71 Warner, 3-76 Labuschagne, 4-361 Head, 5-376 Green, 6-387 Smith, 7-402 Starc, 8-453 Carey, 9-468 Lyon, 10-469 Cummins

Bowling Ov Md Rn Wk Econ Ex
Mohammed Shami 29 4 122 2 4.21 1w 2nb
Mohammed Siraj 28.3 4 108 4 3.79 3w 1nb
Umesh Yadav 23 5 77 0 3.35
Shardul Thakur 23 4 83 2 3.61 4nb
Ravindra Jadeja 18 2 56 1 3.11

India 1st innings

Rohit Sharma lbw Pat Cummins 15
Shubman Gill b Scott Boland 13
Cheteshwar Pujara b Cameron Green 14
Virat Kohli c Steven Smith b Mitchell Starc 14
Ajinkya Rahane Not Out 29
Ravindra Jadeja c Steven Smith b Nathan Lyon 48
Srikar Bharat Not Out 5
Extras 4b 4lb 5nb 0pen 0w 13
Total (38.0 overs) 151-5

Fall of Wickets : 1-30 Sharma, 2-30 Gill, 3-50 Pujara, 4-71 Kohli, 5-142 Jadeja
To Bat : Thakur, Yadav, Shami, Siraj

Bowling Ov Md Rn Wk Econ Ex
Mitchell Starc 9 0 52 1 5.78
Pat Cummins 9 2 36 1 4.00 4nb
Scott Boland 11 4 29 1 2.64
Cameron Green 7 1 22 1 3.14 1nb
Nathan Lyon 2 0 4 1 2.00