WTC Final: India’s search for an ICC trophy was extended on Sunday as they were defeated by Pat Cummins and Co. by 209 runs in the World Test Championship (WTC) final at The Oval. India, who required 444 to win in the second innings, were bowled out for 234 by Australia, who won the match in the first session of play on the last day. Australia dominated proceedings from the start, with Travis Head and Steve Smith both hitting centuries to propel Australia to 469 in the first innings. The top order failed to put on a show, and Ajinkya Rahane’s tough 89, with crucial contributions from Shardul Thakur and Ravindra Jadeja, helped India save the follow-on in WTC Final.
In the second innings, India showed hints of a comeback, but a 93-run stand between Alex Carey and Mitchell Starc propelled them to 270/8 before declaring the innings. Chasing 444, India reached 164/3 at the end of Day 4. Scott Boland then provided Australia an ideal start on the last day, dismissing Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja in the same over. Steve Smith caught Kohli at slips for 49, while Jadeja got caught-behind a duck. Rahane then played a few shots before being bowled out for 46 by Mitchell Starc. Shardul Thakur, who had a half-century in the first innings, did not get off to a good start this time. The wickets continued to fall, and it was Nathan Lyon who delivered the havoc to win the WTC final.
Day 3: Jinx and Lord Shardul came to rescue
Ajinkya Rahane and Shardul Thakur’s heroic seventh wicket partnership on Day 3 helped spare India some embarrassment. The two combined for 109 runs off 145 balls, preventing India from losing more than one wicket in the opening session. Ajinkya Rahane fell to Pat Cummins on 89 after a spectacular catch by Cameron Green at gully, shortening the stand’s duration in the second session. Thakur persevered and eventually got 50 before losing on 51 against Green. Australia gained a 173-run advantage in the first innings after India was finally all out for 296 runs. Mohammed Siraj and Mohammed Shami then charged in with all guns blazing, and David Warner lost early.
After surviving an 11-over run before Tea and Australia were 23/1 at the end of the session, Marnus Labuschagne and Usman Khawaja continued to bat. Soon after play resumed, Khawaja was out, and Steve Smith changed the Australia’s strategy. When Smith unexpectedly tried for a massive heave against Jadeja and was killed, he and Labuschagne had piled up 62 runs for the third wicket and appeared to have fully shut down any possibilities for India. Travis Head lost to Ravindra Jadeja as well without getting many points. Then, Labuschagne and Cameron Green led Australia to victory at Stumps. At the end of the day, they’re still firmly in command despite the lack of runs. Australia has a 123/4 score and a 296 run advantage.
Day 2: Head (163) & Smith(121) strengthen Aussies while Indian batting debacle continues
At the conclusion of the day’s games, Australia were pleased with their outstanding performance. Smith and Head resumed where they left off from yesterday, scoring 100 and 150 runs, respectively. However, the Indian bowlers swiftly picked them up, giving the team some encouragement. With a quick-fire 48, Alex Carey helped Australia reach 469.
India responded brilliantly, with Rohit and Gill displaying motivation early on. But the Australian spinners made precise attacks on the stumps. With a ball that jagged back in, Cummins was able to LBW the skipper. Boland persuaded Gill to fire one that appeared to hit the top of the off. Pujara then made a pitch from Green that seemed to come in and hit off-stump.
Starc threw a back of a length ball that Kohli had to play, but because of the additional bounce, the ball caught the bat’s shoulder and fell into Steve Smith’s hands at slip. Rahane and Jadeja attempted to form a partnership, but Nathan Lyon took their opportunity with a ball that bounced and spun, taking his edge, and Smith at slip made no mistake.
Day 1: Australia on the driver’s seat
Travis Head made the Indians pay at the Oval. Head rushed to a 156-ball 146 after being given the go-ahead to take his shots. The southpaw expertly timed the ball while cutting and driving with force. Head began to settle in and bombard the third-man region with uppercuts.
With a hook off Shami, Head scored his century in 106 deliveries. Head endured a barrage of bouncers from Siraj and Shami in the 1990s, but he survived to fight another day.
Steve Smith, who resumed his fantasy run at this location, was a great companion for Head. Smith is now just a few runs away from scoring his third century in as many attempts. The final session was dominated by Smith and Head, who scored goals at will.
Mohammed Siraj stole Usman Khawaja’s (0) wicket in the early session to help India get off to a strong start. David Warner was on the back foot because Mohammad Shami was a little short with his length. Warner, who has had trouble scoring runs, regained his form with a 60-ball 43. When Warner gloved a long hop from Shardul Thakur to wicketkeeper K.S. Bharat, he fell against the flow of play.
After lunch, Shami adjusted his length and saw quick success. The stumps were removed after Marnus Labuschagne (26 off 62 balls) played all over a full floater that dipped in.