Australia clinched it’s maiden World Test Championship final trophy with an emphatic 209 run victory over India at the Oval on Sunday just days out from the first Ashes test.
Led by Steve Smith and man of the match Travis Head, the Aussies were never under pressure after racking up a first innings total of 469 as they went on to avenge their Border-Gavaskar series loss earlier this year.
Smith notched up his 31st test ton while Head produced a sublime 169 runs as Australia outclassed India’s formidable batting line up with clinical spells of bowling led by Scott Boland who finished with 5/105.
The World Test Championship is contested between nine countries who field test match teams. The final is played between the two best sides with the winner crowned the undisputed champions of test cricket.
Skipper Pat Cummins praised his side’s effort and Australia’s record overseas to put them in a position to win the silverware.
“To make it to the final you’ve got to win everywhere in the world,” he said.
‘The boys were fantastic the whole way through, we adapted well… that’s what makes this so satisfying.”
India’s captain Rohit Sharma said the result was disappointing.
“We [went] slightly away from our plans, we didn’t execute what we should have on that pitch because there was lot of assistance on the pitch,” he said.
“[A] lot of the things we spoke off… how we want to bowl, how we want to bat, we didn’t do that.
“That’s probably the reason we were behind in the game all four days.”
Congratulations to our World Test Champions 🏆 pic.twitter.com/0cB3fHDd8U
— Cricket Australia (@CricketAus) June 11, 2023
After loosing the toss, Australia took advantage of their first innings total by producing a strong bowling performance.
Cummins and left arm quick Mitchell Starc removed the dangerous Sharma and Virat Kohli respectively while Boland had Cheteshwar Pujara caught off the athletic Cameron Green, who took some brilliant catches in the field.
All three of the Indian batsmen, who are known for posting big totals, fell cheaply as India were reduced for 4/71 early in their first innings.
The Indians struggled to adapt to the conditions as Australia’s bowlers got the ball to swing and bounce viciously on the English wicket, which had decent grass coverage over the first two days of play.
India managed to fight back with an important partnership between middle order players Ajinkya Rahane and Ravidnra Jadeja.
Rahane’s 89 off 129 deliveries gave India a fighting chance whilst Shardul Thakur’s half-century took India to a total of 296 runs helping them avoid a follow on.
With a 173-run lead, Australia’s second innings got off to a rocky start but Marnus Labuschagne and Smith toiled hard to contain India’s Mohammad Siraj and Mohammad Shami, who bowled well late on day three of the match.
The seamers troubled Australia’s batsmen as they extracted awkward bounce off the pitch which led to the dismissals of the pair just just as they got comfortable at the crease. A quick fire 66 from wicket-keeper Alex Carey put Australia back on the front foot and they set India 444 runs on day four to win the match.
Australia’s bowlers picked up where they left off in the first innings. Boland took the crucial wicket of Kohli, dismissed on 49, while Starc kept the pressure on Rahane with the old ball and had him caught behind the stumps on 46.
Never to miss out on the action, Nathan Lyon produced a great spell on the final day. The off-spinner sealed the win by taking the final wicket as India were dismissed for 234.
The Ashes get underway in Edgbaston on Friday.
Image Credits: Channel 7