Australia crush India to win World Test Championship final

Published June 12, 2023
Australian players celebrate with the the ICC World Test Championship Mace after beating India in the final at The 
Oval on Sunday.—AFP
Australian players celebrate with the the ICC World Test Championship Mace after beating India in the final at The Oval on Sunday.—AFP

LONDON: A fired-up Aust­ralia wasted little time in pulverising Indian hopes of staging a fifth-day miracle as they romped to a 209-run victory in the World Test Championship (WTC) final on Sunday.

Needing to score 280 runs on the final day to overhaul the mammoth 444 victory target set by Australia, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane were che­e­red all the way to the pitch as they came out to resume India’s second innings on 164-3.

However, the boisterous fans, who had effectively created a mini-India at The Oval, were left muted and dejected as Scott Boland and his fellow Australian bowlers ripped thr­o­ugh the Indian batting order to dismiss the world’s top ran­ked team for 234 and wrap up victory before the lunch break.

The Indians lost their last seven wickets for the addition of just 70 runs on Sunday, leaving the jubilant Australians to come together in a celebratory huddle before captain Pat Cummins lifted the WTC mace while the familiar sounds of “Down Under” blared out of the loud speakers.

Their triumph was hailed by the International Cricket Council, who wrote on Twitter: “The all-conquering Australia have now won every ICC Men’s Trophy” along with a list of all their limited-overs and Test achievements.

Kohli and Rahane came out shouldering the hopes of a nation desperate to win their first global ICC trophy in 10 years and avoid suffering back-to-back defeats in WTC finals.

However, within 35 minutes of the session starting, India lost two wickets in the space of three balls to leave the 27,500-seater arena deathly silent.

Boland did the initial damage with two wickets in the seventh over, including the prize scalp of Kohli, on his way to figures of 3-46 in 16 overs.

Off-spinner Nathan Lyon (4-41) then polished off the tail.

Boland might not have been in the side but for an injury to Josh Hazlewood.

The 34-year-old seamer now looks to have assured himself of a place in Australia’s XI for the first Ashes Test against England at Edgbaston starting on Friday.

“It felt pretty good to get Kohli out,” said Boland, who has now taken 33 wickets in eight Tests at the remarkably low average of 14.57.

Defeat left India, beaten by New Zealand in the inaugural 2021 WTC final in Southa­mpton, still searching for their first piece of global silverware in a decade.

Australia, who had lost their last four Test series against India, were in charge from early on in this match after being sent into bat.

Both player-of-the-match Tr­a­vis Head (163) and star batsman Steve Smith (121) made hundreds in a first-innings total of 469.

“The way Travis and Smith put on that partnership put us at ease,” said Cummins.

The fast bowler added: “Boland was fantastic, he’s now my favourite player, everyone just did their role really well...We’ll savour this and then turn our attention to the Ashes.”

India skipper Rohit Sharma said: “In the second innings, we didn’t apply ourselves with the bat...Playing two (WTC) finals is a good achievement for us but, yeah, we would like to go a mile ahead of that as well.”

Chants of “Kohli, Kohli, Ko­h­li” rang out round the ground as the former India captain and Rahane walked out to bat.

But Kohli had added just five runs to his overnight score when, on 49, his edged drive off Boland was brilliantly caught by a diving Smith at second slip.

AUSTRALIA’S Steve Smith (second L) takes a catch to dismiss Indian batter Virat Kohli off the bowling of pacer Scott Boland.—Reuters
AUSTRALIA’S Steve Smith (second L) takes a catch to dismiss Indian batter Virat Kohli off the bowling of pacer Scott Boland.—Reuters

Two balls later, new batsman Ravindra Jadeja fell for a duck, caught behind nicking a superb Boland delivery that seamed away.

Rahane had marked his first Test in over a year by top-scoring with patient 89 in India’s first innings.

But an otherwise composed 46 on Sunday ended when he edged a booming drive off Mitchell Starc straight to wicket-keeper Alex Carey.

Lyon then proved too much for India’s tail and he finished the match when last man Mohammed Siraj was caught off a reverse sweep.

SCOREBOARD

AUSTRALIA (1st Innings) 469 (T. Head 163, S. Smith 121; Mohammed Siraj 4-108)

INDIA (1st Innings) 296 (A. Rahane 89, S. Thakur 51; P Cummins 3-83)

AUSTRALIA (2nd Innings) 270-8 decl (A. Carey 66 not out; R. Jadeja 3-58)

INDIA (2nd Innings):

R. Sharma lbw b Lyon 43

S. Gill c Green b Boland 18

C. Pujara c Carey b Cummins 27

V. Kohli c Smith b Boland 49

A. Rahane c Carey b Starc 46

R. Jadeja c Carey b Boland 0

S. Bharat c & b Lyon 23

S. Thakur lbw b Lyon 0

U. Yadav c Carey b Starc 1

M. Shami not out 13

M. Siraj c Boland b Lyon 1

EXTRAS (LB-2, NB-5, W-6) 13

TOTAL (all out, 63.3 overs) 234

FALL OF WICKETS: 1-41 (Gill), 2-92 (Rohit), 3-93 (Pujara), 4-179 (Kohli), 5-179 (Jadeja), 6-212 (Rahane), 7-213 (Thakur), 8-220 (Yadav), 9-223 (Bharat)

BOWLING: Cummins 13-1-55-1 (4nb, 1w); Boland 16-2-46-3; Starc 14-1-77-2 (1nb); Green 5-0-13-0 (1w); Lyon 15.3-2-41-4

RESULT: Australia won by 209 runs.

PLAYER-OF-THE-MATCH: Travis Head

Published in Dawn, June 12th, 2023

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