Thursday, June 20, 2024

Australia crush India to clinch maiden World Test Championship titl

Australian team
The Australian team celebrate as captain Pat Cummins holds the winners trophy during the victory ceremony for the ICC World Test Championship Final at The Oval cricket ground in London, Sunday, June 11, 2023. Australian defeated India on the last day of the test. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

London, June 11: Crushing India’s hopes of a final-day miracle, a fired-up Australia romped to an impressive 209-run victory as Pat Cummins and co. clinched their maiden World Test Championship title at the Oval on Sunday.
Needing 280 runs on the fifth day to overhaul a record 444 victory target set by Australia, India lost the remaining seven wickets in the morning session as the team’s poor show in ICC events continued.
This is now India’s second defeat in successive WTC final after losing to New Zealand in 2021 in the inaugural edition.
Pacer Scott Boland produced a bowling spell of rare quality to get rid of Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja in the same over, effectively shutting the door on India, who were bowled out for 234 in their second innings.
Australia were clearly the better team on all fronts while India had only themselves to blame for yet another loss in a global event. India’s last ICC title came way back in 2013.
While the non selection of R Aswhin was the big talking point on the opening day, India lost the title contest mainly due to the failure of their high-profile batting line-up.
The top four comprising Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara and Kohli failed to deliver in the high-stake game.
Chasing a record 444 at The Oval, Indian fans went into day five high on hope with Kohli (49) and Ajinkya Rahane (46) walking into the middle.
However, Boland removing Kohli and Jadeja (0) in the seventh over of the morning pretty much shut the door on India, who resumed the day at 164 for three needing another 280 runs for an improbable win.
Kohli, who had looked in extremely good touch on day four, had to make a big hundred if India had to get anywhere close to the massive target.
On a surface with variable bounce, there was always going to be an odd ball that had your name on it, and that is what happened with both Kohli and Jadeja.
Boland’s relentless pursuit around the off-stump has added an extra dimension to the Australian attack. Bowling from the pavilion end, the seamer pitched one wide and Kohli went for the drive only to be caught by a flying Steve Smith at second slip.
Two balls later, he got one to seam away from round the wicket and Jadeja ended up offering an easy catch to the wicketkeeper, leaving India at 179 for five.
K S Bharat then joined Rahane who played a couple of beautiful straight drives off Mitchell Starc to keep crowd going.
Starc drew his length back soon after and Rahane went hard at a ball that he could have left to be caught behind, sealing his team’s fate. The experienced batter was left tapping his head in frustration knowing he went for the wrong shot.
Shardul Thakur lasted just five balls, lbw off Nathan Lyon, to make it 213 for seven. It seemed the match would last till lunch but the Indian tail made the task easier for the Australians and were bowled out in the extra half hour of play.
(ToI With inputs from PTI)