Australia wins the WTC Final after day two’s bowlers perform well

The Australian attack pounded India’s top order, leaving Rohit Sharma’s team 5 down and trailing by 318 runs at the conclusion of play on Thursday. This effectively eliminated the majority of the positive momentum India had gained by capturing 7/142 in a far-improved bowling performance.

In response to Australia’s first-innings total of 469, Shubman Gill got things started with a beautiful cover drive. Rohit got things going quickly at the other end, as a sizable Indian audience roared each of his shots to the rafters.

But before tea, both openers were back in the hutch.


When Scott Boland was introduced after just two Mitchell Starc overs, Pat Cummins trapped his opponent in front for 15 and removed India’s outstanding prodigy with what might be his first of many wickets this English summer.

Boland, 34, sent a ball angling into Gill, who sought to depart but was thwarted by more movement off the seam, which sent the ball rocketing through the top of the off-stump.

Gill seemed bewildered as Virat Kohli marched by him to the crease, but the crowd favourite and Cheteshwar Pujara both made it through the rest of the session.

Australia claimed another wicket in the final session in less than four overs, and it was almost an exact replica of Gill’s dismissal: Pujara left a stunning delivery.

In contrast to Gill, who was dumbfounded, Pujara was enraged and swung his bat in anger at the miscalculation as Australia’s all-rounder celebrated his first Test wicket in England.

And Kohli’s time in the middle came to a sudden end when Mitchell Starc, who bowled a variety of deliveries that day, discovered a magnificent delivery that lifted from short of a length into Kohli’s body, leaving him no choice but to parry it off the splice to the slips.

All of India’s top four players hit double figures, but none went over 15 as Australia’s offence outperformed it in terms of quality.

The two added 71 runs before the all-rounder was caught at slip off Nathan Lyon for a 51-ball 48, sparking a brief comeback that gave the Indian fans something to cheer about.

With Lyon’s success, Australia’s five-man attack shared the five wickets that fell evenly among themselves, putting on a masterful team performance.

After a poor first day, India’s quick bowlers had earlier rebounded admirably with the ball, dismissing century-makers Travis Head and Steve Smith just before lunch and collecting 7/142 for the day to dismiss Australia for 469.

The third ball of the day, after Smith had restarted on 95* and clipped the first two deliveries he faced to the leg-side boundary, saw him reach his century.

In the first 15 minutes of play, the Smith and Head partnership surpassed the previous record for a fourth-wicket stand in Tests at The Oval, helping Australia get off to a great start.

As Head approached his 150, it appeared ominous for India’s bowling assault since the sun was shining brightly in south London.

However, the second new ball still had enough life in it, and the four pacer bowlers had some outstanding periods throughout the morning session to shift the tide in India’s favour.

The game’s leading scorer, Head, left for 163, and it was a fired-up Mohammed Siraj who made the first breakthrough, tucking Head up with a ball.

When Green (6) edged a beautiful delivery through to the slips, where it was superbly held by Gill, Mohammed Shami quickly added another wicket to his tally for the session.

Shami and Siraj both bowled well in the first hour, but after drinks, India’s much-discussed four-man speed unit’s replacement bowlers kept the momentum rolling.

Umesh Yadav was bowling quickly and aggressively at the pavilion end when Shardul Thakur entered from the other side and secured the scalp that India so desperately desired by tempting Smith’s bat’s inside edge to drive the ball towards the stumps.

Smith received a standing ovation as he left the field after scoring 128 — his ninth century in a Test match against India and 31st overall — and his dismissal gave India additional momentum as they continued their hunt for more victims before lunch.

The third Australian to leave the game was Starc, who was expertly run out by the replacement fielder Axar Patel after attempting an overly optimistic fast single.

Alex Carey scored a burst of runs (48 from 60), and after that India resumed their pattern of getting wickets, Jadeja catching Carey in front before Siraj rattled Lyon’s stumps.

Early on in the second day, India needed wickets—lots of them—and they succeeded in getting them thanks to their outstanding bowling performance.

However, the optimism was short-lived as the Australian onslaught improved even more, firmly placing Australia in control of this World Test Championship Final.

With KS Bharat and Ajinkya Rahane on 5* and 29*, respectively, India will resume play on 151/5.

Leave a Comment