Bowlers excel as Gill gains important insight: The major issues from day two

During day two of the ICC World Test Championship Final on Thursday, the two best Test cricket teams put on a great show for the millions of people watching online and the 23,666 people at the Oval.

Steve Smith and Travis Head reached important batting goals, Axar Patel did an amazing job as a substitute fielder, and both bowling attacks turned up the heat in the WTC Final.

We look at some of the most interesting things that happened in another day of the World Test Championship.

Awesome Australia got into a good rhythm

Some people have said that this group of Australian players’ tour of England this summer will be a turning point in their careers, and they couldn’t have asked for a better start.

After Head and Smith’s work on the first day, Australia’s bowlers worked well together to make it hard for India to answer.

This Australian pace attack works well together because each bowler asks hitters different questions and brings different height and bounce to the table. Pat Cummins and Scott Boland’s tight control slows down batting units. Mitchell Starc’s x-factor left-arm rockets add fire, and all-rounder Cameron Green gives the team an extra high-quality tool.

And they used their skills to perfection at The Oval, getting rid of a number of batsmen in ways that will be remembered for a long time. Nathan Lyon’s last wicket made sure that all five bowlers got an equal number of wickets.

Don’t leave the ball in England, tell yourself.

It took some good bowling to get the wickets, but both Shubman Gill and Cheteshwar Pujara will be asking why they chose to leave deliveries that were clearly in the mythical corridor of uncertainty.

This was a ball that started out just a little bit wider than Boland’s other balls and then angled in to take the middle and off. Gill’s face said it all.

Even more surprising was that Green beat Pujara in the same way. This must be one of the very few times that an experienced player has ever been sent home in that way.

In both cases, Boland and Green did a great job, which is something to be proud of. But that won’t stop the Indian pair from going over and over in their heads how they were out.

Smith is still in charge.

The amazing numbers show how good Steve Smith is at batting
Smith was already known as one of the best players in the game, but another century solidifies his dominatingly good records against India and in Tests played in England.

Smith’s latest century brought his career average back above 60, and on a sunny day in south London, the biggest surprise was that he didn’t make it a daddy hundred.

India’s attack comes back to bite it

India’s bowlers had a terrible first day. They didn’t take advantage of the cloud cover in the morning and then didn’t do much during Steve Smith and Travis Head’s strong combination.

Most of the questions from the media were about how smart India’s tactics, strategy, and fitness were. Knives were sharpened in case Thursday’s play had gone in a similar way, which it did not.

But India’s bowling team deserves all the credit. When Australia came back on day two, they turned up the heat and bowled with skill and drive to get rid of the two centurions and all seven other wickets by the middle of the second session.

Mohammed Siraj was the best bowler, but Ravindra Jadeja and the other four quick bowlers were also very good.

Gary Pratt can do anything…

The looking at Ricky Ponting watched with a wry smile as a replacement fielder at an English Test ground did a stunning run-out.

Mitchell Starc kept running back to the pavilion even though Axar Patel’s straight hit was so good that the stumps at the other end were all over the place.

It didn’t take long for Gary Pratt’s shocking run-out of Ponting in the 2005 Ashes series to come up, and the former Australian captain grinned through the memory of a moment he’d rather forget.

“Every time I’ve been to the UK since 2005, a substitute fielder has reminded me that I was run out,” Ponting told the ICC.

“It took them about two minutes, and sure enough, Nasser Hussain, who was in the commentary box, always likes to talk about Gary Pratt in 2005.

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