• Friday, September 22, 2023

WTC final: Australia resurrect innings after India pacers pick top 3

Usman Khawaja of Australia reacts after being dismissed India pacer Mohammed Siraj on Day 1 of the ICC World Test Championship final at The Oval on June 7, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

Australia were trying to resurrect their innings after India’s pacers rattled their top order by reducing them to 76 for 3 just after lunch in the World Test Championship (WTC) final at the Oval on Wednesday (7) with spearheads Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj and Shardul Thakur sharing the wickets between them.

Australia, who were asked to bat first by India captain Rohit Sharma after he won the toss, had a disastrous start as one of their opening batters Usman Khawaja fell for nought in the fourth over off the bowling of Siraj.

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Khawaja was caught by wicket-keeper KS Bharat in the 10th ball that he faced.

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Australia lost their other opener David Warner in the 22nd over when he too got caught by Bharat off the bowling of Thakur for 43 off 60 balls. Australia went to lunch with the score reading 73 for 2. Soon after the game resumed after the break, Shami castled Marnus Labuschagne for 26 runs off 62 balls to leave the Kangaroos reeling at 76 for 3. It was then when Steve Smith (12 not out) and Travis Friend (28 not out) came together to take the score to 114.

This is the first time that the two old foes are battling it out for top laurels on a neutral venue.

The Asian side left out Ravichandran Ashwin, world’s top ranked Test bowler for the game, and picked Ravindra Jadeja as the only spinner in the side. The team’s four-pronged pace attack included Mohammed Shami, Siraj, Umesh Yadav and Shardul Thakur.

Ashwin picked four wickets in the final of the inaugural WTC in which India and New Zealand locked horns and was the only Indian bowler to pick wickets in both innings of the match that the Kiwis won by eight wickets.

The five-day one-off final has a reserve day in place in case rain intervenes just like it did during the 2021 final in Southampton.

The Australia bowling attack was led by captain Pat Cummins and two other pacers Mitchell Starc and Scott Boland and spinner Nathan Lyon.

Team India also observed a moment of silence for victims of the horrific train crash in the eastern state of Odisha ahead of the start of the match.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India in a statement said that the team will wear black armbands throughout the WTC final.

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