Ind vs Aus, World Test Championship 2023 Final: Team India hunt for early wickets on day 2 of WTC Final
Travis Head and Steven Smith’s resilient batting ensured that the Aussies came out on top after the first day. Head, one of the best attacking batters in Test cricket, scored his first century in England.
Indian pacers had a good start on day one of the World Test Championship (WTC) final against Australia at the Kennington Oval in London. Mohammed Siraj and Shardul Thakur picked up one wicket each in the first session of the day. Mohammad Shami struck early in the second session to dismiss ICC’s No.1 Test batter Marnus Labuschagne for 26. Then Australia started counter punching. Travis Head and Steven Smith’s resilient batting ensured that the Aussies came out on top after the first day. Head was terrific and quickly brought up his first century on English soil. The 29-year-old remained unbeaten on 146 at stumps. Smith needs five more runs today to bring up his 31st Test hundred.
The day started quite differently though. Mohammed Siraj claimed the first wicket of the final after sending Usman Khawaja back to the dressing room for a duck in the fourth over. David Warner was the next to depart. Shardul Thakur’s short-pitched delivery did the trick as the Aussie opener failed to time the pull shot properly. Three overs later, Mohammad Shami dismissed Marnus Labuschagne to claim his first wicket of the game.
Coming to bat at 76/3, Travis Head launched an aggressive counter-attacking style of batting to weather the storm. The No.5 stitched a solid partnership of 251 along with Steven Smith. Following the first day’s play, former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting was in full praise of Head. “He probably is (similar to Gilchrist). In fact he is probably scoring quicker now than Gilly probably ever did. His strike-rate through this (World Test Championship) qualification period is 81, which is higher than anyone else in the world to have scored more than 500 runs,” Ponting told ICC.
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Team India’s decision to have an extra pacer at the cost of Ravichandran Ashwin baffled many. After securing a positive start, Indian bowlers failed to carry forward the momentum. In pace-friendly English conditions, not a single Indian bowler could manage to finish day one’s play with an economy rate of less than three.
Skipper Rohit Sharma will now be desperately looking for a breakthrough in the first session of the second day. Dismantling two set batters will certainly be a tough task. Expect India to throw kitchen-sink at the Aussies to clinch their maiden WTC title.
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