WTC Final | Travis Head’s century, Australia’s 327 for three at stumps, Team India in trouble

AP/PTI Photo London. A blistering century from Travis Head left the Indian pace attack looking flimsy as Australia made a commanding 327 for three at stumps on the first day of the World Test Championship (WTC) final here on Wednesday. The decision not to pick Ravichandran Ashwin in the playing XI again backfired as neither Umesh Yadav nor Shardul Thakur looked like a force to be reckoned with, leaving the Indian bowling attack completely breathless in the second and third seasons. India chose an additional fast bowler in place of Ashwin, which also did not help the team as Head (making 146) and Smith (making 95) took the fourth wicket with an unbeaten 251-run partnership from 370 balls. Helped Australia recover from a score of 73 runs for three wickets. The wicket of Marnus Labuschagne (26 runs) fell in the 25th over after which Smith and Head took advantage of a batting-friendly pitch in the afternoon and evening sessions. So far 44 fours and a six have been hit, which clearly shows the poor performance of the Indian fast bowling attack. ICC World Test Championship Final | Australia at 327/3 after stumps (85 overs, Day 1) vs India at The Oval. S Smith (95*), T Head (146*) (Source: BCCI) — ANI (@ANI) June 7, 2023 This is Head’s first and overall sixth century on foreign soil. Among the Indian bowlers, Mohammad Siraj will have a lot of work to do on the second day. Siraj tried his best but like Umesh Yadav and Shardul Thakur he lacked consistency. The debate over keeping Ashwin out of the playing XI will continue for the remaining days of the match. But the ball was not taking much turn on the first day, which did not help Ravindra Jadeja much, who bowled 14 overs but could not take wickets. Head played in familiar style throughout his 36-Test career, attacking the Indian fast bowlers even as the Australians were put under pressure after the dismissal of Labuschagne after lunch. He didn’t have any trouble with the full length ball. Although Mohammed Shami could not bowl at his best in the morning session, he uprooted the off-stump of Labushen with the first beautiful ball after lunch. Then Head came to support Smith at the crease and he put pressure on India by hitting fours against Shami and Mohammad Siraj. Head completed his 50 runs by hitting Thakur for a four at deep point. But in the second half of his innings, he looked very aggressive in which he hit Shami for a six over third man. A composed batsman at the other end, Smith averages close to 100 at The Oval and will be looking to improve on his impressive record at the stadium. The Australian batsman played some excellent shots against the fast bowlers and used his feet well against Jadeja’s left-arm spin. India took the new ball in the 80th over but Shami and Siraj could not take any wickets. Australia scored 97 runs in 28 overs in the second session. Earlier, Siraj took the wicket in the opening spell and Thakur dismissed David Warner at the crease, due to which Australia lost two wickets for 73 runs till lunch. Warner (43 off 60 balls) and Labushen looked to finish the first session after dealing with challenging conditions in the first hour at ‘The Oval’. But Thakur dismissed the left-handed opener with his short ball, aiming for the ribs. Wicketkeeper KS Bharat took a good catch on the leg side. Also read India won the toss and decided to bowl as expected on a grassy pitch and cloudy weather. Siraj and Shami kept Australia in check for the first hour, conceding only 29 runs in six overs. Siraj got more help from the pitch than Shami. Usman Khawaja (zero in 10 balls) has a normal record in England, he made a disappointing start to the tour and returned to the pavilion after touching the bat on the ball going outside the stump of Siraj and caught behind the stump. Trying to cement his place in the playing XI for the upcoming Ashes, Warner took advantage of the bad balls. Warner hit four fours on Umesh Yadav in the 15th over. Labushen had a tough time in the beginning and Siraj’s fast ball hit his left thumb. He then survived two close DRS decisions to lbw off the bowling of Thakur at the end of the session. The Australian team did not want to lose any more wickets in the session but Warner was caught by the wicketkeeper while trying to pull the ball taking an outside angle from Thakur. Bharat took this catch while diving. (agency)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *