Australia defeat India to claim maiden WTC title
June 13, 2023
Australia are the 2023 World Test Champions after claiming a 209-run victory over India at The Oval over the weekend thanks in large part to a dominant, first-innings partnership between Travis Head and Steve Smith.
Head was named Player of the Match for his near run-a-ball 163 that put Australia in the drivers’ seat early on in the piece.
Indian captain Rohit Sharma won the toss and elected to send the Australians in to bat in a decision that initially proved fruitful.
Usman Khawaja fell for a 10-ball duck before David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne followed him back to the pavilion to have the Australians at 3-for-76.
Enter Smith and Head, however, who put up a comprehensive 285-run stand with both men reaching triple-figures.
Head finished with 163 whilst Smith put up 121 before Alex Carey added a handy 48 to stretch the total out to 469 as the Indians rued their decision to field first.
India’s first innings hardly went to plan with the Australian quicks making light work of the top order with each member of the fast-bowling quartet claiming one of the opening four batters for 15 runs or fewer.
Ajinkya Rahane added a much-needed 89 crafting partnerships with Ravindra Jadeja – who fell to Nathan Lyon for 48 – and Shardul Thakur – who fell to Cameron Green for 51.
It was skipper Pat Cummins who snagged the Rahane breakthrough as India were bowled out for 296.
Australia were unable to reciprocate the same dominance that lifted their opening innings; Warner and Khawaja fell early to have the Australians at 2-for-24 before Labuschagne and Smith’s attempt to stabilise the innings proved somewhat underwhelming with the two combining for a 62-run stand.
Head added just 18 before Jadeja took his wicket whilst Carey – who finished on an unbeaten 66 – and Mitchell Starc – who added 41 off 57 deliveries – put together a neat 93-run partnership to improve to the total 270 before the side declared with a lead of 444.
Shubman Gill was the first to fall for India thanks to a Green screamer inches from the turf that generated all manners of controversy.
India ended the Test match’s penultimate day at 3-for-164 with Virat Kohli and Rahane both at the crease.
Both sides were desperate to start well on a decisive final day, but it was Australian hero Scott Boland who ensured Australia would be lifting the World Test Championship Mace at the end of the day.
Boland dismissed Kohli a run shy of his fifty before sending Jadeja on his way for a second-ball duck in the same over.
Starc and Lyon tore through the remainder of the Indian batting lineup to knock them over for 234 and claim the side’s throne atop the Test cricketing world.
It marked the country’s ninth ICC title – the most in the world.
The side will now turn their attention to a highly anticipated Ashes series beginning on Friday.