The ICC World Test Championship final between India and Australia at The Oval witnessed an enthralling battle as both teams fought for supremacy. On the opening day, Travis Head and Steve Smith dominated the Indian bowlers, putting Australia in a commanding position. However, on the second day, Rohit Sharma and his teammates staged an impressive fightback, showcasing resilience and determination to regain control of the game.
Travis Head displayed his batting prowess by smashing a quick-fire century, while former Australia captain Steve Smith remained unbeaten on 95. Their remarkable partnership allowed Australia to finish the day ahead of India in the Ultimate Test. Reflecting on India’s performance, Matthew Hayden, the legendary Australian opener, criticized Rohit Sharma and the Indian team for their lackluster display on the opening day of the World Test Championship final. According to Hayden, India lacked energy after opting to field against Australia, which allowed the opposition to dominate proceedings.
Hayden expressed his opinion, stating, “There’s no point in beating your chest at the national anthem or the Australians beating their chest at the national anthem. You beat your chest out at the center. There wasn’t enough energy yesterday from India. When Australia dominated, they’re going to get dominated again with this partnership if they don’t turn up and hunt us as a pack,” during an interview with Star Sports.
On Day 1 of the WTC final, Travis Head played a scintillating knock of 146, while Steve Smith was on the verge of reaching his century. India’s decision to exclude the World No.1 bowler, Ravichandran Ashwin, in order to accommodate an extra fast bowler backfired as Australia posted a formidable total of 327 for 3. Head and Smith formed a crucial 251-run partnership for the fourth wicket, rescuing Australia from a precarious position of 73 for 3 on the opening day at The Oval.
Hayden emphasized the importance of India regaining their focus and executing their game plan. He stated, “The great sides of India used to do exactly that. Stick to a plan and hunt like a pack. From the Australian point of view, much of the same. If India don’t turn up today, continue to bowl short and back of the lengths. Continue to get cut, go over the top of the third man, then they’re going to get owned during the first session. If they get dominated in the first session, Australia will gain a significant advantage in this Test match. The momentum can slip away quickly, so runs have to be hard to come by,” Hayden added.
With Rohit Sharma and the rest of the Indian team showcasing determination and fighting spirit on the second day, the WTC final promises to be a closely contested battle between two formidable cricketing nations.