Australia eclipses India in the 2023 ICC World Test Championship Final: Player Ratings for the Champions
The only time the see-saw was in equilibrium was when Mohammad Shami’s in-seamer went past the inside edge of Marnus Labuschagne’s drive and clattered the timbers to put Australia’s tally to 76-3. Two commendable tons followed and India was right on the back foot and never looked like winning the contest from there.
It was the first Day of the World Test Championship Final that decided the fate of the contest. Steve Smith’s 121 off 268 and Travis Head’s 163 off 174 helped Australia to post a mammoth total of 469 runs which in return India failed to trail and was deficit by 173 runs at the end of the second innings.
The Indian bowlers were spot-on in the 2nd innings with their execution until a frustrating 93-run partnership between Mitchell Starc and Alex Carey denied their endeavours. Australia asked for 444 runs to be surmounted in the final innings which India failed to do.
Every time the Rohit Sharma-led unit tried to post a big stand, the Australian bowlers led by Pat Cummins pulled the ball in their court. Eventually, they marched onto a 209 runs victory to earn the honorary mace.
Let us glance through the report card of the Australian side:
Usman Khawaja (1/10): The Pakistan-born batter had a great run during the World Test Championship cycle 2021-23 but failed to step up when it mattered the most. Khawaja was dismissed early in both innings (0 and 13), courtesy of Mohammed Siraj (1st innings) and Umesh Yadav (2nd innings).
David Warner (6/10): The Bull aka. David Warner has played a vital role in this Test match on Day 1. The conditions were overcast and the ball was rearing up off the surface on sudden occasions. Warner survived the new red duke for an extended period and wore it down to make things easy for the batters to come down the order.
Although he scored just 43 off 60 balls, the innings was of high quality. If not for this gritty knock, one never knows, Smith and Head could’ve fell victim to the moving new ball.
Marnus Labuschagne (6.5/10): The South Africa-born batter was a part of two crucial fifty runs partnerships in the Test match. Firstly, he glued a 69 runs stand with Warner in the first innings, coping with blows and chirps from Mohammed Siraj- in a way wearing down the new cherry.
Secondly, Marnus held an important 62-run partnership with Smith in the second innings. He made 41 in the second innings and also survived the final hour of Day 3 with sheer resilience.
Steve Smith (8/10): The former Australian captain has to be highly rated in this encounter. He came in at a situation when Australia were 76-3 just after Lunch on Day 1. The right-hander anchored from one end and helped Travis Head play his natural game. He batted for the rest of the first day and went on to notch a ton in the morning session of the following day.
Smudge racked up 121 (268) in the first innings and also had a role to play in a 62 runs stand with Marnus in the second innings. Apart from this, one cannot forget the catch he took at the slip cordon to dismiss Virat Kohli off the bowling of Scott Boland. With an iota of about, it was one of the best grasps of the match.
Travis Head (9/10): Cometh the hour, Cometh the man! Such has been the yarn of Travis Head during the recently concluded World Test Championship Final. Head stitched a 285 runs partnership with Smith in the first innings that saw a lot of records being created.
When the Indian bowlers were in the game, Head counter-punched them with an array of shots. Anything overpitched or any width on the offerings, and the cricket fraternity was treated to some utter flamboyancy. He went on to notch 163 runs off 174 balls and changed the complexion of the contest completely.
Cameron Green (7/10): The tall all-rounder was arriving on the back of a successful Indian Premier League season with the Mumbai Indians. He had contributions with bat, bowl, and in the field during the five days of play. Firstly, he bagged two crucial wickets – Cheteshwar Pujara and Shardul Thakur in the second innings of the match.
Secondly, Green pulled off a screamer at gully, helping to dismiss Ajinkya Rahane who was looking fabulous in the second innings. Green also hung around with Carey for quite some time during Australia’s batting in the third innings of the Test match.
Alex Carey (8/10): Australian gloveman, Alex Carey displayed some outrageous batting skills lower down the order in both the innings. In Australia’s first innings, he built a firm partnership with Pat Cummins, and in Australia’s second innings, Carey stitched a 93-run stand with Mitchell Starc.
Carey was one of the reasons Australia managed to boost the target to 444. His 48 and 66* along with the tail is one of the underrated reasons why Australia became the red-ball champions.
Pat Cummins (7/10): The Australian skipper has been spot-on with his captaincy during the recently concluded WTC Final against India. And now, if we zoom into Cummins’ primary skills i.e. bowling, he has troubled a lot of Indian batters which includes Shardul Thakur taking consecutive blows.
The right-arm pacer extracted four wickets across the two sessions which includes a three-fer in India’s first session. If not for the humiliating 10 no-balls he delivered, Cummins would have grown up with some more numbers under the wicket’s column.
Mitchell Starc (5.5/10): If one clearly observes the numbers that the Australian bowlers possess, it is easy to make out that Mitchell Starc hasn’t been that ruthless with the ball in hand. He leaked runs in excess of five every over combining both innings. Although he outfoxed Virat Kohli in the first innings, the left-arm pacer wasn’t at his best with the ball in hand.
But one has to acknowledge the knock he played with the willow in hand during Australia’s second innings. Starc with the blade in hand was a different entity altogether. He smashed a 41 runs gritty knock to help the target surpass the 400 runs mark.
Nathan Lyon (7/10): Australia’s lone spinner in the game, Nathan Lyon was fantastic with his skills, especially during the final innings of the contest. There wasn’t much for the spinners in the first three days, yet he managed to outwit the set Ravindra Jadeja.
And when it comes to the final day of the match, Lyon ended up with four scalps under his name. A well-set Rohit Sharma was one of Lyon’s victims and moving on, the off-spinner cleared the Indian tail quickly.
Scott Boland (9/10): One of the indispensable components of Australia’s unit was Scott Boland. There were doubts between Boland and Neser as to who would feature in the playing XI. But the Aussie management made it clear that Boland was their go-to man. And here he comes.
The Tasmanian ended up with five scalps across the Test which includes a bamboozling delivery to Shubman Gill in the first innings. He also dismissed Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja on Day 5 in a single over, thereby sinking India’s hopes of a World Test Championship.