The Rohit Sharma-LED India are confronted Pat Cummins‘ Australia in the final of World Test Championship (WTC) 2023. The one-off test began on Wednesday (June 7) at the Oval. On the first day of the summit clash, the Baggy Green bounced back strongly after losing their top three hitters early in the innings to take the lead.
Australia, the table toppers of the WTC 2021-2023 cycle were 327/3 in 85 overs at the end of the day 1 match. The middle duo of Travis head (146*) and Steve Smith (95*) added a valuable 251 for the fourth wicket after being reduced to 76/3 at some stage.
Head, who has been in good contact since the 2021-2022 Ashes, continued his great form of piling when his team asked. He batted with an aggressive mindset throughout his innings. The left-handed hitter counterattacked and helped his team keep India at bay. In an action packed day at The Oval, Head delivered his first Test century in England and fifth in the longest format.
Head became the first batter to score a hundred in the WTC Final. The southpaw has faced 156 balls in his inning so far, hitting 22 fours and a lone six.
After the southpaw swept the momentum of the ICC WTC Final to his side with a magnificent century on opening day in London, Ricky Ponting couldn’t help comparing Head to the impeccable wicket-keeper batsman of his time, Adam Gilchrist.
“He probably is (similar to Gilchrist). In fact, he’s probably scoring faster now than Gilly probably ever did. His pass rate during this (World Test Championship) qualifying period is 81, which is higher than anyone in the world who has scored more than 500 runs. Ponting told the ICC.
“His confidence grows with the game, his strike rate continues to rise, he reaches limits early in his innings, which puts pressure on the bowlers again, which is what you want from your mid-range players. His last two years have been quite remarkable,” Ponting added.
Earlier, India won the toss and invited Australia to bat first. India started the day strong when speed demon Mohammed Siraj sent Usman Khawaja off for ducking in the first session. Opener David Warner and top-ranked hitter Marnus Labuschagne held the fort and added 69 runs for the second wicket before the Aussie southpaw fell for 43 (60). Mohammed Shami dealt with Labuschagne (26) early in the second session; However, Smith and Head kept Australia in charge at the end of the day’s game.
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