Australia clinched the coveted Test Mace on the final day of the ICC World Test Championship Final 2023, triumphing over India by 209 runs in The Ultimate Test.
Travis Head’s outstanding knock of 163 in the first innings earned him the Player of the Match title in the WTC Final.
The morning session commenced with a slow pace, as both teams struggled to gain dominance in the initial half-hour. Despite Australia’s accurate bowling, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane displayed composed batting skills, facing minimal challenges posed by the conditions.
However, the seventh over of the day witnessed a turning point when Scott Boland’s precise deliveries yielded fruitful results for Australia. Boland, who had been exceptional throughout the morning, managed to beat Kohli’s edge with the first ball of the over. Australia took the hopeful review to the third umpire, but it turned out that the ball had missed the bat by a significant margin.
Nevertheless, just two balls later, Boland pitched slightly fuller and successfully induced a thick edge from Kohli’s bat. The ball soared towards second slip, where Steve Smith executed a brilliant diving catch.
In the same over, Boland claimed the wicket of all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, who edged the ball behind the wicket, safely caught by Alex Carey. Boland narrowly missed securing a third wicket in the same over when his extra bounce caused the ball to hit KS Bharat’s bat shoulder and fly just above the slips.
These two crucial breakthroughs within the first hour allowed Australia to dictate the terms of play from that point forward. Despite a 33-run partnership between Rahane and Bharat, the bowling side maintained their momentum.
In the 57th over, Rahane (46) attempted an expansive drive against Mitchell Starc but ended up nicking the ball behind the wicket. In the very next over, India’s first-innings hero, Shardul Thakur, fell lbw to the off-spin of Nathan Lyon, failing to contribute any runs.
Having penetrated India’s tail, Australia’s dominant bowling lineup seemed destined for victory, and they achieved it in the 64th over of the fourth innings. Nathan Lyon (4/41) and Scott Boland (3/46) stood out as the standout bowlers in the second innings.
With this triumph, Australia etched their name in cricketing history as the only team to have won the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, the ICC Men’s Champions Trophy, the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, and now the ICC World Test Championship. For India, it was a tale of coming so close yet falling short, as they suffered their second consecutive loss in the WTC Final.