WTC final: India fall short again

India once again fall short in the WTC final as they suffer 209-run loss

| Updated: 11 June, 2023 6:24 pm IST
Australia secured their ninth ICC title, solidifying their unique distinction as the sole team to have triumphed in every major trophy at least once (Photo Courtesy Twitter @ICC)

NEW DELHI: Chasing 444 would have been a record-breaking feat. And a lot of fans, including some veterans, were hoping for a miracle at The Oval.

But deep down the pragmatic ones knew it very well, for all their achievements, it will be tough for Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane to do what current Indian coach Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman did on that memorable day in 2001.

In a hard-fought battle spanning six sessions, Australia emerged victorious in the World Test Championship for the first time, breaking India’s resistance on the final day. Although India had defeated Australia in their previous four-Test series, the conditions in England favoured the Australians.

WTC final: India need spirit of 2001

Throughout the third and fourth days, India showcased why they have been the leading Test side since the inception of the World Test Championship. They continuously challenged Australia to bring their best.

But even their resilience on the third and fourth days could not hide the fact that they were clearly out of touch, to the point of being undercooked for the grind in England against Australia, in the opening two days.

WTC final: India’s resilience falls short as Australia dominate

The significant deficit they had incurred in the first two days left them with only a glimmer of hope on the final day. The pitch appeared lifeless on the fourth evening, making India’s task even more arduous.

However, on the fifth morning, Scott Boland demonstrated the performance expected from a champion bowler, who is keen to present his case ahead of The Ashes.

ALSO READ: WTC Final: Australia’s dominant bowlers leave India struggling

India began the day needing 280 runs with seven wickets in hand, and the partnership between Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane had already amassed 71 runs for the fourth wicket.

Boland relentlessly maintained an impeccable length and line until the seventh over of the day, when he delivered a fuller and wider delivery, enticing Kohli to drive. The resulting edge was brilliantly caught by a diving Steven Smith at second slip.

ALSO READ: WTC final: India struggle as Australia dominates opening day

In the same over, Boland dismissed Ravindra Jadeja with a perfectly executed delivery for a left-handed batsman. The ball angled in from around the stumps, pitched on a length, and seamed against the angle, finding the edge and safely reaching the wicketkeeper’s gloves.

Rahane, who had been India’s top scorer in the first innings, continued to fight valiantly. He added 33 runs for the sixth wicket with KS Bharat. However, he eventually succumbed to a loose drive away from the body, falling victim to a length ball from Mitchell Starc.

ALSO READ: WTC final: Rahane returns as BCCI names squad

With Rahane’s dismissal, the outcome was only a matter of time. Shardul Thakur, who put up a valiant fight with the bat in the first innings, fell prey to Nathan Lyon’s lbw appeal from around the wicket, while Umesh Yadav gloved a short ball from Starc. Lyon claimed the last two wickets as the Australians made short work of their rivals before lunch.

BRIEF SCORE: Australia 469 & 270/8 decl beat India 296 & 234 (Virat Kohli 49, Ajinkya Rahane 46, Rohit Sharma 43; Nathan Lyon 3/41, Scott Boland 3/46) by 209 runs

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