Road to the WTC Final: India’s and Australia’s journey
The World Test Championship (WTC) began in August 2021 with nine Test-playing nations competing for a place in the final. India and Australia were among the favorites to qualify for the final, and they did not disappoint. Australia finished at the top of the table with 152 points, winning 11 out of the 19 Tests they played. India finished second with 127 points, winning 10 out of the 18 Tests they played. Both teams faced several challenges along the way, including injuries to key players, bio-bubble fatigue, and tough opposition.
India’s journey to the final was not without its ups and downs. They began the tournament with a dominant victory over the West Indies but suffered a shock defeat to New Zealand in their second Test series. They bounced back with convincing wins over South Africa and Bangladesh but suffered a setback when their tour of Australia was marred by injuries to several key players. Despite the setbacks, India showed great resilience and determination to bounce back and win crucial Test matches against England and Australia, securing their place in the final.
Australia’s journey to the final was also filled with challenges. They began the tournament with an impressive victory over Pakistan but suffered a shock defeat to India in their second Test series. They bounced back with convincing wins over New Zealand, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan but suffered a setback when their tour of South Africa was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the setbacks, Australia showed great character and fighting spirit to win crucial Test matches against India and England, securing their place in the final.
India vs Australia: Head-to-head in Test cricket
India and Australia have a rich history in Test cricket, having played 101 Tests against each other since their first meeting in 1947. Australia has the upper hand in the head-to-head record, having won 43 Tests compared to India’s 29, with 29 matches ending in draws. However, India has had the better of Australia in recent years, winning the last two Test series between the two teams in 2018-19 and 2020-21.
The last time India and Australia met in a Test match was in Feb, when India pulled off a stunning victory in India to win the series Border Gavaskar Trophy 2-1. The victory was all the more impressive given the number of injuries India had sustained during the series, with several key players unavailable for the final Test match.
Key players to watch out for in the WTC Final
India and Australia both have some of the finest players in the world, and the WTC Final promises to be a showcase of their talent. India’s batting will be led by the likes of Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, and Rohit Sharma, while their bowling attack will be spearheaded by Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami, and Ravichandran Ashwin. Australia, on the other hand, will be led by the talismanic Steve Smith and the explosive David Warner, while their bowling attack will be led by Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, and Nathan Lyon.
One of the key players to watch out for in the WTC Final will be India’s all rounder Ravinder Jadeja. Jadeja has been in scintillating form in recent months, playing crucial innings in India’s victories over Australia and England. He has shown the ability to take the game away from the opposition with his aggressive strokeplay and fearless approach. Another key player for India will be Subhman Gill, who will be eager to lead his team to victory as last time Risabh pant and Gill played crucial in last test against Australia.
For Australia, the key player will be their captain Pat Cummins, who will be looking to lead his team to victory. Pat Cummins has been a steady and consistent pacer for Australia and has shown the ability to take wickets when needed. Another key player for Australia will be their premier Steve Smith, who has been in outstanding form in recent years. Cummins has the ability to swing the ball both ways and generate pace and bounce off the pitch, making him a potent threat to the Indian batting lineup.
Venue and conditions for the WTC Final
The WTC Final will be played at the the Kennington Oval Stadium in Oval, England. The stadium has a capacity of 27,500 spectators and has hosted several international cricket matches in the past. The pitch at the Oval is known to be sporting, with a good balance between bat and ball. The weather conditions in Oval are expected to be mild, with temperatures ranging between 11-15°C during the match days.
The conditions in Oval are expected to favor the seam bowlers, with the pitch likely to offer some assistance to the fast bowlers. The Indian and Australian teams will need to be prepared for the swinging and seaming conditions, with the new ball likely to be crucial in the outcome of the match. The team that wins the toss will have an advantage in the match, as batting first will allow them to set a target and put pressure on the opposition.
Analysis of India’s and Australia’s playing XI
India and Australia are expected to field their strongest possible playing XI for the WTC Final. India is likely to go with their tried and tested opening pair of Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill, with Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, and Ajinkya Rahane forming the middle order. Rishabh Pant is expected to keep wickets and bat at number six, while Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, and Ishant Sharma are expected to form the bowling attack.
Australia, on the other hand, is likely to go with David Warner and Usman Khwaja as their opening pair, with Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, and Travis Head forming the middle order. Pat Cummins is expected to keep wickets and bat at number seven, while Scott Boland, Mitchell Starc, and Nathan Lyon are expected to form the bowling attack.
Predictions and expectations for the WTC Final
The WTC Final promises to be a closely contested match, with both teams evenly matched in terms of talent and form. India has the edge in recent head-to-head matches, having won the last two Test series between the two teams. However, Australia has a strong record in Test cricket and has the experience of playing in high-pressure situations.
The outcome of the match is likely to depend on how well the teams adapt to the conditions and execute their game plan. The team that wins the toss and bats first will have an advantage, as batting is likely to get tougher as the match progresses. The Indian and Australian bowling attacks are both capable of taking 20 wickets, and the team that manages to do so is likely to come out on top.
Importance of the WTC Final for the future of Test cricket
The World Test Championship was introduced to bring context and meaning to Test cricket, and the WTC Final is the culmination of two years of hard work and competition. The match is being viewed as a pinnacle event in the sport, with the winner being crowned the undisputed world champions of Test cricket.
The WTC Final is also a significant moment for the future of Test cricket, as it showcases the importance of the longest format of the game. Test cricket has been facing several challenges in recent years, including declining viewership and interest from fans. The WTC Final is an opportunity for the sport to showcase its strengths and reaffirm its place as the ultimate test of skill and endurance in cricket.
Where to watch the WTC Final
The WTC Final will be broadcast live on several channels around the world, including Star Sports in India, Fox Sports in Australia, and Sky Sports in the United Kingdom. Fans can also watch the match online on various streaming platforms, including Hotstar in India, Kayo Sports in Australia, and Sky Go in the United Kingdom.
The WTC Final promises to be a thrilling encounter between two of the world’s best cricket teams. India and Australia have earned their place in the final through hard work, determination, and skill, and fans are eagerly awaiting the outcome. The match will test the skills and endurance of both teams, with the winner being crowned the undisputed world champions of Test cricket. As cricket fans, we can only sit back, watch, and enjoy the spectacle of cricketing excellence that is the WTC Final Test