India’s Advance Towards World Test Cricket Championship Final
India will take on Australia in the final of the ICC World Test Championship at The Oval from June 7 onwards, marking their second successive appearance in the title clash after a loss to New Zealand back in 2021.
Ahead of the ‘Ultimate Test’, let us look at the journey that Team India travelled on their road towards The Oval.
-India tour of England for the ‘Pataudi Trophy’ (August 2021-September 2021, July 2022)
India travelled to the UK with one of its strongest teams in years, with their best chance to defeat England in their home territory. The first Test ended in a washout due to rain. India could have taken a lead of 1-0 as due to performances by Jasprit Bumrah (4/46 and 5/64), KL Rahul (84), Ravindra Jadeja (56) put India in a strong position, leaving them with 209 runs to chase before rain interrupted the play.
In the second Test, India clinched a massive 151-run win at The Lord’s powered by KL Rahul’s 129 and Mohammed Siraj’s (4/94 and 4/32). India took a 1-0 lead in the series.
However, England bounced back in style to clinch a win by an inning and 76 runs, with Joe Root (121) and Ollie Robinson (2/16 and 5/65) being key architects of the win which levelled the series.
India got a moment to rejoice in the fourth Test, winning it by 157 runs thanks to performances from Rohit Sharma (127), who got his first overseas ton and superb spells from Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, Jasprit Bumrah and Jadeja. India led the series 2-1.
The series was put on hold due to a COVID-19 outbreak. The final Test was played in July 2022. Despite centuries from Rishabh Pant (146) and Ravindra Jadeja, England chased down bulk of 378-run target thanks to centuries from Joe Root (142) and Jonny Bairstow (114). England levelled the series 2-2.
-New Zealand tour of India (November 2021)
India played two Tests against New Zealand at home. The first Test ended in a draw with Shreyas Iyer (105 and 65) being a standout performer. The match ended before NZ could chase the target of 284 runs.
In the second Test, India registered a win by massive 372 runs. Mayank Agarwal (150 and 62) and Ravichandran Ashwin (4/8 and 4/34) were best performers for India.
-South Africa tour of India (January 2022)
In the first Test, India won by 113 runs, with KL Rahul (123 and 23) and Mohammed Shami (5/44 and 3/50) standing out with their performances.
However, Keegan Petersen (62 and 28 in second Test, 72 and 82 in the final Test), Marco Jansen (4/31 and 3/67 in second Test, 3/55 and 4/36 in the final Test) revived South Africa’s fortunes, guiding them to a 2-1 series win.
-Sri Lanka tour of India (March 2022)
Sri Lanka toured India to play two Tests back in March last year. In the first Test, Jadeja’s all-round effort of 175* and (5/41 and 4/46) guided India to an innings win by 222 runs.
In the second Test, the fifties by Shreyas Iyer (92 and 67) and Jasprit Bumrah (5/24 and 3/23) helped India clinch a 238-run win to win the series 2-0.
-India tour of Bangladesh (December 2022)
After a white-ball series, India also played two Tests against Bangladesh. In the first Test, all-round show by Kuldeep Yadav (40 runs and eight wickets including a five-wicket haul) and centuries from Shubman Gill (110) and Cheteshwar Pujara (102 and 90) guided India to a 188-run win.
India clean sweeped the series effortlessly with another all-round performance with Rishabh Pant (93), Ravichandran Ashwin (42* and six wickets, including a four-wicket haul) and Shreyas Iyer (86 and 29*) being the best performers.
-Australia tour of India (February-March 2023)
The Australian challenge arrived at India as India’s final obstacle towards the WTC final. In the first Test, an all-round show by Ravindra Jadeja (70 and seven wickets), century by Rohit Sharma (120) helped India win by an innings and 132 runs.
In the second Test, half-century by Axar Patel (74) and yet another all-round masterclass by Jadeja (26 and 10 wickets including a spell of 7/62) helped India win by six-wickets. Jadeja’s seven-wicket haul crumbled the Aussies to just 113 runs while following on, leaving India to chase 115 runs. India retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with a 2-0 lead.
A spin exhibition by legendary Nathan Lyon (3/35 and 8/64) helped Australia win a low-scoring third Test by nine wickets to stay alive in the series. The scoreline was 2-1.
In the final Test, Virat Kohli (186) outclassed Usman Khawaja (180) and Cameron Green (114) in a high-scoring match, which ended in a draw. India won the series 2-1.
India’s squad for WTC final: Rohit Sharma (Captain), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, KS Bharat (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Mohd. Shami, Mohd. Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Jaydev Unadkat, Ishan Kishan (wk).
Ruturaj Gaikwad, Mukesh Kumar and Suryakumar Yadav have been named as stand-by players for the high-stakes match.
Australia squad: Pat Cummins (c), Scott Boland, Alex Carey (wk), Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis (wk), Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Marsh, Todd Murphy, Matthew Renshaw, Steve Smith (vc), Mitchell Starc, David Warner. (ANI)
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