Steve Smith and Travis Head put up an impressive performance for Australia against India on the first day of the World Test Championship 2023 final at the Oval in London. At the end of the day, Australia reached a commanding position, scoring 327/3, thanks to an unbeaten partnership between Head and Smith. Head scored 146 runs (off 156 balls) while Smith contributed 95 runs (off 227 balls). The two remain unbeaten and will resume Day 2 at the crease.
India’s decision to bowl first initially seemed successful as they took early wickets, but Head and Smith’s partnership of 251 runs turned the tide in Australia’s favor. Head reached his hundred in just 106 balls, including 22 fours and one six. The Indian bowlers struggled to dismiss the pair, with Head playing aggressively and Smith providing stability. By the end of the day, Australia had a commanding lead.
Earlier in the day, Australia were at 170/3 with Head and Smith at the crease. Marnus Labuschagne fell for 26 runs, but Head joined Smith and accelerated the scoring rate. Both batsmen looked to score boundaries regularly, with Head reaching his half-century in 60 balls. Australia faced some challenges in scoring during certain overs, but they regained momentum with Shardul Thakur conceding boundaries due to no-balls. The second session ended with Australia at 170/3.
In the first session, India managed to take early wickets, putting pressure on the Australian openers. David Warner scored a double before Usman Khawaja was dismissed for a duck. Labuschagne joined Warner and together they stabilized the innings. Warner played aggressively, but his innings ended at 43 runs when he was caught by the wicketkeeper off Shardul Thakur’s bowling. Smith managed to face the remaining deliveries leading up to lunch.
Overall, it was a dominant performance by Australia on the first day of the WTC final, with Head and Smith leading the charge and putting their team in a strong position.
Day 2 will be challenging for Team India as they were unable to exploit the conditions on the first day. With the ball swinging more in the first 15-20 overs on Day 1, India’s pacers capitalised on their opportunities. However, as the day progressed, the bowlers struggled to find leeway and simply could not break Head and Smith’s solid partnership.
Rohit Sharma and company will likely need to come up with a plan B if they are make an early breakthrough on the second day.
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Travis Head sets record
Australia’s left-handed batsman Travis Head achieved a remarkable feat in the World Test Championship final against India at the Oval in London. He became the first player to score a century in a WTC final, displaying an aggressive batting display.
Head handled the pitch really well right from the beginning, quickly adapting to the movement of the ball. He effectively analysed the bowlers’ deliveries and played them with ease. Not wasting time, he launched an attack on the Indian bowling, hitting boundaries at will.
In the 65th over of the innings, Head reached his century off just 106 balls, setting a significant milestone at the all-important WTC final.