In a match which was completely dominated by Australia, Team India seemed to be lost as it failed miserably in batting as well as bowling. Australia after winning the WTC final have added the only missing silverware and have become the first team to win all ICC tournaments.
On a pitch that looked as if it would favour bowlers on Day 1, Australia demolished the Indian bowling lineup as it posted around 300 runs and lost only 3 wickets.
Thanks to the masterful innings of Travis Head and Steven Smith along with a good cameo of 48 by Alex Carey towards the end, Australia posted a total score of 469/10 to end the first innings.
It was a no-show for India’s top 4 batsmen as all four totalled only 56 runs. It seemed much like previous times that pressure had got to them and much like previous times, the Indian middle-order tried to mitigate the damage by piling some runs. The top scorer for India in its first innings was Ajinkya Rahane who scored 89 runs. Rahane was making his comeback after spending a long time outside the Indian squad due to poor form. Ravindra Jadeja and Shardul Thakur supported Rahane by scoring 48 and 51 runs respectively. In spite of all the efforts, India still fell way short as they only scored 296 and trailed by 173 runs.
While the Indian bowling lineup improved its performance compared to the first innings by dismissing the top 6 without allowing them to turn their starts into a significant score. However, it was Alex Carey who once again played a good innings and took Australia to a good total. Mitchell Starc looked inspired with the bat as his innings of 41 definitely was out of syllabus for the Indians. After declaring at 270/8, team India had been given a target of 444.
It was yet another good start by Shubman Gill which did not capitalise into a significant score because of sharp and athletic yet controversial catch by Green. The internet, fans and even cricket pundits were divided on the ‘OUT’ call given because the ball had allegedly touched the ground during the catch. Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli seemed in good rhythm but were eventually dismissed just as they were about to fire. Cheteshwar Pujara had a quiet match, having scored only 41 runs in total.
On day 5 it was a bowling masterpiece by Australia and specifically Scott Boland as he took the wickets of Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja in a single over after which the game was for Australia to win. The only piece of resistance was Ajinkya Rahane but he too was dismissed quickly, after whom the batting order just collapsed and Australia dismissed India in the first session of day 5.
There were also questions of Srikar Bharat’s inclusion over Ishan Kishan as Bharat has not yet shined with the bat for India whereas Kishan could’ve been a better choice in terms of batting.
Questions were also raised over bad selection choices as India’s highest wicket taker in this WTC cycle, Ravinchandran Ashwin was excluded from the playing XI.
Critics also point out that Team India have simply not been able to handle the pressure and as they have not won a single ICC trophy since the 2013 Champions Trophy. During this time, Team India have played in 8 knockout matches (including today’s WTC final) but have been unsuccessful in winning a trophy.