Australia vs India ICC World Test Championship Final Preview

Australia vs India ICC World Test Championship Final Preview

Australia lock horns with India in the final of the 2023 ICC World Test Championship at the Oval in the ultimate battle for red-ball supremacy. The 2023 final is a culmination of a 24-month long cycle in which Australia and India have been the two standout teams in Test cricket, dominating across conditions home and away to qualify for the grand showdown in London.

The Men in Blue lost only one Test series in this current WTC cycle, falling 2-1 to Dean Elgar’s South Africa in December 2021, while Pat Cummins’ side also suffered just a single series defeat, losing the Border-Gavaskar series to India earlier this year.

Australia’s 2-1 defeat to India in the subcontinent was their fourth consecutive Test series loss to India, and the Men in Blue have enjoyed plenty of recent success against Australia in red-ball cricket, vanquishing their opponents on each of their last two visits down under.

However, the seaming conditions expected at the Oval in June levels the playing field, neutralising the strength of India’s fabled spin trio, while also making it difficult for Australia’s world-class top order to pile up the runs.

Players to watch out for

Shubman Gill

Shubman Gill has made waves with the bat in 2023, scoring 624 runs in just nine ODIs for the Men in Blue before enjoying a record-breaking season in the IPL for the Gujarat Titans. Gill has yet to translate his white-ball form into the longest format and is still finding his feet in whites with an average of 34.8 in 15 Tests. However, Gill scored a terrific century in his last Test outing against Australia in Ahmedabad and could be India’s x-factor with the bat in the World Test Championship Final.

Usman Khawaja

For Australia, Usman Khawaja has stolen the show over the last few years at the top of the order, making a phenomenal comeback to the side. The left-hander is the second-highest run-getter behind Joe Root in this WTC cycle, scoring 1608 runs and six centuries in his last 16 Tests at a sensational average of 69.9.

Team News

Josh Hazlewood has been ruled out of the one-off Test against India due to injury, paving the way for Scott Boland, Pat Cummins, and Mitchell Starc to share the fast-bowling duties at the Oval.

For India, there are no immediate injury concerns other than long-term absentees Pant, Bumrah, and KL Rahul. KS Bharat is likely to take the gloves in Pant and Rahul’s absence, while the biggest selection decisions for Rahul Dravid and Rohit Sharma will be the identity of the third seamer backing up Mohammed Siraj and Shami and whether to play both spinners – Ashwin and Jadeja – in cloudy, English conditions.

Probable XI’s

Australia: Usman Khawaja, David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Scott Boland

India: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja, KS Bharat, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj