Team India will face Australia in final of World Test Championship to be held in London
Team India will play the second consecutive World Test Championship (WTC) final in as many editions and will look to go one better this time around as they take on Australia at the Oval in London for the summit clash tomorrow.
Australia topped the WTC points table in the 2021-23 cycle with 66.67 points per cent (PCT) in 19 Tests, while India made its cut for the final with 58.8 PCT after beating the Kangaroos 2-1 in the recently concluded Border-Gavaskar Trophy series at home. In the inaugural edition of the WTC 2021 final, India lost to New Zealand by eight wickets at the Rose Bowl in Southampton.
Australia will be looking to add to their enviable collection of world titles as they face off against India at the Oval on June 7. India, on the other hand, will be desperate to break their barren run in ICC events which has now lasted for a decade. India have dominated Australia in the recent past winning each of the four series between the two teams by a similar 2-1 margin, though the latter would take solace from the fact that the record in the first Test of these four rubbers is a more even 2-2. Here’s a look into some key factors that could prove decisive in the final showdown.
An atypical Kennington Oval Test
The second oldest Test ground in the world and a ground that has hosted no less than 104 Tests will be doing so in the month of June for the first time ever. In the last six Tests at the Oval (since 2016), the average team scores have followed a peculiar pattern of growth as the match progresses. The average first innings score is 269 which increases to 280 in the second innings and then inflates to a highest of 326 in the third innings. In terms of day-wise averages, batters average 28.26 on the first day which increases to 31.70 on the second, and further rises to 32.18 on the third. It reads a more than respectable 30.21 on the fourth day further underlying how batting gets easier as the match progresses.
The numbers must be read with caution given the timing of the match – early June compared to typical late summer games hosted here typically. The last four Tests at the Oval have all been played in the month of September, at the backend of English summer and in the last three decades it has hosted a Test before August only twice (2012 & 2017). In the three Championship matches played here in 2023, the home team Surrey won all three batting second. Across these three games, pacers have taken 90 wickets at 27.60 compared to just a solitary one by the spinners.
Australia dominates the batting charts
Australia have dominated the batting charts in the second iteration of WTC with their top six averaging 46.07, comfortably two runs ahead of next-placed Pakistan. Usman Khawaja is WTC’s leading run-getter, scoring 1608 runs at 69.91, including six three-figures knocks spread across varied conditions. Marnus Labuschagne, Steven Smith and Travis Head all sit among the top seven having aggregated 1000+ runs at 50+ average, and in the case of Head, also striking at 80 runs per 100 balls.