BIG PICTURE – Final win for Warner, Starc, Ashwin, Kohli, Pujara?
Is it the most prestigious competition in world cricket? Or is it a final that should be more than a one-off match, but thanks to the constraints of a calendar that squeezes Test cricket to the edges, the two events are, in very different ways, more important. , and moving toward the end of an exclusive league that isn’t even a proper league?
This final looks particularly heavy because it pits two of the best teams of not just the last two years of Test cricket, but its last decade.
This final represents a final flourish for both sides’ era-defining players. Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc and David Warner are all 33 or older, with R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma and Umesh Yadav all under three months old. Too shy to join them. All of them have played more than 50 Tests except captains Cummins and Rohit, who will reach that milestone on Wednesday.
Two golden generations are gunning for what could be their last shot at a Test world title. Some dreams will come true and some will be shattered.
Australia DWLLD (last five tests, most recent first)
Spotted – Cummins and Shami
Team News – Bharat or Kishan?
With Scott Boland confirmed to replace the injured Hazlewood, Australia almost picked their XI. With Peter Handscomb out of the squad after a fine spell as a middle-order batsman in the Indian team, Travis Head will return to the No.5 slot and give way to David Warner, who has missed the last two Tests in India. Fractured elbow to return as opener alongside Usman Khawaja.
Australia (Probable): 1 David Warner, 2 Usman Khawaja, 3 Marnes Labushagne, 4 Steven Smith, 5 Travis Head, 6 Cameron Green, 7 Alex Carey (WK), 8 Pat Cummins (capt), 9 Mitchell Starc, 10 Nathan Lyon, 11 Scott Boland.
Ajinkya Rahane is set to return to Test cricket for the first time since January 2022, his experience surpassing Suryakumar Yadav, while current No.5 Sheyas Iyer is likely to be sidelined with an injury. KS Bharat’s excellent gloves in the home series against Australia earned him the nod over Ishan Kishan, but in English conditions, with keepers spending far less time up to the stumps, sharp turn and erratic bounce, India may be tempted to back Kishan’s counter-attacking skills. – Arm. The biggest question they face is whether to play four fast bowlers and a spinner in Ravindra Jadeja or pair them with R Ashwin.
India (Probable): 1 Rohit Sharma (captain), 2 Shubman Gill, 3 Cheteshwar Pujara, 4 Virat Kohli, 5 Ajinkya Rahane, 6 Ravindra Jadeja, 7 KS Bharat/Ishan Kishan (UK), 8 R Ashwin/Shardul Thakur, 9 Umesh Yadav/Jaidev Unadkat, 10 Mohammad Shami, 11 Mohammad Siraj.
Pitch and weather
However, these numbers have something to do with the Oval Tests in August and September, when the weather is hot and dry and the pitches are subject to wear and tear during the long English summer. The ground has never hosted a Test match before June.
Oval pitches usually offer plenty of bounce that will stimulate the fast and slow bowlers on both sides, as well as allow the batters to play their shots if there is not much sideways movement.
The forecast promises a clear and bright start to the Test match, with maximum temperatures in the early 20s. Rain is possible on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, however – on the scheduled fourth and fifth reserve days.
Statistics and trivia
“I think it’s booking a bit over the last couple of years and then it feels like starting fresh with an Ashes series. I think the first final was a bit of a foreign concept. It’ll be nice to be a part of that. So there’s been a bit more of it in the last couple of years and it’s great to be here.”
Pat Cummins The idea of the WTC and the desire to be a part of the finals is said to have grown on Australia’s players over its two cycles.
“No, actually the way he’s batting now, I don’t think he needs any advice. It’s about his preparation, how he’s prepared in the last five or six days since he came back from the IPL (… ) Gill is someone who likes to bat, likes to spend a lot of time in the middle order. , though it was T20 format, you know, he got big centuries (in IPL). Middle, take that challenge, that’s what he likes, that’s what I hope (he’ll do in the WTC final) and Team India is hoping that he spends a lot of time in the middle order and plays well like he used to. He’s been doing it for six or eight months. So to be honest, he doesn’t have to say too much. It gives him confidence because he’s a very confident player.”
Rohit Sharma On whether he has any advice for his opening partner Shubman Gill.
Karthik Krishnaswamy is Assistant Editor at ESPN Cricinfo