After a 2-1 Test series win on home soil against Australia, India confirmed their place in the World Test Championship final in June.
Skipper Rohit Sharma and his side will face the Baggy Greens once again in the final and can go into the encounter at The Oval in London full of confidence they can come away with the title.
India Impressed In Series Success
Dominating the Aussies at times through the four-match series, India produced some quality performances to win the Border-Gavaskar trophy for the fourth time in a row. Australia are building towards the Ashes this summer, which as of 27th March they were priced at 2.30 in the cricket odds to beat rivals England to the famous urn. However, the Baggy Greens have plenty of work to be done if they are to be successful in the UK this summer.
Hammered by an innings and 132 runs in the first Test against India in Nagpur, Australia simply could not cope with the Indian bowling attack. It took just three days for the hosts to wrap up the victory, as the tourists fell for 177 and 91 in their two innings that left plenty to be desired. Ravindra Jadeja recorded figures of 5-47 for the Indian bowling attack in the first innings, while Ravichandran Ashwin finished with 5-37 in the second. Despite having a batting order that included the experience of Usman Khawaja, David Warner and Steve Smith, Australia did not have the answers with the bat.
Things went slightly better for the Aussies in the second Test in New Delhi but the visitors still ended up on the wrong side of a six-wicket defeat at Arun Jaitley Stadium on the third day. Jadeja was the star of the show with the ball in hand once again for the hosts, as his second innings figures of 7-42 helped guide India, who are also strong in white-ball cricket, to victory and ensure they could not be bested in the four-match series. While Australia won the third Test by nine wickets, a stalemate in the fourth match saw India complete the series win to take them through to the World Test Championship final in London on 7th-11th June.
Ashes Distraction Can Aid India
With the Ashes getting underway the week after the World Test Championship final, Australia will struggle not to be distracted by their five matches against England in the UK. If there are any slight concerns over the fitness of players, they are unlikely to be risked for the final against India, before the opening Ashes Test against the English at Edgbaston. While Sharma and his team can fully focus on winning the World Test Championship final and claiming the title from inaugural winners New Zealand, it’s a tough balancing act that Australia will have to tread. Of course, the Baggy Greens would like the silverware and victory would be a confidence boost ahead of the Ashes. However, the Aussies are unlikely to throw everything at the final at The Oval and potentially sacrifice their chances for the Ashes.
The chance to win the World Test Championship final would be another feather in the cap of India skipper Sharma after he took on the captaincy from Virat Kohli. Sharma was issued the Test armband in February 2022 and has impressed in the role. India’s chairman of selectors Chetan Sharma has since said the new skipper succeeding Kohli has been an inspiration and will help mold future India captains under his leadership.
Australia were the number one ranked Test team going into their series with India, who were just behind them in the standings in second. To look so dominant at times against the top-ranked team on the planet would have only boosted confidence in the Indian ranks ahead of the World Test Championship final.
India look to be a Test side back on the rise and with Sharma at the helm, it might not be long before they are back at the top of the rankings. The World Test Championship final will be a good acid test to see where they are at away from home but India’s recent performances against Australia should give them confidence of doing something special at The Oval this summer.
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