Lemon on Boland.
Cummins turns attention to Ashes.
As Pat Cummins lifts the sizeable Mace, signing off a brilliant two year period that has seen them win 62% of their Test matches, they’re rightly recognised as the best red ball team on the planet.
That’ll be all from me. Hope you enjoyed it. All the best for the rest of your Sunday and I’ll catch you at various points over the Ashes.
Finally, the winning skipper, Pat Cummins:
We made the most of it. We were going to have a bowl. But the way Travis and Smithy batted gave us all a little comfort after a nervy morning.
[Head] has been brilliant throughout this campaign. He puts the pressure right back on the bowlers. We left day one feeling we were on top of the game.
At times we weren’t at our slickest but when it counted we were in control.
Scotty Boland just continues to be my favourite player. We all played our role. When it counted we all switched on and got the breakthrough.
We came into this with slightly different preparations. But everyone was switched on. We’ll savour this before we turn our attention to the Ashes.
Ask anyone in the change-room, this is our favourite format. When you win it’s the format you get the most satisfaction from.
Final report from The Oval
Here’s Simon Burnton from south London as Australia steamroll India and send chilling Ashes warning.
Here’s Rohit Sharma:
It was a tough one. I thought we started well, winning the toss and putting them into bat. We bowled well in the first session but let ourselves down. But you’ve got to give credit to the Australian batters. That just took us off guard. We knew it was hard to come back. We fought til the end but congratulations to Australia.
We spoke of a lot of things [on how to better bowl to Head and Smith]. We spoke about bowling tighter lines, some different stuff. But it didn’t work out. You’ve got to stay in the game. Sometimes it comes off and sometimes it doesn’t.
I thought it was a great fight back from Rahane and Shardul. We needed somebody to stand up and they kept us in the game. We bowled well in the second innings. But we again failed with the bat. It was a good pitch to bat on. We didn’t capitalise.
We worked really hard for four years, playing two finals is a good achievement for us. But the Test Championship final comes over two years so you can’t take away what we achieved in those two years. Its unfortunate we couldn’t go on and win the finals but we’ll keep our heads and go on to fight for the next one.
They’ve got the platform (plinth? podium?) all set up. The heft Mace is glinting in the sun. The players are getting ready now. Australia’s ninth ICC gong to go along with five ODI World Cups, two Champions Trophy wins and a T20 World Cup crown. They’ve completed the set.
That decision to bowl first now looks like a shocker from Sharma.
Here’s Steve Smith:
It’s a great achievement for this group. We’ve played some great cricket over the past two years, firstly to get to this situation to play a final against India who have also been exceptional over the past two years.
The way we’ve played this week has been outstanding. Trav played exceptionally well. I held up the other end. We let them back in with some unforced errors but we felt we were always in control.
[On his blinder to ge Kohli] We know that he’s dangerous when chasing. I thought that spell this morning from Scott Boland was outstanding. To take the edge and for the catch to sit safely in the hands was a nice one. And to get Jadeja in the same over set us up nicely.
“Will India accept that the better side won?” asks John Holthouse.
“A few inflated egos in the Indian dressing room, and an awful lot of pathetic whining from their supporters yesterday. Will be looking for signs of graciousness in defeat.”
I don’t think anyone could argue that the better team won.
Now Scott Boland on his first game in England:
It was good fun. Nice to come over here. Our bowling group was brilliant to take 20 wickets.
Just had to hit similar areas all the time.
It was nice [to get Kohli]. Smith took another great catch and Green took some blinders.
I’ve been playing state cricket for Victoria for 12 years, done some hard work and now nice to play international cricket.
Imperious is right.
Up next, Mitchell Starc:
We had to be patient to get the breakthroughs. We needed that little rub of the green [he says, mentioning the stunning grab from Smith to get Kohli].
The way [Rahane] played in the first innings, we knew we couldn’t take the foot off the gas. If we stuck to our areas we’d get chances and we took them quickly.
Thjis group has been fantastic for a long time. We set ourselves some goals that didn’t go our way, but the way this group has played for the past two years, this is a testament to them.
Coming off that Test series [against India] the guys know each other quite well. Two fantastic sides, fantastic cricket to watch, we’re going to enjoy this as a group.
Here’s the deserving player of the match, Travis Head:
It’s amazing. A lot of hard work over two years so it’s been nice.
I’ve had this approach for two years. I want to be proactive and be good enough to stay out there for a period of time. It was nice to be out there with Smudge. It was an amazing week.
Hopefully this will be a couple of big months for [Steve Smith].
I’ve always had the confidence. Just about going out there and expressing it. I’ve always been open to change and open to learning. I’ve bedded down somewhat of a blueprint. It’s about being consistent on and off the field.
We doubled down on them and were able to reap the rewards.
“I wonder how many times this summer we’re going to read that : ‘Australia have been immense this morning’?
I’ve already got it saved, Jeremy Boyce.
From start to finish, Australia have led this Test and are rightly crowned the best red ball team in the world. A glut of runs in the first dig, ruthless with the ball when they got their hands on it, they’ll take some beating. Good luck Ben and Baz.
AUSTRALIA WIN WTC FINAL BY 209 RUNS
After two years Australia are World Test Championship winners. A reverse sweep from Shami loops towards the man at point and he goes for 13 as India are bowled out for 235. This is Australia’s ninth ICC trophy. Lyon collects his fourth for this innings.
63rd over: India 234-9 (Shami 13, Siraj 1) After getting smacked for two fours – one a sweetly timed lofted on-drive, the other a fine swivelled pull – Starc thought he had Shami caught behind. It was given out but the review showed it clipped the thigh pad.
Shami is given out, caught behind down the leg side, but it’s off the thigh pad. Australia’s wait continues.
62nd over: India 224-9 (Shami 4, Siraj 0) Lyon has another. Australia just one wicket from victory. They’ve been immense this morning.
WICKET! Bharat c&b Lyon 23 (India 224-9)
Bharat’s slog across the line catches a top edge and Lyon pouches a simple up and under. It was the second last ball and the field was up. Can’t blame Bharat for taking a swipe at it.
Bharat survives! He’s done really well to get back in. Beaten in the flight by Lyon as he went searching for a drive. Carey was sharp but not sharp enough. Outstanding bowling though from Lyon.
Hold tight. I reckon Carey has just stumped Bharat. They’re going upstairs.
61st over: India 224-8 (Bharat 23, Shami 4) More success for Starc. I know I’ve left him out of my team for the first Ashes Test but he remains an expert in mopping up the tail. Shami fights back with an uppercut to a rising ball outside the off stump but this is just gravy now. Australia two away from securing another ICC trophy.
WICKET! Yadav c Carey b Starc 1 (India 220-8)
Nasty bouncer from Starc. Yadav is expecting the full and straight one so is in no position to handle this well placed bumper. He gets a glove on it and it ricochets off his helmet. Carey has to stretch to pluck it with one hand. The Aussie keeper is having a great game and he made that look easier than it was.
60th over: India 220-7 (Bharat 23, Yadav 1) Bharat unfurls an aggressive slog sweep against Lyon but only gets a single in the deep. He thought about keeping the strike as it was off the first ball of the over. Yadav squirts one off the inside edge that has short leg interested but does get off strike with a thick edge into the gully region. Bharat can’t find a single so Yadav must face up to Starc.
59th over: India 218-7 (Bharat 22, Yadav 0) Starc sees the funny side as Green’s wild chuck at the stumps misses by some distance and skips away for four overthrows, gifting Bharat five runs. Yadav safely navigates the rest of the over despite showing Starc all three stumps.
Any Indian fans out there with an interest in tennis? Robert F Speed has a silver lining for you:
“This is good as the Roland Garros final is on a bit later and I’d rather not to have to watch the two screens.”
58th over: India 213-7 (Bharat 17, Yadav 0) Delicious from Lyon. Drift and turn, he beats Thakur on the inside edge to trap him lbw then whizzes one past Yadav’s outside edge with a flighted teaser. You don’t get that many Test wickets without knowing what you’re doing.
WICKET! Thakur lbw Lyon 0 (India 213-7)
Thakur reviews but this looks plumb. Lyon from round the wicket, pitches that on off stump and spins it back into the right hander. Hits him on the knee roll but there isn’t a huge stride. Three reds and India are seven down.
57th over: India 212-6 (Bharat 16, Thakir 0) Starc joins the party as the bells of doom sound in the distance for India. Another poor shot from a batter who should know better. Starc does deserve credit though for hammering a good length from round the wicket, tricking Rahane into believing he could simply chuck his hands at the lifting ball.
WICKET! Rahane c Carey b Starc 46 (India 212-6)
Rahane can’t help himself as he throws his hands at a wider one and nicks off. Starc roars with delight as Australia inch nearer. A poor shot really. That wasn’t full enough for the stroke given the lack of foot movement towards the bounce of the ball. Perhaps a little nibble away off the seam. Certainly extra bounce and the outside edge and safely snaffled by Carey behind the stumps.
56th over: India 212-5 (Rahane 46, Bharat 16) Lyon into the attack. He’s round the wicket to the right handers in search of the rough outside leg stump. One drag down is deposited towards the cover boundary as Rahane leans back and punches with precision. A single for each batter means it’s six off that set.
Ha! I promise I hit send before Lyon was tossed the ball. Here comes Gary the Goat.
55th over: India 206-5 (Rahane 41, Bharat 15) Another lovely stroke from Rahane though that’s easy pickings from a Starc half volley which is sent back down the ground. Solid for the rest of the set as a fourth stump line is defended with a broad bat held by soft hands. I’d like to see some spin introduced.
54th over: India 202-5 (Rahane 37, Bharat 15) Just a single as Rahane moves forward and clips Green towards the on side where Boland has to slide to keep it to one. I’m liking this length from Green. File that under ‘bowls a heavy ball’.
“Morning Dan/all, Gervase Greene here.
If Wisden ever get around to listing the top-100 players who convince colleagues into stupid reviews, surely Marnus Labuschagne would need to buy up every copy of the Yellow Bible - and shred them too? Great batsman, excellent team-man, atrocious judgement otherwise.
Infectious enthusiasm is not a reliable barometer for anything.”
Just Langer was saying just that on the Sky comms. I’d put Quinton de Kock on that list. Would love to read that, just don’t ask me to put that list together.
53rd over: India 201-5 (Rahane 36, Bharat 15) Starc is round the wicket looking to work the angle into the right handers. He’s wayward first up, splaying one wide down the leg. He adjusts but not enough so Bharat can whip him for a single down to a wide fine leg. He adjusts to Rahane but the Indian batter simply presses forward and unfurls a gorgeous straight check-drive down the ground for four. Lovely balance. Rahane clips a single off his pads as Starc coughs up six from that over.
Drinks. Australia’s hour for sure. India 31-2 from 11 overs. Australia now five wickets away from hoisting the Mace.
52nd over: India 195-5 (Rahane 31, Bharat 14) Bharat gets a big stride to Green and leans into a drive. It’s not a half volley but because of his footwork he’s ab;e to hit through the line. He meets it with the outside half of his blade but gets enough on it to see it race towards the deep point boundary for four. Shot of the day. He keeps the strike with a pushed single past mid-on.
Agree with all of this.
“Neser. Need his batting if Starc goes.”
That’s from David Meiklejohn, referencing Michael Neser who has been called up to the Australian squad. Guessing you’re thinking Neser should play only if Hazlewood isn’t fit?
51st over: India 190-5 (Rahane 31, Bharat 9) Mitch Starc on for a spell that could determine his spot in the Ashes team. His natural length is fuller than the other Aussies and on this pitch, under this heat, with a ball that’s over 50 overs old, it’s a lot easier for the batters to handle. He’s now bowled eight overs in this innings and registered 0-48. Can see why. Bharat takes three, first with a couple through square leg and then a single dabbed down to deep third.
Now that you mention it… (pedants, direct your ire at Jarrod, not me)
50th over: India 187-5 (Rahane 31, Bharat 6) Cam Green – all seven metres of him – is into the attack and he’s hammering a good length after a loose bouncer to start. It’s spitting and making things uncomfortable for Bharat who happily gets down the other end with an awkward inside edge to a lifter into his ribs. Rahane leaves his only delivery of the over from the back foot.
49th over: India 186-5 (Rahane 31, Bharat 5) Two off that Boland over – a single apiece for each batter. Boland has it on a string. Moving it both ways off the seam at will. Could watch him all day.
The question is, who misses out if Hazlewood is fit? Starc for me. Any thoughts?
Australia review again. Surely sliding down leg. Let’s see. Boland is confident. Just as I thought. Australia burn another one.
48th over: India 184-5 (Rahane 30, Bharat 4) A maiden for Cummins (the one leg bye off Rahane’s pad doesn’t count against the bowler). Bharat is hit but soldiers on. Australia moving in for the kill.
Cummins has sconned Bharat. It’s short and the Indian ‘keeper ducks while averting his eyes. That means he’s at the mercy of the bounce but luck is not with him. He’s crunched on the back of his head and now the physios are out conducting a concussion test.
“Scott Boland is simply the most devastating bowler I have ever seen in international cricket.”
That’s from Robert Speed and honestly, I’m not going to argue. Reminds me of a peak Vernon Philander when the Saffa was unplayable. Not quick, not menacing, doesn’t hoop it round corners. Just routinely hits an uncomfortable area and tests the batter’s technique with every ball. Remarkable.
47th over: India 183-5 (Rahane 30, Bharat 4) Talk about one of the great overs of this WTC cycle. Set up Kohli by dangling the bait before working over Jadeja. Then, with the final ball, Boland gets one to spit off a good length and it flies off Bharat’s edge, up and over a leaping Warner to run away for four. Stunning stuff. He wasn’t supposed to play in this game. Now he’s surely inked on the team sheet for the first Ashes Test.
WICKET! Jadeja c Carey b Boland 0 (India 179-5)
Scotty Boland is on fire! Round the wicket angled into the left hander, he gets one to hold its line and the new batter nibbles at the good length. Perhaps he could have left it but it’s the angle that convinces him to play at it. He can only manage a thin edge and Carey is smiling even before he pouches it. Two in the over for the Australian cult hero.
WICKET! Kohli c Smith b Boland 49 (India 179-4)
Is that the game!? An absolute stunner from Steve Smith at second slip. The first bit of width from Boland and Kohli takes the bait, driving away from his body. It catches a thick edge and flies to the cordon where Smudge gets both hands around a rocket to his right. Clings on and the Aussies have the big fish.
Not sure what Labuschagne heard. Clear daylight between Kohli’s bat on the forward press and Boland’s full ball.
Ooooh. Now then. They’ve gone upstairs for a caught behind review. Seems that Marnus at extra cover heard something and has convinced Cummins to have a look.
46th over: India 179-3 (Kohli 49, Rahane 30) Kohli leans forward and steals a single in the covers. One more for Rahane down to deep third. I’ve already lost count – is that the sixth time this morning? Kohli closes this Cummins over with a nudge wide of mid-on.
45th over: India 176-3 (Kohli 47, Rahane 29) A better set from Boland. His first ball rises from a shortish length but it’s wide enough to let go. Another jags back into Kohli as he shoulders arms. But there it is again, back of a length at an innocuous pace around the fifth stump and Kohli steers a single to deep third. India are eating this whale one bite at a time.
44th over: India 175-3 (Kohli 46, Rahane 29) Too easy for the Indians. First Rahane and then Kohli open the face to Cummins and have enough time before dinking a single down to deep third. Not sure how they solve that problem. Cummins has moved his cover squarer of the wicket which opens up a gap on the off side. There’s a good bumper to end the over and Rahane tries to duck under it but leaves his bat dangling like a periscope. The ball catches the top edge and flies down to fine leg for four.
Good morning Tony White, thanks for dropping by.
This could be quite a stressful, red winey sort of forenoon, I trust you will be holding our hands tightly throughout.
And clapping later as India push it over the line!”
Red wine in this heat?! Someone check on Tony in a few hours. I’d be passed out after my second glass.
Don’t worry. I’ve got you mate. Sounds like you’ve got an excellent day planned.
43rd over: India 169-3 (Kohli 45, Rahane 24) Rahane opens the face and runs another single down to deep third. I might as well copy that sentence and have it on standby. Kohli is standing about half a foot outside of his crease to Boland. There’s an appeal for lbw but it’s sliding down leg.
42nd over: India 168-3 (Kohli 45, Rahane 23) It’s Cummins to Kohli but the prince of Indian cricket nudges a rising ball towards midwicket and gets down the other end with ease. A little soft as far as the Aussies are concerned. Rahane dabs a couple down to deep third and then keeps the strike with a single off the last ball. He’s perfected that shot over this Test. The pitch looks as flat as it’s been over the past five days. Simply hitting a good length won’t do for Australia.
41st over: India 164-3 (Kohli 44, Rahane 20) Scott Boland is on it straight away. Probing on a fourth stump line around a good length. Rahane is on the front foot and meeting the ball with the middle of his bat. He looks solid as he plays a mini game with the man at cover and sees out a maiden.
“Dan I presume Geoff is unavailable because he needs a day to recover from this morning’s episode of Bluey, simply titled Cricket, which is the best encapsulation of cricket’s role in growing up in Australia you will ever see, and is probably the television highlight of the year. It is utterly unmissable and everyone reading should seek it out at lunch if they have not already had the unalloyed pleasure.”
Geoff is saving all his best words for the final report so you’re stuck with me, Eamonn Maloney. But as the father of a two-year-old, I’ll absolutely be making a note of that.
What do you make of this from Shubman Gill? Just #Bantz or a line crossed from a pro player?
Ten minutes to go. Time enough to pick at the bones of yesterday’s controversial grab from Cam Green. Did the ball touch the ground? Well, yes. Does that mean it wasn’t a legitimate catch? Not exactly.
Confused? Not to worry. Geoff Lemon explains all:
While you wait I highly recommend this brilliant interview with Usman Khawaja, penned by Andy Bull. If you’re one of the seven cricket fans who didn’t already love the Australian batter, read this and get on board. He’s a proper gem.
If India pull this off it’d be one of the truly great Test performances.
To put their task in context, targets of 400 or more are rarely hauled in. In fact, only four teams have managed it in 252 attempts.
Don Bradman’s Australians notched 404-3 in the fourth Test of the 1948 Ashes thanks to Arthur Morris’ 182 and an unbeaten 173 from the Don.
28 years later, hundreds from Sanil Gavaskar and Gundappa Viswanath saw India reach 406-4 against the West Indies.
In 2003 the West Indies’ lower order got them over the line with 418-7 against an Australian attack of Glenn McGrath, Jason Gillespie and Brett Lee.
And the Aussies were on the wrong side of another historic chase when a century from AB de Villiers steered South Africa to 414-4 in Perth in 2008.
Folks, we’ve got a belter on our hands here. Modern Tests whiz along at such a frenetic pace that day five humdingers are rare, but that’s exactly what’s forming over the heat hazed horizon in south London.
In case you’re just catching up, this is how it’s shaped up over four undulating days:
India won the toss under cloud cover and nabbed two wickets with the new ball. Then Travis Head and Steve Smith starred as the Aussies piled on 469 before Pat Cummins and co skittled the Indian top order. Ajinkya Rahane helped avoid the follow on and Australia’s middle order gave their bowlers 470 to defend.
That looked like plenty when Cheteshwar Pujara was bounced out to leave India on 93-3, a whopping 377 runs adrift. But Rahane and Virat Kohli rallied and will resume their 71 run stand on a pitch that has shown some variable bounce but is still decent to bat on.
An Australian win is the most likely outcome. One or two scalps in this first session should all but seal it but don’t count out a blockbuster chase.
My name is Daniel/Dan and I’m genuinely thrilled to be here. If you’re as jazzed as I am drop an email or hit me up on Twitter.
Play starts at 10.30am BST, 3pm IST and 7.30pm AEST.