India has qualified for the World Test Championship as New Zealand managed to defeat Sri Lanka in one of the instant classics.
“India has qualified for the World Test Championship final! They’ll take on Australia at The Oval for the #WTC23 mace!,” tweeted the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Monday.
In order to qualify for the WTC final, India only had two options. India either needed to defeat Australia by a margin of 3-1 or invest their hopes in New Zealand.
New Zealand went against the odds to defeat Sri Lanka in a dramatic fashion. On Day-5 when rain intervened to change the course of the game, the Kiwis still relied on their chances of chasing down a total of 285.
When the moment called Kane Williamson and Daryl Mitchell rose to the occasion to keep New Zealand in the game. Their partnership was the turning point of the entire series and for India as well. After Mitchell’s wicket, the game was wide open. Sri Lanka went on to pick up wickets at a regular level. But Williamson ensured that New Zealand maintained a consistent run rate.
Tension started to mount up in the entire stadium. Asitha Fernando held the ball to bowl the final ball of the game. One ball and one run was the difference between the two teams. Fernando produced a fierce bouncer missing Williamson’s bat entirely. Neil Wagner made an effort to complete the run with all his might. Williamson did his role and completed the run before the ball could hit the stumps. The epic clash came to an end and India booked their place in the final of WTC.
On the other side half-centuries from Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne helped Australia draw the fourth and final Test of the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy against India at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Monday.
With this, India won the four-match Test series 2-1 and retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Australia started the final session on 158/2 after Tea, with Labuschagne (56*) and Steve Smith (0*) unbeaten.
Indian bowlers failed to produce a wicket in the final session and both sides agreed to end the match as a draw with Australia at 175/2, with Labuschagne (63*) and Smith (10*) unbeaten at the crease.
Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel took a wicket each for India.
After Lunch, Australia resumed their innings with a score of 73/1, Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne were on the pitch with scores of 45* and 22*, respectively.
The second session was almost an exact copy of the first session with a minor change in detail. Ravichandran Ashwin struck the first blow in the first hour of the game, but after that, the effortless Australian batting did not allow Indian bowlers to gain any sort of momentum in their favour.
In the second session, the boy from Gujarat, Axar Patel struck the second blow sending Travis Head (90) back to the pavilion. The nervous nineties seemed to get into Travis’s mind as he went to play a drive leaving a wide gap open between his pad and bat. The ball turned sharply and went crashing into the stumps. Axar Patel became the fastest Indian player to pick up 50 wickets in terms of balls bowled (2,205 balls).
Axar broke the 139-run stand between Labuschagne and Head. Australia was 153/2 at that point.
Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne went on to carry Australia for the remaining session.
In the first session, as a night watchman, Kuhnemann (6) failed to survive for as long as Australia would have hoped for. It was Ashwin who picked up his wicket. Australia was 14/1 at that point.
Head and Labuschagne carried Aussies through the remainder of the session without any loss of wickets.
Earlier, India gained a 91-run lead over Australia after they were bundled out for 571 in their first innings.
Virat Kohli brought an end to his century drought in Test cricket, scoring his 75th international century and his 28th in Tests. This was his first century in Tests since November 2019. In his marathon effort, he scored 186 runs in 364 balls, consisting of 15 fours.
Shubman Gill also scored a century, smashing 128 runs in 235 balls. Axar (79), KS Bharat (44) and Cheteshwar Pujara (42) also played some important knocks, which helped India gain a lead over Australia.
Todd Murphy (3/113) and Nathan Lyon (3/151) were the picks of the bowlers for Australia. Mitchell Starc and Matt Kuhnemann got a wicket each.
In their first innings, Australia posted 480 runs. Usman Khawaja (180) and Cameron Green (114) posted stunning centuries to help the Aussies gain a massive advantage earlier in the match.
Ravichandran Ashwin was the pick of the bowlers, taking 6/91 on a surface and offering no help to spinners.
Virat Kohli was adjudged the ‘Man of the Match’ for his knock of 186 runs.
Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, India’s star spin all-rounder duo were given the ‘Men of the Series’ award for their heroics throughout the series.
Ashwin ended as the top wicket-taker in the series with 25 wickets, with the best bowling figures of 6/91. He also scored useful 86 runs in five innings throughout the series with the best score of 37.
Jadeja also emerged as the second-highest wicket-taker in the series, with a total of 22 scalps and best figures of 7/42. He also scored 135 runs in five innings with one half-century and the best score of 70.
Brief Scores: India 571 (Virat Kohli 186, Shubman Gill 128, Todd Murphy 3/113) vs Australia 480 and 175/2 (Travis Head 90, Marnus Labuschagne 63*, Axar Patel 1/36).