Australia crush India, claim World Test Championship title

Australia's Nathan Lyon celebrates with teammates Travis Head, Pat Cummins and wicketkeeper Alex Carey after the dismissal of India's Mohammed Shami for victory during play on day 5 of the ICC World Test Championship final between Australia and India at The Oval in London on 11 June 2023AFP

Scott Boland sparked a dramatic collapse as a dominant Australia hammered India by 209 runs to win the World Test Championship final at The Oval on Sunday.

India, set a record 444 to win, resumed on 164-3.

But they collapsed to 234 all out, losing seven wickets for 70 runs inside 24 overs before lunch on the fifth day.

Boland did the initial damage with two wickets in an over, including the prize scalp of Virat Kohli, on his way to figures of 3-46 in 16 overs.

Off-spinner Nathan Lyon (4-41) then polished off the tail.

India's Virat Kohli walks back to the pavilion after his dismissal during play on day 5

Victory meant Australia had now captured the one major men’s cricket title that had previously eluded them.

“That was good fun, it was nice,” Boland told Sky Sports. “It felt pretty good to get Kohli out.

The 34-year-old seamer has now taken 33 wickets in eight Tests at the remarkably low average of 14.57.

“I have been playing state cricket for Victoria for 12 years. I have done some hard work and it is nice to play international cricket and get some wickets,” said Boland.

This result left India, defeated by New Zealand in the inaugural 2021 WTC final in Southampton, still searching for the first piece of global silverware in a decade.

India’s target of 444 was way in excess of the highest score made by any side to win in the fourth innings in 146 years of Test history. the West Indies’ 418-7 against Australia at St John’s in 2003

Australia were in charge of this final from early on with both player-of-the-match Travis Head (163) and star batsman Steve Smith (121) making hundreds in a first-innings total of 469 after India captain Rohit Sharma won the toss.

“It was a tough one,” said India skipper Rohit Sharma at the presentation ceremony.

“We bowled pretty well in the first session. Then we let ourselves down a little bit with how he bowled.”

Rohit, who lauded Smith and Head for their centuries, added: “In the second innings, we didn’t apply ourselves with the bat.”

India were also attempting to top a ground record stretching back more than a century, with the highest successful fourth-innings chase in a Test at the Oval the 263 posted by England in a one-wicket win over Australia back in 1902.

And yet thousands of their fans, as they had done during the first four days, still streamed into the ground hoping their side might pull off an extraordinary win, with chants of “Kohli, Kohli, Kohli” rang out round the ground as the former India captain and Ajinkya Rahane walked out to bat.

Kohli had added just five runs to his overnight score when, on 49, his edged drive off a wide ball from paceman Boland was brilliantly caught by Steve Smith, diving to his right at second slip.

Two balls later, new batsman Ravindra Jadeja fell for a duck, caught behind after nicking a superb Boland delivery that seamed away against the angle.

India were now 179-5 and a sensational seventh over of the day almost ended with another wicket for Boland, when a sharply rising ball took the shoulder of Bharat’s bat before looping over David Warner at first slip.

Rahane, who had marked his first Test in over a year by top-scoring with patient 89 in India’s first was still there but an otherwise composed 46 ended when he went for a booming drive off fast bowler Mitchell Starc only to edge straight to wicketkeeper Alex Carey.

India’s 212-6 was soon transformed into 213-7 when Shardul Thakur was lbw to Lyon and the end came when Mohammed Siraj was caught reverse-sweeping the spinner.