A fired-up Australia wasted little time in crushing Indian hopes of staging a final-day miracle as they romped to a 209-run victory in the World Test Championship (WTC) final at The Oval.
Needing to score 280 runs on the final day on Sunday to overhaul the mammoth 444 victory target set by Australia, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane were cheered all the way to the pitch as they came out to resume India’s second innings on 164-3.
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However, the boisterous fans were left muted and dejected as Scott Boland and his fellow bowlers ripped through the Indian batting order to dismiss the world’s top-ranked team for 234 and wrap up the victory before the lunch break.
In the seventh over of the day, Kohli edged fast bowler Boland to a great catch at second slip by Steve Smith and was gone for 49. Boland got Ravindra Jadeja in the same over.
India chased the match since the first morning and the demise of Kohli confirmed it was a matter of when, not if, Australia would become the first-time world test champions.
Rahane, on 20 overnight, reached 46 when he edged Starc behind and began a collapse of the last five India wickets in the 30 minutes before scheduled lunch.
Boland started Australia’s celebrations with his two wickets, and Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon also took two each in the morning. Wicketkeeper Alex Carey had four catches in the innings.
The Indians lost their last seven wickets for the addition of just 70 runs on the final day of the contest. It was India’s second successive defeat in the WTC final.
Australia have now captured the one major men’s cricket title that had eluded them.
Starc, who picked up four wickets in the match, was delighted with the result.
“It’s been a fantastic test match … some fantastic cricket to watch. And yeah, we’re just really we’re gonna enjoy this moment,” he said.