WTC final: Australia defeat India, become the first team to win all ICC titles

Australia were clearly the better team on all fronts while India had only themselves to blame for yet another loss in a global event

The victorious Australian team celebrates (Photo courtesy: @ICC/ Twitter)
The victorious Australian team celebrates (Photo courtesy: @ICC/ Twitter)
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PTI

The widely-followed and much-loved Indian cricket team lost yet again when it mattered the most, the country's calibrated youth structure, the multiple superstars, and the presence of a legend in support staff coming to naught for the sport's financial powerhouse.

India's underwhelming record in ICC tournaments continued with a 209-run hammering by Australia in the World Test Championship (WTC) final in London on Sunday.

Australian pacer Scott Boland produced a bowling spell of rare quality to get rid of Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja in the same over, effectively shutting the door on India, who were bowled out for 234 in their second innings on the final day at The Oval.

Australia were clearly the better team on all fronts while India had only themselves to blame for yet another loss in a global event. India's last ICC title came way back in 2013 and it was their second successive defeat in the WTC final, having gone down against New Zealand two years ago.

India lost seven wickets for the addition of 70 runs on the final day.

Australia thus became the first team to win all ICC titles. The Aussies won the ODI World Cup in 1987, 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2015. It has also also claimed the ICC Champions Trophy in successive editions in 2006 and 2009.

Australia had ended its T20 World Cup title drought during the 2021 edition held in the United Arab Emirates, beating New Zealand in the final under the leadership of Aaron Finch.

While the non selection of R Aswhin was the big talking point on the opening day, India lost the title contest mainly due to the failure of their high-profile batting line-up.

The top four comprising Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara and Kohli failed to deliver in the high-stake game.

Chasing a record 444 at The Oval, Indian fans went into day five high on hope with Kohli (49) and Ajinkya Rahane (46) walking into the middle.

However, Boland removing Kohli and Jadeja (0) in the seventh over of the morning pretty much shut the door on India, who resumed the day at 164 for three needing another 280 runs for an improbable win.

"It was a tough one. We started well, winning the toss and putting them into bat in those conditions. We bowled pretty well in the first session and then we let ourselves down a little bit with how we bowled," India skipper Rohit Sharma said at the post-match presentation ceremony.

"But again, credit to the Australian batters, in particular, Travis Head came in and played really well. That took us off guard a little bit and then we knew it was always hard to come back. We (did) put up a show.

"We fought hard but congratulations to Australia. We spoke of a lot of things. We spoke of bowling tighter lines. But it didn't work out. Things like that can happen," the India captain added.

Kohli, who had looked in extremely good touch on day four, had to make a big hundred if India had to get anywhere close to the massive target.

On a surface with variable bounce, there was always going to be an odd ball that had your name on it, and that is what happened with both Kohli and Jadeja.

WTC final: Australia defeat India, become the first team to win all ICC titles

Boland's relentless pursuit around the off-stump has added an extra dimension to the Australian attack. Bowling from the pavilion end, the seamer pitched one wide and Kohli went for the drive only to be caught by a flying Steve Smith at second slip.

Two balls later, he got one to seam away from round the wicket and Jadeja ended up offering an easy catch to the wicketkeeper, leaving India at 179 for five.

K S Bharat then joined Rahane who played a couple of beautiful straight drives off Mitchell Starc to keep crowd going.

Starc drew his length back soon after and Rahane went hard at a ball that he could have left to be caught behind, sealing his team's fate. The experienced batter was left tapping his head in frustration knowing he went for the wrong shot.

Shardul Thakur lasted just five balls, lbw off Nathan Lyon, to make it 213 for seven. It seemed the match would last till lunch but the Indian tail made the task easier for the Australians and were bowled out in the extra half hour of play.

Australian captain Pat Cummins said, "We made the most of it (losing the toss). We were certainly going to bowl. The way Travis (Head) and (Steve Smith) Smithy put on that partnership, gave us the comfort after a nervy morning."

"We left day one feeling like we were on top of the game. When it counted, we played really well. We could have really driven the game, didn't have our best day and let India closer back in. For the most parts, we were in control.

"This is our favourite format, we grew up watching Test cricket. It challenges you. When you win, it's the format you get most satisfaction with. We love playing."

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