IND vs AUS, WTC Final: Australia Take Top Honours on Day 2 as Bowlers Blow Away Indian Top-order

Australia took the top honours for the second consecutive day in the WTC final against India at the Kennington Oval, London on Thursday, reducing India to 151/5 at close of play after posting a more than decent total of 469 in their first innings.

The fact that Australia were put into bat by India and they went on to score over 450, had already put them in a domineering position as India and Rohit failed to read the pitch correctly was also partly influenced by the overcast conditions at the start of the day 1 that soon made way for bright sunshine.

IND vs AUS WTC Final Highlights Day 2 Updates

But, the selections decisions and call at the toss aside, India must have realized that they are up against a top-class side in Australia and over the course of two days it has now been very evident that Australia were the better-prepared side heading into what is billed as the ‘Ultimate Test’.

India went in with a four-pronged pace attack, but unfortunately, it was largely reduced to a two-pronged carving fork as Steve Smith and Travis Head feasted on them on Day 1 and even on Day 2, despite the fleeting comeback that saw Indian bowlers pick seven Australian wickets for 107 runs.

Australia, however, had a proper four-pronged attack and at the Oval on Day Indian batters must have felt likes facing four fangs.

Indian bowlers led by Mohammad Siraj had done a bit of course correction, restricting Australia to less than 500 after they had started the day at 327/3 and by the first hour the score had gone up to 361. Smith registered his 31st century while Head motored along to 163 before falling to Siraj. Cam Green departed early while Alex Carey made a solid 48 to push Australia’s total to 469.

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For India, one positive thing probably was that Day 2 and Day 3 are probably the best days to bat and with the sun shining brightly even during the post-lunch session – Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill had a good platform to start off with. And start they did – with a positive approach.

But this is very Australia pace battery took the game away from India. While Indian pacers were guilty of not being able to plug the scoring rate, the Aussie pacers were controlled and looked more threatening to take a wicket, even though runs did come for India.

Pat Cummins provided the first breakthrough getting one to jag back into Rohit Sharma in the 6th over and in the very next one, Scott Boland got one from length from outside off to move in slightly as Gill was left in two minds whether to play it or leave. He eventually left it and lost his off-stump.

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The onus was on Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara to play for time, but in the post-tea session, Green hit the same length and corridor as Boland and the tentative Pujara, like Gill, made an error in judgment and allowed the ball to hit the stumps without any resistance.

Kohli looked good, he looked very good in fact with some crisp drives and authoritative front-foot play during his 31-ball stay for 14 runs but he was undone by the left-arm pace of Mitchell Starc. What actually led to Kohli’s wicket was the unexpected bounce that took the King by surprise, and the outside edge was well taken by Smith at second slip.

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It looked like things would go south for India pretty fast but the comeback man Ajinkya Rahane and Ravindra Jadeja ensured India remained afloat in the competition with a stand of 71 runs for the fifth wicket.

That was until Nathan Lyon was introduced with 20 minutes of play remaining. And it took Lyon only 2 overs to get into the act when he had Jadeja edge one to slip for 48. A flighted delivery outside off and the drift in lured Jadeja to prod forward, only to see the ball get some bounce and spin away from him taking the outside edge. An off-spinner with over 400 wickets does need to a favorable pitch to make his mark, innit?

India eventually ended Day 2 at 151/5, trailing Australia by 318 runs with Rahane unbeaten on 29 alongside Srikar Bharat (5*)

Brief Scores: India 151/5 (Ravindra Jadeja 48, Ajinkya Rahane 29*; Nathan Lyon 1/4) trail Australia 469 all out (Travis Head 163, Steve Smith 121; Mohammed Siraj 4/108) by 318 runs

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