Cricket World Test Series Prediction
Australia vs India - Match Preview
🏏 7 June 2023 - 14:00 GMT +0
For the uninitiated, it’s the World Cup final of Test cricket – the World Test Championship final. For those familiar with the format, it’s the continuation of a rivalry that’s probably only second to the Ashes – Australia vs India - in the final at The Oval on Wednesday. And for the purists, this is the starter before the main course – the Ashes – to be dished out.
That can wait, because neither Australia nor India are ready to take their eyes off the resplendent trophy that comes with a winner’s cheque of US$1.6 million, while the loser pockets exactly half of that. More than the money, it is a chance to secure the only ICC title missing from its cabinet that should spur the Aussies. A WTC cycle that started with a thumping Ashes win at home could end with winning the title in enemy territory, which would make a statement ahead of the next Ashes!
Australia certainly cannot and will not take India lightly. If there has been any nation that has both scared and scarred men from down under, it’s the sub-continental giants. Be it at home or away, Australia has struggled to solve the Indian puzzle, most recently including a 2-1 loss in the recent away series. Losing Josh Hazlewood to injury wasn’t ideal, but his likely replacement in the XI, Scott Boland, has become renowned for similarly relentless accuracy in his brief but record-breaking Test career.
Australia will hope their cricket ‘Siamese twins’ Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne carry the confidence of runs from the County Championship to The Oval. Another player who turned up earlier than his teammates was Smith’s captain at Sussex, Cheteshwar Pujara, who could be crucial to India’s chances of winning the title that eluded them in 2021. It was to New Zealand that they lost the previous WTC final and a win over their trans-Tasman neighbours could be just a reminder of how good India has been away from home in recent times!
The men in their fresh and resplendent Adidas stripes need to get over an England hoodoo illustrated by just nine wins from 68 matches in this country. Yet, three of those wins have come since August 2018 (D1, L5) which is again a rising sign of their improvements, further giving hope to the legion of fans that their wait for an ICC title can finally end.
India has been a nation of heartbreak in recent ICC tournaments. The challenge to rewrite history starts right in their camp as captain Rohit Sharma and coach Rahul Dravid face the tough task of choosing the right personnel – two spinners or one? Ashwin, Jadeja or both? Jaydev Unadkat or Shardul Thakur? Ishan Kishan (hailed by Australian legend Ricky Ponting as a potential “X-Factor”) or incumbent KS Bharat take the gloves?
⚡ Players to watch: When it comes to playing India, it has to be Steve Smith for Australia. He averages six runs more against them than his overall career numbers and has scored eight of his 30 career Test 100s against Indian bowlers in just 35 H2H innings. Smith also loves this place, having scored two centuries and a fifty from just five Test innings at the Oval.
If there’s one player who’s still not swayed by the nagging influence of ‘Baseball’, it’s Cheteshwar Pujara. The Test specialist similarly averages nearly seven runs more against the Aussies than his career average and has faced between 145 and 314 balls in his last four H2H innings away from home. He has a score to settle at The Oval, though, averaging a paltry 19.50 in six knocks here whilst failing to go beyond 31 balls in four of those.
📋 Stat attack: The average first innings score at this venue in Tests is 343, which comes down to 258 over the last five matches.
- This is the first time that The Oval will host a Test in June. The earliest Test so far, started on July 8, 1982, when England played India.
- Australia have lost 17 of the 38 Tests they played at this venue – the most defeats at any single English ground for them.
- Mohammed Siraj to David Warner in Tests: 2/36 in six innings.
- Nathan Lyon has taken Virat Kohli’s wicket in seven of 31 H2H innings.
- Kohli has a top score of just 58 from his last 15 Test innings in the UK (3x50, 2x0, average 30.60).
- Pat Cummins averages 24.6 with the ball to Cheteshwar Pujara at a rate of 1.72rpo!
- Ravichandran Ashwin has head-to-head figures of 5/84 against Steve Smith since the beginning of 2020.
- Ashwin dismissed Alex Carey five times for just 25 runs in the series earlier this year.
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