Australia crowned ICC World Test Champions with win over India

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ICC World Championship

Australia are World Test Champions after completing a 209-run win over India in the WTC Final at The Oval.

Superb first-innings centuries from Travis Head and Steve Smith gave Australia control of the Test early on, but India responded well to force the match to a fifth day, falling short of what would have been an all-time record chase to win a Test as they were bowled out for 234.

Scott Boland got the ball rolling with two early dismissals in the day, with Nathan Lyon and Mitchell Starc also among the wickets as Australia rattled through India to win the World Test Championship title.

Australia were the dominant team during the WTC cycle, finishing top of the standings to qualify for the showpiece final against India thanks to 11 wins from 19 matches.

Nathan Lyon ended this Test Championship campaign as the world’s highest wicket-taker.

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And four of the top six run-scorers in the WTC cycle were Australian, with only Joe Root scoring more than Usman Khawaja (1621) and Marnus Labuschagne (1576), and the first innings heroes Head and Smith scoring 1407 and 1389 runs respectively in the Championship.

India’s strong finish to their campaign saw them bag the second spot in the standings and qualify for the final against Australia in south London.

But defeat means that India have now lost each of the two WTC Finals to have been held since the conception of the tournament.

Day five of this 2023 Final had resumed with all results still possible, with Australia requiring seven wickets to win and India needing 280 more runs at the start of play.

With Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane unbeaten overnight there was still some hope for India that they could pull a record fourth-innings chase.

But Boland got the ball rolling in the first hour.

A tempter that moved away from Virat Kohli lured the Indian talisman into a risky drive, and Smith held on brilliantly in the cordon as the ball flew off the edge.

And Boland struck again two balls later, sending down a peach that left Ravindra Jadeja just enough to find the edge, with Alex Carey the grateful recipient behind the stumps.

It was a matter of when not if when Mitchell Starc removed Ajinkya Rahane, and wickets tumbled throughout the remainder of the morning session, with Australia wrapping it up before lunch.

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Lyon got in on the action, trapping Shardul Thakur in front and then helping clean up the tail.

A fiery delivery from Starc did for Umesh Yadav, with Carey taking a superb catch above his head. And Lyon bagged the last two wickets for fall, picking up the scalps of KS Bharat and Mohammed Siraj to finish with 4/41.

India will rue the display on day one, which left them behind the eight ball for the remainder of the match.

While for Australia this WTC Final victory adds the one piece of major ICC silverware that the nation had been missing from its trophy cabinet.