World Test Championship Finals
Stadium: Kennington Oval, London, United Kingdom
7th June 2023.
India will be facing off against Australia in their second consecutive World Test Championship Finals at Kennington Oval. India dominated the test series with the red ball at home earlier in the year. The swing pitches will favour Aussie bowlers. Who will win the final encounter and will be crowned the champions of the longest format of cricket?Claim Your Welcome Bonus!
India's path to the second consecutive WTC Final was filled with challenges and obstacles. Starting with a series against England that was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indian team experienced a rollercoaster ride over the course of two years as they battled with teams like Sri Lanka and South Africa for the coveted second spot on the table.
However, despite the ups and downs, the team managed to secure their place in the final thanks to some favourable results, setting up a highly anticipated clash against their arch-rivals in the longest format of the game.
India has assembled a well-balanced team for this crucial match, considering the absence of key players such as Jasprit Bumrah, KL Rahul, and Rishabh Pant. On paper, the team still appears formidable. Players like Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Mohammed Shami, and Ravindra Jadeja showcased outstanding form in the recently concluded IPL, instilling a sense of confidence as they approach this significant encounter.
Ajinkya Rahane, returning to the test squad after a hiatus of nearly one and a half years, will bolster the middle order alongside the reliable Cheteshwar Pujara, who has a remarkable track record in England. Given Ishan Kishan's impressive performances in the IPL, it is conceivable that he might earn his maiden test call-up for this match.
Jadeja, with his valuable all-round abilities, will be a crucial component of the squad. Mohammed Shami will spearhead the pace attack, supported by Mohammed Siraj, while Umesh Yadav is expected to fulfil the role of the third seamer. The selection of the fifth bowler will be intriguing, with both Ravichandran Ashwin and Shardul Thakur showcasing decent form and making compelling cases for their inclusion.
India Predicted Lineup
Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Ajinkya Rahane, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Umesh Yadav, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami
Australia narrowly missed securing a spot in the inaugural ETC Finals due to a 4-point penalty for a slow over rate. However, they made a strong comeback in the second edition, starting with a dominant 5-0 victory over England in the Ashes series. Subsequently, they triumphed in series against Pakistan, West Indies, and South Africa, ensuring their position at the top of the table.
Although they faced a minor setback with consecutive defeats against India, they quickly regained their momentum with a comprehensive win against the hosts in Indore, securing their smooth passage to the summit clash.
Bowling will be Australia's main strength in this match. Skipper Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, and Mitchell Starc, despite limited recent appearances, will be fully fit and eager to excel in the final. The overcast conditions in England, combined with the favourable bounce on offer, will perfectly suit the Australian bowlers as they aim to dismantle the strong Indian batting line-up.
Cameron Green showcased his exceptional all-around abilities during the IPL, further solidifying his credentials, and he will be eager to showcase his skills in this match. Nathan Lyon, who played a pivotal role in Australia's victory against India in the Indore test, will once again have a significant impact, especially as the ball begins to turn in the latter stages of the match.
However, Australia's batting unit raises concerns as it is not currently in the best form. David Warner had a challenging time in the IPL, and the test format is not his strongest suit. Other batsmen such as Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, and Alex Carey have had limited international exposure since the series in India, which may result in some rustiness.
Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne, who have accumulated valuable experience from playing county cricket, will be the key batsmen for Australia in this crucial encounter
Usman Khawaja, David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne, Steven Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (wk), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins (c), Nathan Lyon, Scott Boland
Expert betting tips
The pitch at the Kia Oval is firm and provides a generous amount of bounce, making it favourable for batsmen to play their shots, especially in the initial days of the match. However, fast bowlers will need to maintain discipline in terms of line and length to capitalize on the pace on offer. Historically, the average first-inning score at this venue is around 350, indicating the potential for high-scoring contests. As the match progresses into the fourth and fifth days, the pitch is expected to develop rough patches, presenting opportunities for spinners to exploit. Chasing a target above 250 in the fourth innings will pose a significant challenge. The weather forecast suggests overcast skies and pleasant temperatures in the low 20s, contributing to favourable playing conditions at the Kia Oval.
India has showcased exceptional cricketing skills, securing their place in the WTC Finals for the second consecutive time, while Australia has displayed a near-flawless performance in their journey over the past two years. Both teams are undoubtedly the strongest contenders, setting the stage for a closely contested match. Although India possesses a formidable batting line-up, Australia holds a slight advantage due to their formidable bowling attack. With a well-rested trio of Starc, Hazlewood, and Pat Cummins, Australia's pace bowling unit is eager and fully prepared for the challenge. Additionally, the inclusion of Nathan Lyon adds to their repertoire of deceptive bowling options. India is going as underdogs in the game and we expect Australia to come away with victory and become the next test champion.