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World Test Championship Final: Australia V India, Day Two – Live

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1st over: India 5-0 (Sharma 5, Gill 0) Rohit gets off the mark second ball with the smoothest of swivel-pulls for four. Nothing much else to report, mainly because I was busy changing the furniture on this article.

Thanks Geoff, hello everyone. The Australian players are back out on the field, and we’re about to find out what 469 is worth on this pitch. Mitchell Starc will open the bowling.

Geoff Lemon

That’s enough from me, Rob Smyth will take over for the rest of the day.

Australia set 469 in the first innings121.3 overs: Australia 469-10 (Boland 1) The not out player is Boland, who will now prepare to bowl first change. Mitchell Starc is already in the middle doing some warm-up bowling, only a minute or so after the final wicket fell. Cummins will join him shortly. It looks a substantial total given that the pitch was still offering decent bounce and carry, some erratic bounce on occasion, and it has some cracks starting to open up. Not that it’s a minefield but it’ll give good bowlers something.

Siraj finishes with 4 for 108, Shami 2 for 122, Thakur 2 for 83, and Jadeja 1 for 56. Umesh is the wicketless one, conceding 77.

WICKET! Cummins c Rahane b Siraj 9, Australia all out 469That’s the end of that. Cummins decides to take one on, slapping a length ball over cover, except that it doesn’t get over cover. Rahane is set quite deep and has time to get into position for the catch. The Australian captain didn’t middle one in his fairly lengthy stay, but he won’t mind much: 469 is fair old total.

Pat Cummins is caught in the deep for nine runs, and that is that for the Australian innings. Photograph: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images121st over: Australia 469-9 (Cummins 9, Boland 1) None Shall Pass, says Aesop Rock ft. Scott Boland, as the Victorian blunts six Jadeja deliveries without moving from the crease.

120th over: Australia 469-9 (Cummins 9, Boland 1) Off the mark immediately is Scott Boland, tucking a ball through square leg to keep strike.

WICKET! Lyon b Siraj 9, Australia 468 for 9Siraj gets the next one. Replacing Umesh at the Pavilion End, from wide on the crease, he angles one in and gets it to move further off the seam. Lyon aims a huge drive and is beaten on the inside edge to lose off stump. That’s one ball after Siraj gave away another four byes with a short ball after Lyon missed his hook.

119th over: Australia 463-8 (Cummins 8, Lyon 9) No run from a short Jadeja over, Lyon blocking out the lot.

118th over: Australia 463-8 (Cummins 8, Lyon 9) Up on his toes, Lyon, and punching Umesh out through extra cover for four! Effective shot. Three slips waiting behind him, plenty of gaps. Cover gets plugged. Umesh strikes pad but it’s going down leg. Lyon places a two and a one either side of the wicket. He’s already outscored Cummins.

117th over: Australia 456-8 (Cummins 8, Lyon 2) With that very open stance of his, Lyon tries to wrist Jadeja through the packed leg side field for one. Can’t do it. Pushes to point instead and gets off strike. Cummins has a deep cover point, long off, long on and deep backward square for any big shots, but deep midwicket is open. He simply defends a couple with a straight bat.

116th over: Australia 455-8 (Cummins 8, Lyon 1) Not sure you’ll see this batting pair hang around long. A couple of singles, Umesh still smashing that length. Then Cummins tries to swing one over the leg side, not short enough and he gets little of it. Rohit sends a deep square leg out. Umesh goes headhunting, but too high and Cummins goes down the elevator shaft easily.

115th over: Australia 453-8 (Cummins 7, Lyon 0) Spinner versus spinner, Jadeja to Nathan Lyon, who blocks the last two of the over.

WICKET! Carey lbw Jadeja 48, Australia 453 for 8Jadeja comes on for a whirl, left-arm spin. Around the wicket to both the right-handed Cummins adn the left-handed Carey. Cummins is off strike immediately, a simple straight punch. Carey misses his first ball, past the outside edge, and after it hits the keeper he picks it up and hands it back. Can’t be doing that, Alex. India don’t appeal but they have the right to.

Next ball, Carey launches it for six! Over wide long on, gets up and under it.

And the next he goes down for a reverse sweep, plays over the top of it, and is hit on the back thigh. Fair enough that the standing umpire says not out: Carey might have gloved it, he’s got a big stride forward, and it’s not clear where it hit him. But India review, and the slow-mo shows it hitting him on the inside of the back thigh, down low, and no contact from bat or glove.

Alex Carey is given out after a long look from the third umpire. Photograph: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP114th over: Australia 446-7 (Carey 42, Cummins 6) Down crouches Cummins, and blocks out an Umesh yorker. Off strike next ball with an edge past the stumps. Wonder if that was another low bounce one. Umesh spins at the top of his mark, gets onto Carey’s pads, and some good T20 running sees Carey back for two as fine leg has to move inward and around to the ball placed squarer. Last ball of the over he is beaten again. Umesh is a new bowler today, and hasn’t had any luck.

113th over: Australia 443-7 (Carey 40, Cummins 5) Shami from the Vauxhall End, tight on Carey’s off stump as well. The view from here is right behind Shami’s arm when he bowls around the wicket. Carey glides, and places it fine enough to beat the deep backward point for four. Loves that shot. The next ball cuts back, nearly through him, into the thigh pad and could so easily have spun back onto the stumps. It misses, and Carey follows it with another boundary, picking off the attempted yorker that is a tad underpitched, sending it away behind square leg. Lovely timing.

This is now a very useful score from Carey. And he garnishes it with four more, another flick of a full and straight ball, this time well in front of square to the other side of the futile sweeper.

112th over: Australia 431-7 (Carey 28, Cummins 5) Wonder if there was a decision made at lunch to go hard from here? Carey again thrashes at a couple and misses. Umesh is bowling much better than yesterday, a nice line tight to the stumps and a tough length, with good pace rushing through the shot as well. Sprints up with the pavilion at his back and lets the ball go, Carey dashes a single, Cummins watches one zip by his off stump.

111th over: Australia 430-7 (Carey 27, Cummins 5) Very nice shot from Cummins facing Shami, placing the flick through midwicket and coming back for three. The left-handed Carey plays a similar shot and hits it more sweetly for four.

110th over: Australia 422-7 (Carey 22, Cummins 2) Umesh Yadav to resume after lunch, and Carey starts in dicey fashion. Throws the bat a couple of times and makes no contact. One ball keeps low in there, too. The inconsistent bounce will interest Starc and Cummins greatly.

Here’s something for your lunchtime pondering. Steve Smith moved up a spot on another record list by making his 7th Test century in England. That’s the equal second most for a visiting player, behind Guess Who.

It made me wonder which visiting players have the most in the other Test countries, so here are the answers. This list refers to hundreds in that country, not against that country.


Big Don Bradman 11

Steve Smith, Steve Waugh 7


Jack Hobbs 9

Wally Hammond 7

Virat Kohli, Herbert Sutcliffe, Sachin Tendulkar 6

West Indies

Sunil Gavaskar 7

Ricky Ponting 5


Alastair Cook 5

Hashim Amla, Clive Lloyd, Everton Weekes 4

South Africa

Tendulkar 5

Hammond, Neil Harvey 4

Sri Lanka

Tendulkar 5


Tendulkar 5


Mohinder Armanath, Aravinda da Silva 4


Kallis, Marvan Atapattu 3

New Zealand

Kallis, Weekes, Greg Chappell, Asanka Gurusinha, Desmond Haynes, Javed Miandad, Kumar Sangakkara, Alec Stewart, Graham Thorpe 3

Lunch – Australia 422 for 7Substantial progress for India in that session – they got through Head and Smith without either overnight not out player adding a huge amount of damage, and they took out Green and Starc as well. But Australia’s initial foundation meant everyone was able to score at a decent rate, adding 95 runs for the session. Australia’s total is likely already be too many for India – though of course India might also come out and make 600.

Three wickets in hand when Australia resume.

109th over: Australia 422-7 (Carey 22, Cummins 2) Some weird decisions from Rohit – bowling Umesh for one over before drinks wasn’t quite as odd, but asking Shami to warm up for one over before lunch seems like it’s not in your bowler’s best interests. Any rate. He bowls a no-ball and concedes a single to Carey, and that is sandwich time.

108th over: Australia 420-7 (Carey 21, Cummins 2) Siraj is planning his bouncer attack. Three in the deep on the leg side. Deep third, set quite fine. And Siraj goes with the bluff, trying the yorker, but misses his length and bowls it a touch wide. Carey is already backing away, and is able to deflect it behind point point for four. Then gets a short ball that he can bunt away to leg while mid hop, another run to the total. Two slips for Cummins, with a short leg as well… and Siraj bowls a horrible bouncer, way down leg, over the batter and past the keeper for four more extras. There’s 420 for Australia, blaze up.

107th over: Australia 410-7 (Carey 16, Cummins 2) Driving out to deep cover is Carey. He hasn’t tried anything adventurous so far. Not long until the lunch break now, probably the plan is simply to bat India as deeply into the fifth session as possible. Cummins gets his first runs, placing Thakur through midwicket for two.

106th over: Australia 407-7 (Carey 15, Cummins 0) Siraj short to Carey, who plays a nice hook shot but only gets one run with deep square leg back. Siraj stays short to Cummins who evades comfortably enough.

105th over: Australia 406-7 (Carey 14, Cummins 0) Another sniff of a run out as Cummins turns a ball to midwicket and both batters set off, stutter, and go back as the throw comes in. Shardul bumps Cummins, perhaps getting in before Cummins can do the same, hitting him on the arm. Then strays down leg, allowing Cummins to add four to the team’s score off his thigh pad. Technically though it’s still a maiden over.

104th over: Australia 402-7 (Carey 14, Cummins 0) The captain joins his wicketkeeper in the middle. Carey on strike defends to end the over.

WICKET! Starc run out Axar Patel 5, Australia 402-7There’s one! Starc’s call, Starc’s error. He drives straight, not forcefully back past the bowler. Sees mid on moving to his left, knows he’ll have to field left-handed. So Starc takes on the run. The only problem is that it’s the sub fielder, Axar Patel, and he’s left-handed. So Axar picks up cleanly and throws down the stumps on the bounce, across his body. Good fielding. Carey honoured the call because he had his back to the ball and was running to the safer end. Fair enough. Starc goes, a metre short.

Mitchell Starc is run out after a great piece of fielding by Patel. Photograph: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images103rd over: Australia 400-6 (Carey 13, Starc 4) There’s the 400 for Australia, with a couple of singles from Thakur’s bowling. More wickets needed urgently for India, it looks like there’s still enough in this surface to give Australia’s bowlers a chance.

102nd over: Australia 398-6 (Carey 12, Starc 3) The ball is still doing a bit! Umesh gets one to swerve through the air, beating the keeper down the leg side to the fence. Whoops. Starc drives a couple of runs through cover.

101st over: Australia 391-6 (Carey 11, Starc 1) Similar pattern, Carey steers a single second ball of the over and leaves the business end to Starc. The tall bowler opens his account with a run to midwicket nudged off his pad. Carey adds another. They draw Australia closer to 400.

100th over: Australia 388-6 (Carey 9, Starc 0) Happy to take a single is Carey, turned to midwicket. Starc leaves one, wafts at another. Umesh got Starc out in his reversing spell of 3 for 12 in the first innings at Indore a couple of months ago, a performance that kept India in the game for a while after having been bowled out for 109. Starc survives this time.

99th over: Australia 387-6 (Carey 8, Starc 0) With that wicket under his belt, Shardul Thakur is suddenly into his stride. Bowls a good tight line at the body of the left-handed Starc, a bit of movement through the air even when the length isn’t full. We’ve seen some fine spells from him over the past couple of years. Bowls a straightening line across Starc to follow that nearly draws a nick behind.

India have clawed back into the contest in this session, they can’t afford to let the lower order get Australia up around 450 though.

WICKET! Smith b Thakur 121, Australia 387 for 6That’s the one! The Oval erupts as Smith’s stumps light up. Shardul Thakur on for a trundle, and that must be close to the most harmless ball that has ever got Smith out. A warm-up ball, well outside the off stump, and for some reason Smith leaves his bat hanging out there, well away from his body. It takes the inside edge, and he doesn’t get the lucky runs that Carey enjoyed in the previous over. He just gets dismissed.

The bails fly as Steve Smith is bowled by Sharldul Thakur. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images98th over: Australia 387-5 (Smith 121, Carey 8) Streaky from Carey, chops a shot off the inside edge past his stumps for four. Umesh’s fruitless bowling innings continues.

97th over: Australia 382-5 (Smith 120, Carey 4) Off the mark with a boundary is Carey, opening the face and steering behind point. Shami is bowling around the wicket to him, two slips and a gully in place. Smashes him on the pad last ball of the over, going down the leg side I fancy. Control+C, Control+V, another big appeal from a backward-running Shami, and this time Rohit shapes to request the review… and doesn’t. Pulls his arms away from the T sign and walks straight to their drinks break huddle.

96th over: Australia 378-5 (Smith 120, Carey 0) Umesh Yadav on to bowl one over before drinks. Better than his start yesterday, it only yields a dashed single for Smith and a leg bye from Carey.

95th over: Australia 376-5 (Smith 119, Carey 0) Shami to the left-handed Carey, working in the channel outside off stump immediately. Smashed on the pad last ball of the over, but high, maybe some bat in there? Hard to tell, it bounced up towards point a long way.

WICKET! Green c Gill b Shami 6, Australia 376 for 5There’s one for India! Green looked good for a minute but he aims a hard-handed drive at a ball that’s not full enough for it. Looking to force that more than drive it, not fully forward. Shami gets enough from the pitch to take the edge and it flies to first slip, nearly taking Gill with it to the boundary. He manages to cling on while he falls.

94th over: Australia 368-4 (Smith 119, Green 6) Siraj will be frustrated. Draws an edge from Smith, but it’s thick and low, flying square through the finer part of the gully area for four. Siraj follows up by revisiting his early sins, full on the pads and Smith clips him for another boundary.

93rd over: Australia 368-4 (Smith 111, Green 6) So Travis Head’s career batting average is up to 47.62. The partnership was 285, which is 29th on Australia’s all-time partnership list.

92nd over: Australia 367-4 (Smith 110, Green 6) Cameron Green to the middle for his first hit in England, and he smokes his first ball for four! Width, enough to smash a square drive behind point. Then takes two more through square. Comfortable start. Another bouncer goes way over the batter’s head, again waved through by the umpire.

WICKET! Head c Bharat b Siraj 163, Australia 361-4There it is! Relief for India. Head isn’t really a bunker-down-and-go-again kind of player, so he keeps throwing the bat at everything. This time it’s a ball down the leg side as he’s stepping across to off. Middling length, about hip high. Gets a glove on it to the keeper.

Srikar Bharat with the ball in his mitt after catching out Travis Head.

Cricket – ICC World Test Championship Final – Australia v India – The Oval, London, Britain – June 8, 2023 India’s Mohammed Siraj celebrates after taking the wicket of Australia’s Travis Head Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs Photograph: Paul Childs/Action Images/Reuters91st over: Australia 361-3 (Smith 110, Head 163) Shami tries the short ball from the far end, and Head whacks that for four. Then another pull to fine leg for a single. Pitches up at the end of the over and Smith drives that through cover for four! Hasn’t played much on the off side in this innings but he gets the width there to open his hands.

90th over: Australia 351-3 (Smith 106, Head 158) Suddenly some life from Siraj! Gets his length right with the short ball, savagely rising at head who fends it away desperately and gets lucky as it lands safely behind point. Two balls later, he miscues a pull shot into the leg side, landing in a gap between a couple of fielders. The ball in between those two, though, he pulls for four. Classic Travis Head sequence there.

89th over: Australia 345-3 (Smith 105, Head 153) The first boundary of the day for Head, leaning back and placing his cut shot behind point from Shami. He gives a modest wave and nothing more for the applause greeting his 150 – quite right, Travis, it is a nonsense milestone. Get a double ton and salute that. He tries a similar shot next ball and gets one more run. Smith glances another.

88th over: Australia 338-3 (Smith 104, Head 148) Siraj works away, and after that early flurry Smith goes back into his defensive mode from yesterday. The only run is a wide from a high bouncer. India’s quicks really have not got the length on this pitch, most of the short balls yesterday went sailing over. And the umpires ignored most of those yesterday, but this one is called today.

87th over: Australia 338-3 (Smith 104, Head 148) Mohammed Shami on from the Vauxhall End, and hitting a decent length. Both players bat sensibly, with a couple of singles, until Head swishes at the last ball of the over and misses.

CENTURY! Steve Smith 103 from 229 balls86th over: Australia 336-3 (Smith 103, Head 147) Well that doesn’t take long! Travis Head rides the bounce of the first ball of the day, dropping it to the leg side for a run. Then Siraj bowls two offerings on the pads, and Smith flicks them both away through the leg side for four! He goes from 95 to 103 in the blink of an eye, and has no sooner started his day than he’s lifting his arms to the crowd in salute, kissing the badge and all that stuff, celebrating Test century #31 in his personal collection. That’s one every 3.12 matches across his career.

Steve Smith knocks a four to bring up his century. Photograph: Steven Paston/PAThe players are in the middle, we are ready to go.

Lovely day here at The Oval, the forecast was spot on so far. Not a cloud visible about quarter of an hour before play. Pleasant sunshine but not hot.

If you want to come down there might be seats available in the Pavilion. They only got around to releasing those publicly a few days ago, given the Surrey members hadn’t shown much interest. So it was largely empty in that one stand yesterday.

This being the ICC + cricket in England, those tickets are probably punishingly expensive if they are available. Let me know if you’ve been scoping it out, enquiring minds want to know.

Want to know about Travis Head reaching new heights before a lot of people have realised that he’s quite that good? I’ve got you covered.

Want a wider lens on the whole shebang, the meaning, the spectacle, the annoyed public servants? Andy Bull is your answer.

Want the details of yesterday? Have Simon Burnton’s match report.


Geoff Lemon

Gooood morning/morrow/gloaming/evensong, or whatever temporal variant applies to you. It is time for the World Test Championship final to enter its second phase, on a day that the Australians will be looking forward to rather more than what is probably a sore and irritable Indian team.

India were in the game yesterday after some fierce bowling at the start, but then Travis Head did the Travis Head trick, which is to make a million runs at a million miles an hour. He’s resuming on 156 not out, Steve Smith on 95 not out, and they could race up the list of Australian partnerships with 251 already between them.

Commentary statement of the obvious: India need all of the wickets in none of the time, and it’s supposed to be a sunny day in London with temperatures in the low 20s. That’s right: officially a Batting Day. Prepare yourself.

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