Australia hails Test title as one of the greats

Pat Cummins has hailed Australia’s World Test Championship triumph as one of their greatest achievements, after Scott Boland inspired them to victory over India.

Jun 12, 2023, updated Jun 12, 2023
The Australian team celebrate after the ICC World Test Championship Final at The Oval cricket ground in London. Photo: AP/Kirsty Wigglesworth

The Australian team celebrate after the ICC World Test Championship Final at The Oval cricket ground in London. Photo: AP/Kirsty Wigglesworth

Australia completed a dominant 209-run victory in the final at The Oval on Sunday, claiming seven wickets on the final morning to kill off any chance of an Indian miracle.

Pursuing 444 for victory, India were all out for 234 shortly before lunch on day five after Boland landed the key double blow early in the morning to take the air out of the chase.

The triumph makes Australia the first team to have won world titles in all three formats of the game, with Cummins, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc and David Warner completing their own triple crowns.

Asked if it was the biggest of their achievements, Cummins said: “They all feel a little bit different.

“Test matches for us are our favourite format, our biggest challenge in every way – and this competition, pitting us against everyone in the world, it’s got to be right up there.

“It’s probably like to trying to pick your favourite kids … but, yeah, it’s satisfying.”

After Boland broke India’s back with his fourth-innings 3-46, Mitchell Starc (2-77) claimed the scalps of Ajinkya Rahane and Umesh Yadav to silence his critics ahead of the Ashes.

Nathan Lyon (4-41) also removed Shardul Thakur and KS Bharat, before having Mohammed Siraj caught reverse sweeping to seal the victory.

Australia had put an emphasis on winning the Test Championship for the past two years, after missing out on the inaugural final in 2021 after an over-rates penalty.

“To make it to the final you’ve got to win everywhere in the world,” Cummins said.

“This cycle was 20 Test matches. We only lost three out of the 20, the boys were fantastic the whole way through.

“We adapted well and that’s what makes it so satisfying.”

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Beyond the win, Boland’s breakthroughs ram home the argument Australia cannot leave him out of their side for the first Test at Edgbaston starting Friday.

The Victorian is yet to be picked for Australia when all of Starc, Cummins and the fit-again Josh Hazlewood are available, but his match figures of 5-105 will strengthen his cause.

In turn, his spell on Sunday also damned India’s hopes.

When Australia threw away a review in desperation to remove Kohli with the score at 3-179, there were immediate flashbacks to the 2019 capitulation at Headingley.

But the match swung violently back in Australia’s favour two balls later, when the Indian star edged Boland to the vacant third-slip region.

Flying to his right at second slip, Smith took the catch with both feet in the air to remove Kohli for 49 and silence thousands of Indian fans in the big last-day crowd.

Boland then had Jadeja two balls later, drawing the edge when he came around the wicket to left-hander and had him pushing outside off stump.

The wickets kick-started a collapse of 7-55 as India folded quickly amid an array of poor shots in their second straight loss in a Test decider.

Australia will view the win as near perfect preparation for the Ashes.

While questions linger over Warner and Usman Khawaja’s form at the top of the order, Smith and Travis Head set up the win with first-innings centuries.

Marnus Labuschagne, Cameron Green and Alex Carey all spent good time in the middle, with Carey’s unbeaten 66 allowing Australia to declare at 8-280 in the second innings and set up the chase.

The bowlers were also able to take 20 wickets with the Dukes ball, leaving selectors with far more positive headaches than negatives.


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