WTC Final preview: India ahead as Aussie miss Hazlewood in ultimate clash

The Australian team would miss not having Josh Hazlewood in their side in a game that would be more about testing the patience of the Indian batters

Team India practices ahead of the WTC Final in London. Photo: BCCI

Team India practices ahead of the WTC Final in London. Photo: BCCI

Abhishek Singh New Delhi

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The World Test Championship, the build-up for which has been on ever since the end of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023, is finally here. The ultimate Test for which all the teams fought for two years will begin on June 7, 2023, as India and Australia will fight it out at the Kennington Oval in London. 

India have been at this level two years ago in Southampton where rain played a tiny role in helping the New Zealand pacers get the better of the Indian batters. Eventually, the Indians lost and New Zealand had their hands on an ICC trophy for the first time ever. This time though, the Indian team, led by Rohit Sharma would be looking to go one step ahead and try and win the match. But the task is tougher. 

Australia, which missed out on a final berth last time due to penalty points, made sure that they reached the final of the second edition in a dominating fashion. But right at the main juncture, they would be missing out on one of their key players- Josh Hazlweood in conditions that suit his style of bowling more than any other pacer. 

India have no such qualms as they are playing with the best possible playing 11. Jasprit Burmah, who might have made a huge difference, wouldn’t really be missed as he was not part of most of Rohit’s WTC campaign anyways. The absence of Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer might prove to be the difference. Srikar Bharat and Ajinkya Rahane would replace them. 

WTC Final, AUS vs IND Toss

The toss between Australian captain Pat Cummins and his Indian counterpart Rohit Sharma would take place at 02:30 pm IST at the Kennington Oval in London. This is also the same venue where the first-ever official Test was played in England between England and Australia.

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WTC Final, London Weather Forecast 

The weather at the Kennington Oval is forecast to be clear with no chances of rain at least for the first day of the WTC Final. The temperature would remain between 17 and 21 degrees Celsius between 10 am to 07 pm Local Time. This is ideal for a Test match. The wind gusts are usual too and with no clouds to help, the toss-winning captain would go for the bat-first approach. 

WTC Final Kennington Oval pitch report 

The Oval is one ground that favours the batters more than bowlers in England. With the weather also not being gloomy, it will definitely play like a true wicket which will start favouring the spinners on days four and five. In the last decade, teams batting first have won most of the matches. 

India playing combination 

The Indian team would look to go in with five proper batters, a wicket-keeper, an all-rounder and four proper bowlers. However, with Ishan Kishan in the mix, they could afford to play five proper bowlers and play with only five batters. 

Thus, Ravichandran Ashwin becomes a key entrant in the playing 11 in that scenario. Now, it could only be cleared at the toss whether it is Ashwin and Ishan whi get a go-ahead or the orthodox approach of having only Bharat and going with four pacers is recommended. 

India predicted playing 11

Rohit Sharma (capt), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja, KS Bharat/Ishan Kishan (wk), R Ashwin/Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj

Australia playing combination 

The Australian playing is as clear as crystal. They were going to go with Hazlewood at first and now that he is injured, Scot Boland will get a go-ahead. The remaining team remains the usual that has played most of the Tests in this cycle of the WTC. 

Australia predicted playing 11

David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (wk), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins (c)Scott Boland, Nathan Lyon

WTC Final Broadcast and Live Stream

The WTC Final between Australia and India will be broadcast live on the Star Sports network on television sets in India. The match can also be live-streamed on Disney Plus Hotstar as well. 

First Published: Jun 7 2023 | 11:48 AM IST

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