The World Test Championship final turned out to be wholly one-sided on the penultimate day as a ruthless Australian squad took advantage of India’s mainly self-produced batting implosion to become the second team after New Zealand to win the WTC mace. India was 164/3 as the day began, needing 444 runs, and they were counting on Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane to continue their successful relationship and create something extraordinary. But it turned out to be yet another letdown for India in a World Cup final as Australia wiped them out for 234 to win easily by 209 runs.
On the fifth morning, Kohli and Rahane got off to a good start and appeared to be largely trouble-free before a dramatic over from Boland propelled Australia’s march toward the WTC championship. Australia ultimately lost a review because Kohli played and mishandled one delivery outside of the box. However, Boland defeated Kohli with various grips as the former India captain chased a delivery outside off but edged it to the second slip, where Steve Smith made a superb grab. As India slid to 179/5, the spinner approached Ravindra Jadeja from behind the wicket and persuaded him to nick to the keeper.
With one outside off in the Boland over, KS Bharat would have also been out after being rescued when the ball sailed past the slip cordon for a four. Bharat had a tense start after being hit on the helmet by a Cummins delivery and was repeatedly knocked outside. However, he persisted and helped Rahane forge a relationship as India started a new attempt to take on the huge target.
As he played a few elegant drives past Mitchell Starc and a backfoot punch off Nathan Lyon, Rahane appeared to be picking up where he left off in the first innings. Rahane, like others of the hitters who came before him, lost his wicket while attempting to chase down a wide delivery from Starc. With a four-wicket haul, Nathan Lyon promptly dispatched India’s lower order to put an end to their suffering.
After being asked to bat, Travis Head’s counterattacking innings (163) and Steve Smith’s tenacious presence (121) enabled their team to recover from 76/3 to record 469, laying the groundwork for the victory. In their first innings, India’s top order faltered, but Rahane’s 89 and Shardul Thakur’s 51 got them to 296.
However, India needed to pull off a record chase to win the championship after Australia declared at 270/8 in the second essay. Unfortunately, India was unable to do so and the WTC title eluded them for the second time. Australia had a 173-run lead and was well in the lead. Boland and the other bowlers contributed to Australia’s triumph in addition to Smith and Head by bowling crucial blows. The best bowler for India was Mohammed Siraj, but the lack of sting in their attack was a significant factor in their second-place finish.