After dominating Day 1, Australia again finished the following day on top in the ongoing ICC World Test Championship final against India at The Oval on Thursday, June 8. Travis Head and Steve Smith resumed Day 2 and the latter took only two deliveries to record his 31st Test hundred. Head also took no time to bring his maiden away 150 but as expected the pitch provided much-needed help for the pacers with a new ball.
Mohammed Siraj gave India an opening with Head's wicket, which was enough for Indian bowlers to make a comeback. Shardul Thakur bowled out Smith and Siraj picked two more wickets to bowl out Australia's first innings on 469.
Indian openers started with an attacking approach by adding 30 runs in the first five overs. But they were not able to make anything out of it as Australian bowlers delivered five wickets to win Day 2's battle as well. India still trail by 318 runs with Ajinkya Rahane and KS Bharat in the middle with Shardul Thakur next to come.
IND vs AUS, WTC Final Day 2, Talking Points
Steve Smith's century
Travis Head's 163 off just 174 was clearly overshadowed by Steve Smith's 121* off 174 on Day 2. Smith broke some significant records during his knock to steal the limelight again. He surpassed the likes of Virat Kohli and Ricky Ponting to record the second-highest nine hundreds in India-Australia Tests. Smith also joined Joe Root to register the most Test centuries against India as he also completed 2000 runs against India in the longest format of the game.
Mohammed Siraj's four wickets
After giving India an opening with Usman Khawaja's wicket on Day 1, Siraj dismissed Travis Head to give his breakthrough on Day 2. He consistently fired bouncers and used the conditions well to get an extra bounce as well. Siraj took two more wickets to finish Australia's first innings. His 4/108 figures are now among his top five spells in red-ball cricket, all coming in away conditions.
Indian top-order collapse
Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill gave India a sensational start but it lasted only for five overs. There was clear that the Indian team lacked preparation for red-ball cricket after spending the last two and half months in IPL 2023. Kohli seemed in good rhythm as he faced the most balls, 31, among the top-four batters but his hesitation to skip Mitchell Starc's bouncer cost him his wicket.
India's top-order scores of 15, 13, 14, and 14 were embarrassing compared to Australia's top-four's scores in the same conditions. The returning Ajinkya Rahane and Ravindra Jadeja seemed like a bail-out package for India but Nathan Lyon dismissed the latter in the last five overs of Day 2 to dealt a big blow on India