A much-awaited World Test Championship Final (WTC) kicked off at The Oval on Wednesday, June 7 with Australia coming out on top of India at the end on Day 1. Despite winning the toss, the Rohit Sharma-led team was pushed on the backfoot by Travis Head and Steve Smith with the duo adding 251* runs for the fifth wicket to help Australia score 327/3 in 85 overs.
Head, smashed his first-ever away Test hundred to tear apart the Indian pace attack in London. The left-handed batter is batting on 146* off 156 and his strike rate of 93.58 boosted him to the top of the chart for the highest strike rate in the WTC cycle 2021-2023. Head has now recorded 1354 runs in 18* matches in WTC Cycle 2021-2023 at an average of 58.86 and a strike rate of 81.91 so far.
He now maintains the highest striker rate in WTC Cycle 2021-2023 as he surpassed the star Indian batter Rishabh Pant, who has scored 868 runs at a strike rate of 80.81. Indian wicketkeeper batter is missing the WTC Final due to an injury he suffered in a car accident in December 2022. After the match, Head revealed that the pitch remains challenging for the batters and it will be tough to bat on Day 2.
"If you get it in the right area there's plenty there," Head said. "As the game goes on, hopefully, it gets a little quicker for us and we can find the right lengths, and I feel if you do that for long periods of time it can be a challenging wicket.
"That good length at the top of the stumps was hard work. And as we [saw] when they went to that short-pitched plan it wasn't the most consistent wicket, and the Dukes swings a little so it made for some awkward moments."
Head's 146* also helped him surpass England's Jonny Bairstow in the WTC Cycle 2021-2023 runs chart as he entered the top-five list for the first time. England Joe Root comfortably leads the chart with 1915 runs while Head's teammate Usman Khawaja, who was dismissed on a duck on Day 1, is second in the list with 1608 runs.