WTC Final: Day 2 Talking Points – Seamers hand Australia further advantage

Australia batters resumed Day 2 at 327/3, and the very first over saw Steven Smith getting his century. Smith, who closed the previous day on 95*, notched up two consecutive fours to get to his ton, and Travis Head, who had already got his ton on the first day, went past the 150-run mark. Collective efforts from the batters and brilliance by the Australian bowlers in the second innings kept India struggling at 151/5 on stumps.

After the heroics of Smith and Travis, the Indian bowlers finally managed to get the breakthroughs. They troubled the Australian middle-order, but centuries by the duo followed by Alex Carey’s 69-ball 48 helped Australia breach the 400-run mark and finish their innings at 469/10. As for India, Mohammed Siraj was the pick of the bowlers as he registered figures of 4/108 in 28.3 overs. Shardul Thakur and Mohammed Shami picked up two wickets apiece while Ravindra Jadeja finished with one.

India’s start to their innings was horrendous. Skipper Rohit Sharma was dismissed cheaply by his Australian counterpart Pat Cummins in just the sixth over. Top-order batters looked to revive the innings, but could not tackle Australia’s bowling attack. India’s batting unit came falling down as Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, and Virat Kohli failed to make an impact. Jadeja and Ajinkya Rahane’s partnership kept India’s scoreboard ticking, but eventually, Australia finished on a high.

Talking Points from Day 2

1. Steve Smith’s record century

Steve Smith notched up his 31st Test century, thereby surpassing Matthew Hayden to become the third batter in the list of Australians with the most Test centuries. The senior pro got to the three-figure mark after hitting Siraj for two consecutive fours off the very first over of the day. Smith also equaled Joe Root’s record and now has the joint-most Test centuries against India.

2. Mohammed Siraj’s four-wicket haul

Siraj was phenomenal as he picked up the crucial wickets towards the end to put curtains on the Australian innings. Siraj dismissed Usman Khawaja on Day 1 to draw the first blood and then dismissed Travis Head, Pat Cummins, and Nathan Lyon on Day 2 to register 4/108.

3. Indian top-order batters’ indecisiveness costs the team

The Indian top order crumbled against the Australian bowling attack. After Rohit Sharma’s dismissal off the sixth over, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, and Virat Kohli’s wickets followed soon. India were left reeling at 71/4 before a crucial partnership between the middle-order batters gave the side some hope.

4. Ajinkya Rahane and Ravindra Jadeja’s partnership

After losing four crucial wickets in the game, Rahane and Jadeja stitched up an essential partnership for the fifth wicket. The duo showcased resilience and added 71 runs off 100 deliveries before Nathan Lyon got the better of Jadeja. The all-rounder finished scoring 48(51).