The ICC World Test Championship (WTC) 2023 Final has been a thrilling event, showcasing the best of cricket and keeping fans on the edge of their seats. As we head into the final day at The Oval, let’s look at the top cricketers who could be in contention for the prestigious Aramco Player of the Match award.
Travis Head: A Fearless Approach
163 and 18
Travis Head’s aggressive batting approach on day one of the WTC 2023 Final was truly a game-changer for Australia. With the team in a tricky spot at 76/3, Head decided to take matters into his own hands, launching a counter-attack against the Indian bowlers.
His fearless batting, which included reaching 30 runs in just 22 balls, put pressure back on India’s bowlers and helped him forge a crucial partnership with Steve Smith. Head went on to score a stunning 146* on the first day and added 14 more on day two, helping Australia post a formidable first innings total of 469.
Steve Smith: The Perfect Partner
121 and 34
While Travis Head grabbed the headlines with his aggressive batting, Steve Smith played a crucial supporting role at the other end. Smith showcased his unique ability to score runs consistently in English conditions, scoring 121 in the first innings and contributing 34 in the second.
Smith’s calming presence at the crease allowed Head to take the attack to the Indian bowlers, and his own calculated aggression paid dividends as he notched up his 31st Test century on day two.
Alex Carey: Dependable with the Bat and Gloves
48 and 66, three catches*
Alex Carey’s contributions with both the bat and gloves have been invaluable for Australia in the WTC 2023 Final. His late-order runs, including a knock of 48 in the first innings and an unbeaten 66 in the second, have helped Australia build solid totals.
Carey’s glove work has also been exceptional, as he successfully dealt with the tricky red ball conditions in the UK, taking three catches in the process.
Mohammed Siraj: The Tireless Workhorse
Despite conceding 469 runs in the first innings, Mohammed Siraj’s relentless effort and four-wicket haul kept India’s hopes alive in the WTC 2023 Final. His consistent pace and probing lines troubled the Australian batting line-up, particularly top-ranked Test batsman Marnus Labuschagne.
Siraj’s energy was unwavering, even in the latter stages of the first innings and into the second, where he took the crucial wicket of David Warner early on.
Ajinkya Rahane: Rising to the Occasion
*89 and 20 **
Ajinkya Rahane has displayed immense character and composure in the WTC 2023 Final. Coming into India’s squad at the last minute, Rahane found himself in a similar situation to Australia’s Travis Head, walking out to bat with the team in trouble at 50/3.
Rahane’s counter-attack, which featured 11 fours and a six, saw him score a crucial 89 runs, only to be denied a century by a spectacular Cameron Green catch. With India needing 280 runs on the final day, Rahane’s performance could be the key to a memorable Test victory.
Virat Kohli: The Chase Master
14 and 44*
India’s hopes of pulling off a remarkable win in the WTC 2023 Final will likely rest on the shoulders of captain Virat Kohli. Although he managed only 14 runs in the first innings, his second innings performance has put India in a position to challenge for victory.
Kohli’s 44* from 60 balls, featuring seven boundaries, will need to be converted into a match-winning century if India are to complete a stunning triumph. With a history of thriving under pressure, Kohli could be the key to India’s success on the final day.
Pat Cummins: Leading from the Front
3/83 and 1/42
Australian captain Pat Cummins has played a significant role in the WTC 2023 Final, taking crucial wickets and leading his team with distinction. His three-wicket haul in the first innings and the important dismissal of Cheteshwar Pujara in India’s second innings have kept Australia in the hunt for victory.
A decisive performance from Cummins on the final day could not only secure the Test win for Australia but also strengthen his case for the Aramco Player of the Match award.
The WTC 2023 Final has been a thrilling contest, with numerous outstanding performances from both sides. As the final day approaches, the Aramco Player of the Match award is still up for grabs, with several top cricketers in contention. No matter the outcome, the WTC 2023 Final has been a testament to the spirit and skill of Test cricket, providing fans with a memorable spectacle.