The match will be played at The Oval in London, starting June 7. While India may be a slight favorite to win their last Test series against the Australians, we should not forget that this was at home. Now they will meet their familiar opponent away from home on a neutral ground.
What will the conditions be like at the Oval? That could be anyone’s guess. But the team that can best adapt to the conditions and make the most of its opportunities will win.
Interestingly, Australia played the Oval in 1880, and it was the first ever test in England. But since then they have only managed to win seven of the 38 tests played at the Oval. So their success rate at that venue is a measly 18.42 percent.
Australia may not be the favorite, but they have a wealth of experience with a team led by Pat Cummins that includes a lethal attack and one of the best batsmen in the world, Steve Smith. Their attack, led by Cummins, includes Mitchell Stark, Scott Boland, Nathan Lyon, who are all capable of taking wickets.
Lessons from 2015
David Warner, Smith, Stark and Lyon know what it takes to win on this ground – after all, they were part of the team that beat England in 2015 by 46 innings and 46 runs. So all Australia has to do is remember the lessons they learned from their visit eight years ago and what they learned from this year’s bitter subcontinent defeat.
Warner is one of the most devastating batsmen in the world, and he will look to spark Australia off to a good start if they choose to play first. With an average first innings score of 343 (dropping to 156 in the fourth), and the teams winning the toss winning 38 games compared to the 29 games bowled first, it should come as no surprise if the Kangaroos prefer to bat first if Cummins wins the toss.
In 2015, Warner played an excellent 85-strike knockdown and, along with Chris Rogers, created a solid opening stand. Smith led the visitors with 143 points in the 11th test. Stark then struck several times in a quick fifty-point series, allowing the team to surpass the 450-point mark and reach a solid 481-point total. Thus, Australia found itself in the middle of the action, gaining an advantage in first serve and not missingThe game was over.
Countering Swing and Seam on English Shores
In a talk on SEN cricket, Australian batter Marcus Harris talked about what can help Australians counter the threat of swing and movement early in the game. Biding time in the middle and playing patiently are paramount to success. There will always be Duke ball swing and seam movement in England.
As the opening batter, you need to play the ball late. When I first played cricket at County, I kept bouncing the ball back on the stump because I was playing too far in front of my body. So little things like that need to be corrected.
Another aspect is to defend directly and score square. Give yourself a little more time to assess the conditions. All you have to do is get in the game, and then England is a great place to bat, Harris explained.
Australia has Smith and players like Marnus Labuschagne, Travis Head and Cameron Green in the final, who add a whole other dimension. They are all capable of winning a match on their day and are technically competent hitters, but sometimes their spin fails them.
Don’t be intimidated by spin
The last time Australia played against India in a red ball format was during the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2023 on the subcontinent earlier this year. During the loss, the Indians were getting reports that the Australian players were actually scared of spin and rebounding. Andrew McDonald, the team’s head coach, told Cricket Australia at the time that his team had to stay true to its plan even when things didn’t go according to plan and slow down in situations where wickets fell in a hurry.
MacDonald in that conversation mentioned the Delhi Test where Australia suffered a dramatic collapse when Ravindra Jadeja and R. Ashwin went on a rampage.
I think that’s what we probably learned about ourselves: Don’t turn around when you don’t need to, MacDonald told SEN radio. We felt like we were rushed in that game (against Delhi) and it happened too fast. In the next Test match (at Indore), we tried to take our time and make sure that Jadeja and Ashwin didn’t rush us.
Australian assistant coach Daniel Vettori shared his thoughts and said: The stress points are related to the loss of wickets. That’s where there can be a withdrawal, and you feel like it’s just you against eleven other guys.So this is an aspect that Australian batters should keep in their subconscious.
Choosing a third baseman
Since Josh Hazelwood is deemed ineligible, the key aspect will be choosing a third baseman to partner Stark and Cummins. On paper, Boland seems the most likely replacement in the starting lineup for the Finals. The 34-year-old, who has 28 wickets in seven Tests, has yet to play in English conditions and was left without a wicket in his only five-day match against India in Nagpur. But according to former Australia captain Ricky Ponting, Boland would be the perfect pacer to replace Hazelwood in place of Michael Neser, who has been included in the team as another fast bowling option.
Referring to Boland’s results over the past year, Ponting explained: Boland’s record over the past 12 months has been absolutely outstanding. He really, potentially, could have excelled in these English conditions. We saw what he was able to do in Australia when he got a little help from the wicket and the ball. So I think he will be ahead of Neser, Ponting told The ICC Review.
Australia projected XI: Ousman Khawaja, David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey, Mitchell Stark, Pat Cummins (k), Nathan Lyon, Scott Boland.