Indian captain Rohit Sharma credited the Australian batsmen, especially Travis Head, for playing the way they did in the first innings of the World Test Championship (WTC) final at Kennington Oval after losing 209 on the fifth day.

Sharma also felt that the Indian batsmen were not coping as well as they should have despite the wicket playing well for the most part.

India suffered their second consecutive defeat in a World Tennis Championship final, after losing to Australia by 210 runs. While India were erratic with the ball in the first innings, they also lacked runs despite having some more experienced players.

Speaking in the post-match presentation, Rohit Sharma felt Head’s counter-attack shook them, but praised his team for fighting back well and giving India a chance.

“I thought we started well by winning the toss, and putting them to bat in the conditions. We played well in the first session and then let ourselves down with the way he bowled. We have to give credit to the Australian batsmen. He played really well with Stephen Smith. We took that for a while A bit caught off guard. We knew it was always difficult to come back, but we put in a good show. We fought until the end,” he said.

Sharma noted that playing two finals is in itself a huge achievement and India deserves to hold its heads high.

“We’ve worked hard all those four years. Playing two finals is a good achievement for us honestly. But we want to go further too. You can’t take credit for what we’ve done in the last two years to come here. Great effort from the whole unit.”

“It’s a pity we couldn’t go on and win the final but we’ll keep our heads high and fight. (Crowd support) It’s been fantastic. They’re so late. I’d like to thank every single one of them. They cheered every run and every wicket,” he added.

Winning captain Pat Cummins drew praise for Head and Steve Smith for their huge 285-run partnership in a first innings that gave them 469. The 29-year-old admitted that Head’s ability to press back on his bowlers was remarkable.

“We made the most of him. We were definitely going to bowl. The way Travis and Smithy put that partnership together, it gave us relief after a rough morning. (Head) has been fantastic throughout this campaign, he started with the Ashes two years ago, he just put pressure on bowlers and suddenly you’re thinking how to contain runs instead of taking wickets.”

While Cummins conceded the surprising light on the third day and held back a comeback in the contest, he felt Australia had won the crucial moments.

“Day one left us feeling like we were at the top of the game,” he added. “When we counted, we played really well. We could really have led the game, we didn’t have our best days and left India closer behind. For most parts, we were in control. Boland – he’s my favorite player. He continues to be my favorite. He performed.” Everyone played their part really well. After the break, everyone started to play when it mattered. Everyone played really well and we’re going to enjoy this for a few days before we turn our attention to the Ashes.”

Australia made a few fielding lapses on the third day against India, allowing Ajinkia Rahan and Shardul Thakur to build a century stand. Despite this, they built up a first round lead of 173.

“That’s been the approach for two years” – Travis Head on playing tough against India

Travis Head.  (Image credits: Getty)
Travis Head. (Image credits: Getty)

Australia’s middle-order Travis Head was named man of the match for his impressive 163 in the first innings of the World Tennis Championship final against India. Head has special praise for Steve Smith and expects a massive Ashes streak from him.

Head, who has reached three figures in 106 balls, has stated that he always looked to be proactive despite the challenges thrown at him. Southpaw felt that the amount of attention getting Smith took the pressure off him.

Head said in the post-match show:

“A lot of hard work over two years. It was nice. That was the approach for two years (the positive approach with the bat). I said during the week I wanted to be proactive. I was tested throughout the innings. It was great to be there for a while with Smudge. A great week. An amazing test of him and what we expected (of him) here in England. I wish it had been two months into it. And I’ve always said it seems like all the plans go to him, all the attention he attracts, and I can just get on with my work. It’s good Spend some time with him.”

Southpaw revealed that Australia had a few turbulent moments heading into Day 5, but kept their self-belief in maneuvering through it.

I’ve always had confidence. It’s about going out and expressing it. It took me a while and everyone goes through that. I have always been open to change and open to learning. It has grown somewhat out of a scheme. You won’t always succeed. It’s nice to make it happen in such a big game and hopefully it will continue for the next couple of months. Lots of what if he went to bed last night. We’ve had moments like this in the two years we had to shake it off. We managed to do it again today.”

India were bowled out on the final day at 164-3, but Scott Boland got Virat Kohli in the seventh over on the day. They eventually collapsed for 234.

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