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Twitter reactions to day 1 of WTC Final – Smith, Head dominate Ashwin-less India



Last Updated on 12 months by Charbel Coorey

Cricket News: Twitter reactions to day 1 of WTC Final – Smith, Head dominate Ashwin-less India | WTC Final 2023 Day 1 reactions

The game that everyone had been waiting for, the ICC World Test Championship 2021-23 Final, begun on Wednesday, June 7. But, it was one-sided. After a fantastic day for Australia, they will begin day two on a comfortable 327-3, courtesy of an unbeaten 251-run partnership between Travis Head and Steve Smith.

Here are three of the major talking points from Day 1 of the WTC Final, and how fans on Twitter reacted to them.

WTC Final 2023 Day 1 reactions: Ashwin left out, Australia dominate

Number 1 ICC Test Bowler, Ravichandran Ashwin, left out for Shardul Thakur and Umesh Yadav

In the buildup, India’s possible playing XI sparked a lot of debate. A number of fans and experts had contrasting views regarding whether R Ashwin should play or whether India will opt for four seamers.

The suspense came to an end at the toss where Rohit Sharma announced that Ashwin, the top-ranked Test bowler, had been left out.

Cricket News: Twitter reactions to day 1 of WTC Final - Smith, Head dominate Ashwin-less India | WTC Final 2023 Day 1 reactions
Twitter reactions to day 1 of WTC Final – Decision to leave Ashwin out brought about lots of criticism.

At the toss, Pat Cummins said that he expects to see a bit of spin in the last two days of the Test. If that happens, India would feel they made a blunder by leaving their premier spinner out. However, regardless of how the pitch behaves on the last two days, the off-spinner’s absence could be felt on the first day itself.

Shardul Thakur and Umesh Yadav managed to take just the combined one wicket across 32 overs, conceding over four per over. Both looked underdone. Against a team with plenty of left-handers, Ashwin, who averages 19 against lefties in Tests, could certainly have made an impact. If not by wickets, then by control at the very least.

Also, Ricky Ponting on air said the pitch beneath the grass looked dry. He criticised the decision to leave Ashwin out, saying it seemed as if India had picked a bowling line up for the first innings only. Indian legend Sunil Gavaskar also disapproved of the decision, saying that some players simply cannot be dropped, irrespective of the pitch and conditions.

David Warner showing his experience with a gritty knock in a big game

Conditions were overcast and the pitch was doing quite a bit in the first session. Mohammed Siraj and Mohammed Shami were on song, so much so that it took David Warner 12 balls to get off the mark.

Australia lost Usman Khawaja early after he outside edged a lovely wobble seam delivery from Siraj. However, the experienced David Warner took responsibility from there onwards. Although he missed, edged, and was beaten throughout, he did not let India get another wicket in quick succession.

He capitalised on the loose deliveries on offer by Umesh Yadav, and smacked four boundaries in one of his overs. Some pulls, drives and edges later, he was caught behind off a loose Thakur delivery down the legside. Nevertheless, his 43 at a healthy strike rate of more than 70 laid the platform for the batters to follow.

Travis Head and Steven Smith put on a scintillating, unbeaten partnership of 251*

India took a wicket either side of lunch, putting them on the driver’s seat. Travis Head, who walked in at 76-3, was having none of it. In the era of Bazball, he gave us glimpses of “TravBall.”

Travis Head did justice to his reputation of being Australia’s most aggressive batsman. Before the start of the final, Head had scored over 1,200 Test runs at an average of over 52 since the beginning of 2021. He struck at about 81 during this period.

On Wednesday, he might have come out to bat during a tricky phase, but his intent and approach remained the same.

Cricket News: Twitter reactions to day 1 of WTC Final - Smith, Head dominate Ashwin-less India | WTC Final 2023 Day 1 reactions
Twitter reactions to day 1 of WTC Final – Steve Smith & Travis Head were superb.

In the first 16 balls that he faced, he hit six boundaries. Australia, from 76-3, reached 113-3 in a matter of just 41 deliveries. Head gave them the momentum shift that they needed.

Australia’s number five continued to put the bad balls away, getting to a fifty in 60 deliveries and then to a well-deserved ton off just 106 deliveries. From cracking drives for fours to a cheeky cut over third man for six, the left-handed batter had it all covered in what has been an exhibition of counterattacking under pressure.

Amid all the carnage from Head who finished on 146*, Steve Smith’s brilliant knock playing the anchor role might have gone unnoticed. While Head played the aggressor, Smith held one end quite brilliantly. It took Smith 144 deliveries to get to his fifty, but then became more confident to end the day on 95*, causing the kind of hurt to India that he did in the mid-2010s.

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