mid-day.com takes a look at five players who made crucial contributions in the final
Steve Smith (left) and Travis Head during their 285-run stand at The Oval recently. PIC/GETTY IMAGES
Travis Head (163 & 18)
TRAVIS Head was unimpressive with the bat in the last series on English soil in 2019, scoring 191 runs in four Tests, including just one half-century. The Aussie middle-order batsman, however, was at his absolute best against India on the opening day, smashing 163 runs off just 174 balls at an impressive strike-rate of 93.67. He shared a 285-run stand with Steve Smith to bring Australia back into the match after being reduced to 76-3 in the post-lunch session on Day One. Head's knock was also the second-highest score by an Australian on a neutral venue after Warren Bardsley (164 v South Africa) at Lord's in 1912.
Steve Smith (121 & 34)
Smith was not at his best during the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series against India earlier this year, scoring just 145 runs in four matches at an average of 29.00. But the Aussie vice-captain rose to the occasion, scoring a patient 121 off 268 balls in the first innings to help Australia post a mammoth 469 all out after losing three wickets with 76 runs on the board. The right-handed batsman scored 34 in the second innings.
Ajinkya Rahane (89 & 46)
MIDDLE-order batsman Ajinkya Rahane made a strong comeback to Test cricket, scoring 89 in the first innings to help India post a respectable 296 all out after being in a dire straits at 71-4. Rahane, who last played a Test match in January 2022, was a surprise inclusion in the WTC squad and the Mumbaikar didn't disappoint. His 129-ball knock was laced with 11 fours and one six. The right-handed batsman put on a 86-run stand with Virat Kohli in the second innings for India to have any hope of a miraculous victory.
Mohammed Siraj (4-108 & 1-80)
RIGHT-arm pacer Mohammed Siraj claimed four wickets in the first innings to bring India back into the game on Day Two. He provided India with an early breakthrough by dismissing Aussie opener Usman Khawaja for a duck on the opening day. He accounted for centurion Travis Head, skipper Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon as Australia collapsed from 361-3 to 469 all out on the second day.
Ravindra Jadeja (1-56; 48 & 3-58; 0)
RAVINDRA Jadeja lived up to the expectation of the World No. 1 all-rounder with a decent show with the bat and ball. The left-handed batsman scored 48 in the first innings to bail India out of trouble. He was, however, dismissed for a duck in the second innings. Jadeja was impressive with the ball too, claiming 1-56 and 3-58 in the first and second innings respectively.