Australia’s Travis Head scored a century against India a week before the Ashes
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Much of the pre-Ashes discussions have been focused around ways to get past Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne, but on day one of the World Test Championship final against India, Travis Head showed everyone there is more to Australia’s batting.
Despite occasionally looking uncomfortable against India’s strong attack, Head raced to his half-century, as Australia reached 327-3 at the close of play on day one at The Oval.
His century came after tea from 106 deliveries. Head struck one six and 14 boundaries as he manipulated the field, successfully finding the gaps, and left India toiling to try and break his partnership with Smith.
Smith’s innings was more typical, and distinctly less thrilling, but with equal class, as he finished the day unbeaten on 95. There was no hint of the ‘Bazball’ style of play that has epitomised England over the last 12 months with his own half century coming from a well-watched 144 deliveries.
Head already has Ashes centuries to his name, at the Gabba, when he came in to hit 152 from 148, and at Hobart with a 112-ball century. That capped off a series that many England fans will have spent the last year and a half desperately trying to put out of their minds, Head was named man of the series, despite missing one Test with Covid.
Head has played in England before, without any great success, averaging just 27 in 2019, but his recent form suggests he will be a key wicket in the coming Ashes series.
The match itself has been dubbed by the ICC as ‘the ultimate Test’, but its slightly awkward position in the schedule just a week before the Ashes, makes for a slightly anti-climactic affair.
The crowd itself was entertaining, the drums were beating throughout the day’s play with the majority of the fans donning India colours and cheering any hint of a breakthrough.
The day started with a bit more enthusiasm. An overcast sky and a Dukes ball is always going to make for an exciting contest, especially when Usman Khawaja was out for a duck.
David Warner and Labuschagne were the other wickets to fall, but since the first interval, it has all gone Australia’s way, and worryingly for England, looked far too easy for them.
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