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The ICC WTC Title — The Chips Are Down For India

The chips are down for India in the ICC WTC final against Australia at `The Oval’ in London. After six sessions, Australia has its foot at the door to win the Test championship for the first time. The same venue had delivered a famous first away victory for India in England in 1971 when the Ajit Wadekar-led Indian team outwitted the home team led by the shrewd Ray Illingworth. Then, Wadekar deployed the likes of the cunning left-arm spinner Bishen Singh Bedi, the accurate S Venkataraghavan and the sleight of hand of right-arm leg-spinner Bhagwat Chandrasekhar to bring down England. Some 52 years later, India opted for a pace-centric attack ignoring the claims of off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin (132 wickets in two ICC WTC cycles).  With the impending defeat — with three days of play remaining — the former Australian captain Ricky Ponting and opener Mathew Hayden, have pointed out a significant flaw in the Indian team selection that one cannot pick a bowling attack for the first day’s play. Having opted for Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav and Shardul Thakur, Sharma had no option but to field upon winning the toss. The pacers had a rewarding outing on the second day, dismissing seven Australians for 142, but by then, the horse had already bolted – Australia had made 327 for three on Day 1, thereby ending the probability of a real showdown.