The World Test Championship final might favor Australia, posits Ian Chappell.

The highly anticipated World Test Championship final features two strong rivals, India and Australia, at the Oval next month. However, injury concerns and lack of testing by either team since the end of a hard-fought series earlier this year make predicting the outcome of the game difficult. Many of the players involved only appeared in the IPL prior to their one-off Test, which may not be ideal preparation, but former England batsman Ravi Bopara believes that T20 can give hitters a leg up and make them feel positive going into the five-day format.

If Australia’s Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood are fit and available, they could be favorites due to their experience and success. India’s pace attack, which includes Mohamed Shami, Mohammed Siraj and Umesh Yadav, is also strong, but they fall just short of the Australian trio in wicket-taking ability. Mental strength will play a significant role in this test, and the team that shows the most resilience has a better chance of winning.

Injuries to key players Jasprit Bumrah and Rishab Pant have a negative impact on India. If these two play, they will be favorites to win. Australia relies heavily on the scoring prowess of Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, and Usman Khawaja, but the enigmatic David Warner is also a must-see.

India has an edge in spin bowling thanks to top-six hitter Ravindra Jadeja and talented R Ashwin. Nathan Lyon will be Australia’s only spinner, and all-rounder Cameron Green’s sheer pace suits the English conditions well. Despite the slightly favored Australian pace attack, IPL preparation should never be underestimated, as Bopara has shown.

The performance of hitters against the pacing attacks of talented opponents will be crucial. Australia will have to keep an eye on Shubman Gill, who tends to play fearlessly and has a stroke-making mentality. Meanwhile, India’s Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, and Cheteshwar Pujara are a handful due to their success in Test cricket. A selection dilemma for India will be Ajinkya Rahane, who is likely to play and help slip into the spinner as arguably the best catcher in India at this position.

In conclusion, the absence of India’s key players could potentially hinder their chances of success. Mental strength and resilience will play an important role in determining the outcome of the game, and the performance of hitters and the bowling attack will be crucial. The slightly favored Australian pace attack may have an edge, but IPL preparation should not be underestimated.

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