London, June 12: Australia's top-order batter Marnus Labuschagne said being a member of the side winning the World Test Championship final is one of the highlights of his career so far. Australia won the 2023 World Test Championship after beating India by 209 runs in the finale clash at The Oval on Sunday. "We're all stoked. If you ask any player in the dressing room what their favourite format is, Test Cricket will always be the answer. There's no other game like it. It's five days on the rollercoaster of emotional highs and lows, absorbing pressure and capitalising on big moments." Scott Boland Will Definitely Play in the First Ashes Test at Edgbaston, Says Aaron Finch.
"To be able to come to The Oval against a really talented Indian team and get a win like this is something I'm really proud of and one of the highlights of my career so far. In the cricket world we now live in of short, six week T20 tournaments and franchise cricket, to have the World Test Championship which spans over 2 years is a really important part of our game< wrote Labuschagne in his newsletter on Monday.
Australia were in a spot of bother at 76/3 on day one's play, before player of the match Travis Head (163) combined forces with Steve Smith (121) for a 285-run stand that swung the momentum in favour of the team in first innings. Reflecting on that partnership, Labuschagne said, "I think it was a really great team win. Travis and Steve obviously took charge on day one and set the game up for us. To lose the toss and then go on to put on 450+ on a difficult wicket is a huge credit to the way they played. They both batted beautifully and put a lot of pressure back on the bowlers with their intent and rate at which they scored."
He also showered praise on seamer Scott Boland, who played a key role in Australia bowling out India for 234 on day five at The Oval, taking Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja out in quick succession to set the base for the win.
"Scotty obviously bowled incredibly well. He's one of the most accurate, consistent bowlers I've ever seen. Ball after ball, he hits the right line and length and gives you nothing as a batter. It creates a lot of pressure and forces batters to play at balls they'd normally leave, in an effort to get off strike and get the scoreboard moving." WTC 2023 Final: 'Left Day 1 At the Top of the Game Due to Travis Head, Steve Smith' Says Pat Cummins After Australia's Title Victory.
"That's exactly what happened with Virat in the second innings. Scott was hitting a very tight channel for a few overs, and then had the skill to push that delivery a few inches wider than the previous deliveries and got the edge. It's fantastic to watch," he added.
Labuschagne also said wicketkeeper-batter Alex Carey was the standout player for him from the WTC final, with his 66 not out being the key for setting a target of 444 for India. "The other standout for me was Alex Carey. He kept like a genius all game and played two very important innings for us, especially in the second innings with Starc where they added 90 odd runs to the score."
"Mentally, the difference between chasing 450 and 360 is huge, and it created an extra level of pressure that ultimately helped to get those fourth innings wickets."
There was a moment of laughter in the match when Labuschagne was risen from his nap after David Warner was dismissed by Mohammed Siraj in the second innings. Talking about that funny moment, Labuschagne set the record straight by saying he was in fact awake and just keeping calm before waiting for his turn to bat. WTC 2023 Final: 'Let Ourselves Down A Little Bit With How We Bowled' Admits Rohit Sharma.
"I've actually written in a previous newsletter about the idea of having a limited amount of focus, and the importance of switching on and off whilst at the crease to conserve that focus. This is the same when you're off the field - if you're sitting in the stands watching every ball, focusing intently on what's going on, it's just going to drain you. So I thought I'd rest my eyes and come out with a relaxed, clear mind. I had a good laugh at the footage though."
Australia's next assignment will be the Ashes starting from June 16 at Edgbaston. "Well, as quick as one season finishes the next starts, with the Ashes kicking off on Friday the 16th. I'm absolutely buzzing for it!"
"Having this WTC Final right before has been a great way to prepare and we're coming in with some momentum which is awesome. For today though, I'm going to get some rest... and yes, without the Mohammed Siraj alarm clock this time around," concluded Labuschagne.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jun 12, 2023 04:50 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).