Who, when, where
Australia v India, 7 to 11 June 2023, The Oval, London
Australia and India will attempt to unseat New Zealand as World Test Championship title holders. For the Aussies, it's good preparation for the upcoming Ashes series. For the Indians, it's a chance to consolidate their status as the number one-ranked Test team.
They met earlier this year, when the hosts completed a 2-1 win in the four-match series in India. Conditions in England will be significantly different to the sub-continent. Captain Rohit Sharma has reminded the Indian batsman to be prepared to grind out long periods at the crease.
Australia will be without Josh Hazlewood. He is nursing a niggle and has made way for the selection of Scott Boland, who will also push for a starting berth in the Ashes XI later this month. Boland's consistent line and length could do really well in English conditions.
The International Cricket Council introduced the World Test Championship for good reason, as the longest format of the game struggles for relevance in a world lined with T20 franchise competition. This WTC final should go a long way in validating Test cricket, indeed.
India have won three of their last five Test matches with Australia. These were consecutive wins from 2021 to 2023 before the Aussies pulled one back - and there is one draw included in their recent head-to-head record.
Stars to watch
Australian batsmen Steven Smith and Marnus Labuschagne could benefit from recent stints with Sussex and Glamorgan, respectively, in the English County Championship. They are gearing up for big performances in the Ashes series - and it all starts in earnest here.
India might select two spinners, with Ravindra Jadeja to partner Ravichandran Ashwin. Jadeja has been in fine form since returning from injury - and will be India's number one all-rounder in the XI if selected.
These teams have done a lot to earn their status as World Test Championship finalists. A draw isn't likely in London - and the match might not even go five days, especially if the bowlers are on top. Australia are looking in stronger shape to win here.
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