MY KOLKATA EDUGRAPH
ADVERTISEMENT
regular-article-logo Saturday, 24 February 2024

World Test Championship final: Australia’s Scott Boland swings, sidekick to hero 

Boland’s role is presumed to be something similar to that of Michael Kasprowicz, Andy Bichel, Stuart Clark and the likes in Test Championship decider

Sayak Banerjee Calcutta Published 13.06.23, 06:45 AM
Scott Boland during the WTC final at The Oval.

Scott Boland during the WTC final at The Oval. File photo

A late bloomer who is now showing his colours in full bloom. That’s one way to sum up how 34-year-old Scott Boland, Australia’s second indigenous cricketer in the men’s Test team after Jason Gillespie, has performed so far after completing almost two years in the ring.

A 6/7 in the second innings on debut in the Boxing Day Ashes Test in December 2021 capped off a fantastic start to his Test career. Till date, that’s his only five-wicket haul, but what stands out is his ability to strike more than once in an over, something he has done multiple times in his eight Test appearances.

ADVERTISEMENT

And that includes the just-concluded World Test Championship final as well, where he snared Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja in three balls on the final day at The Oval to end India’s resistance.

In the modern generation, Australia have had quite a few quicks who played the role of support bowlers to spearheads Glenn McGrath, Gillespie and Brett Lee.

Boland’s role too was presumed to be something similar to that of Michael Kasprowicz, Andy Bichel, Stuart Clark and the likes in the Test Championship decider. He was the third pacer in the order after Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc.

But it was he who turned out to be the one who gave Australia crucial breakthroughs in both innings, eventually finishing with the best match figures (5/105) among the pacers. Not only that, he had won Cummins’ trust to share the new ball with the Aussie skipper in India’s second innings ahead of the wayward Starc.

What exactly did Boland do differently to be the standout bowler in the WTC final? “He simply bowled a consistent length and was able to entice shots off deliveries which the batters didn’t need to play. Kohli’s second innings dismissal is an example,” bowling coach Damien Wright, who has worked with Punjab Kings in the IPL, told The Telegraph from Melbourne on Monday.

“Scotty just keeps finding another level, doesn’t he? He was our best bowler all game, held it together and didn’t go for many runs,” Cummins lauded Boland.

“He always looked threatening and to get two wickets in a row was a just reward for how well he bowled throughout the game.”

Talking of India’s batsmen, where did they err aga­inst Boland? “He’s obviously a very accurate bowler in the McGrath mould. But what he did was exploit the weaknesses of our batsmen, who are so used to playing on flat decks,” Ashok Malhotra, who’s on the BCCI cricket advisory committee, pointed out.

“In England, it’s not easy to hit through the line. You need to be more patient and be very careful about which ball to play and which one to leave.”

Ashes selection

Cummins acknowledged Bola­nd “will have some role to play in the Ashes” beginning this Friday in Birmingham. It certainly will be a selection headache for Australia as Josh Hazlewood, one of their frontline quicks, is fit and available for selection.

It won’t be fair though to drop Boland after his spells in the WTC final. “Scott should play the Ashes and he’ll do well with his ability to move the ball off the seam, hitting that very good, consistent length,” Wright emphasised.

Follow us on:
ADVERTISEMENT