Australia captain Pat Cummins commended Scott Boland for playing a decisive role in his team`s comprehensive 209-run win over India in the World Test Championship final, saying the seamer remains his favourite player.
Boland made the game more difficult for India with his incisive bowling, not allowing the famed Indian batting line-up to breathe easy at any point in the contest which lasted a little over lunch on the fifth and final day.
The right-arm seamer Boland accounted for Shubman Gill (18), Virat Kohli (49) and Ravindra Jadeja (0) in the second innings as India were bowled out for 234 while chasing 444.
“We left Day One feeling like we were on top of the game. When it counted, we played really well. We could have really driven the game, didn`t have our best day and let India closer back in. For the most parts, we were in control. Boland – he`s my favourite player. He just continues to be my favourite,” Cummins said.
Cummins had also stated before the final that he expected Boland to play a significant role in turning the tide in Australia’s favour in the WTC final against India.
“Coming off a break, everyone switched on when it mattered. Everyone played really well and we`ll savour this for a few days before we turn our attention (to the Ashes),” the Australia captain said.
He also praised Travis Head (163) and Steve Smith (121) for their first-innings heroics, with their 285-run fourth wicket stand creating a strong position for Australia`s win.
“We made the most of it (losing the toss). We were certainly going to bowl. The way Travis (Head) and Smithy (Steve Smith) put on that partnership, gave us comfort after a nervy morning,” Cummins told the broadcaster after Australia added one more trophy to their kitty.
“He (Head) has been brilliant right throughout this campaign, started with the Ashes a couple of years ago. He just puts the pressure right back on the bowlers and suddenly you are thinking about how to contain runs rather than taking wickets,” he said.
For Boland, it was all about hitting the right areas consistently in such a huge contest.
“It was good fun. Nice for our bowling group to come over here and put up a good performance and take 20 wickets. You needed to hit similar areas all the time.
“There was a little bit of bounce and we tried to exploit that. It felt pretty good to get Kohli out. Some amazing catching from our cordon, it`s nice to have the confidence that if you get the nicks they`re going to get taken,” said the fast bowler.
Travis Head said the win was a culmination of the hard work put in over the last two years.
“A lot of hard work over two years. [Positive approach] has been the approach for two years. I wanted to be proactive and score if the balls were there and then if they bowl in nice areas you try and be good enough to stay out there for long periods. I was tested through my innings,” he said.
The prolific batter said he always had the confidence to perform at the big stage.
“It was nice to be able to bat as well as we did with [Smith]. It was an amazing Test from him. I`ve always had confidence. It`s been about going out there and expressing that.
“It took me some time to find a blueprint in first-class cricket and Test cricket. I`ve always been open to change. Always been committed to knowing what I needed to do to step up. I`ve bedded down somewhat. I`m trying to be as consistent as I possibly can for the team,” he said.
Smith said it was crucial for Australia to get rid of Kohli on the final day, whose 49 in the second innings looked ominous for the eventual winners.
“We know how good Virat is, he`s an exceptional player and when chasing totals, he becomes dangerous. Boland was excellent in the morning spell, hit the right areas consistently, we knew he would produce that outside edge and it did come (talking about his catch),” Smith said.
Left-am pacer Mitchell Starc also said Kohli`s wicket was crucial for Australia to turn the match in their favour on the final day.
“We were patient enough against a quality line-up, and managed to get the breakthroughs needed. Rub off the green went our way, a smart catch from Smith and to get Kohli early on was a big boost.
“He played well in the first innings (about Rahane), was a nice partnership as well, we knew if we stick to our task we will get chances and they did come,” Starc said.
The left-arm pacer said being in the IPL together also helped some of the players from both the teams.
“Both sides were familiar to each other (having played a Test series recently), a lot of the guys have played with each other in the IPL, so we know a lot about watching others games, Lyon did a good job as well and we enjoyed ourselves,” Starc said.
(With PTI inputs)