BazBall, meet TravBall – Hurricane Head tears India apart as bold selection gamble backfires

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 07: Travis Head of Australia salutes the crowd after scoring a century during day one of the ICC World Test Championship Final between Australia and India at The Oval on June 07, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Davidson-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

Travis Head’s first overseas Test century, and a sterling supporting hand from Steve Smith, has steered Australia to a commanding position at stumps on Day 1 of the World Test Championship final against India.

Head’s latest dynamic ton, brought up off 106 balls and featuring 14 fours and a six, helped rescue Australia from a precarious 3/76 shortly after lunch, a 251-run stand with Smith seeing the team to stumps at The Oval in total control at 3/327.

Smith’s anchoring role proved the perfect foil for the South Australian’s sublime strokeplay, the champion continuing his love affair with English conditions to reach stumps unbeaten on 95, and send an ominous warning to England’s bowling attack with the Ashes looming large.

Head, too, will begin to give the England brains trust headaches if he can keep his spectacular form going for the next few months; more than anyone else in Australia’s line-up, he looms as the option to fight the hosts’ famously aggressive batting style, which has earned the moniker ‘BazBall’ named after head coach Brendon

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