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Australia's Travis Head and Steve Smith walk back to the pavilion after the end of play during day 1. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: India’s former mental conditioning coach Paddy Upton feels the England conditions give Australia a slight advantage in the World Test Championship final at The Oval, but feels lady luck plays a bigger role in the outcome of a cricket match.

“The fact that the final is being played in England conditions means probably a slightly advantage to Australia, because they’re more familiar. Australia have been there longer, played more games compared to the Indian players, who had a very long and taxing Indian Premier League, which is a very different format. In terms of Test cricket readiness, India are probably just behind Australia,” Upton, who is Dubai for an exclusive workshop, Unlock Your Leadership A-Game, for corporate leaders, told Gulf News.

Close chances

Australia dominated the first day of the World Test Championship final, scoring 327 for three. Travis Head scored an aggressive 146 not out while former Australian skipper Steve Smith crafted an unbeaten 95 to add an unbroken 251-run stand for the fourth wicket in just 60.5 overs.

Put in to bat on gloomy cool morning, Australia lost a couple of quick wickets on a pitch that had a good layer of green covering. But Head and Smith thwarted the Indian bowling before dominating the rest of the day. The scoreboard could have read differently had a few close chances gone India’s way. Nothing to take any credit away from the way Head and Smith toyed with the Indian bowling, giving Australia the command at close of play on the first day.

Luck factor

Upton, who was part of India’s World Cup-winning team in 2011 and the No 1 Test-ranking team and was part of the Indian team during the Twenty20 World Cup in Australia last year, feels luck factor is not given its due in Tests.

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Indian spinner Ravindra Jadeja reacts to a missed opportunity during the Day One of the World Test Championship final. Image Credit: Reuters

Not given its due

“What we’re going to see, which is given not given very much credit in the game of cricket, is the concept of luck. When a team wins, the coach and the captain will always point back to the things that did well. When a team loses they’ve got to acknowledge that things that didn’t do well. Can you imagine if a team won and they said, well, luck really went our way, or if a team lost and said we were unlucky. It’s not a very sexy or cool thing to say. But the reality is luck plays a way greater role in the game of cricket than what we give it a due credit. So I would say that whoever wins this is the team that got more luck going in their favour, because these are two very evenly matched teams,” added the 54-year-old South African.

Both India and Australia were unlucky to have had several injury casualties ahead of the final. India’s ace Jasprit Bumrah and KL Rahul were ruled out due to injuries while Australian pacer Josh Hazlewood didn’t recover in time for the final.

Right from the toss, even though the Men in Blue won it, nothing went right for India as the overcast conditions forced Rohit Sharma to opt for bowling and the green-top pitch led to the decision to drop ace spinner Ravichandran Ashwin. It is important for India to get early wickets on the second day to wrest the initiative back from Australia, who otherwise will run up a huge total. Will luck smile on India during the second day? Over to The Oval.