Travis Head has once again proven to be Australia's saviour having become the first player since 2011 to score a century in a Cricket World Cup final to guide his nation to glory and in doing so equalling the record of two legends. Only two months ago, Head's participation in the tournament was in serious doubt having fractured his left hand in a match against South Africa.
Selectors opted to carry Head into the tournament knowing that if fit, he would be vital to the team's success in the backend of the competition. And Head's contribution to the team has been immense having become the third Australian to score a century in a World Cup final alongside Ricky Ponting and Adam Gilchrist.
And in his typical modest manner, Head claimed: "I'm definitely third on that list. It's a nice one to join." He also became the first player to score a century since Mahela Jayawardene in 2011. And the brilliant left-hander admitted he didn't expect to be raising his bat having reached 137 in the final in front of 130,000 fans at the start of the tournament.
"Not in a million years would I have believed this, what an amazing day," Head said after earning his second player-of-the-match award, after winning one in the semi-final against South Africa. "It's a lot better than sitting on the couch at home, I'm very lucky that everything went well and that I was able to get back here and all support the boys showed me," he added.
And Head couldn't believe just how fortunate he was in the final: "Couldn't imagine getting a hundred - and couldn't imagine holding on to that catch. Nice to be able to hold on to something that's important - you want to look after your teammates, you want to contribute."
His century is also the second for him in a final this year, having hit 163 at the World Test Championship final at The Oval, where he again tormented India.
Cricket world lauds Travis Head's World Cup feat
Head's 2023 will go down as one of his best season's ever and his contribution to the Australian team didn't go unnoticed from cricket legend Ponting during commentary. "A little bit unorthodox at times, you quite often see him against that new ball and think, 'how on earth is he gonna get through this?' but he does. He not only survives, he scores quickly, and scores big runs.
"And the stage doesn't get any bigger than today. Australia three for 40, India all over him in front of 130,000 people. He had to change the way that he played, went from sixth gear back to second and established an amazing partnership with Marnus (Labuschagne) just when their team needed it the most."
Captain Pat Cummins also reserved special praise for the centurion, who came into bat when Australia were 3-47. "We couldn't be happier for Trav," said Pat Cummins. "He's a legend, we love him. How fun was he to watch?"
Cricket fans around the world were quick to laud Head's achievement in a World Cup final.
It’s only fair that two mighty South Aussies would want to pose after one of us played the innings of his life & one of the greatest ever of all time in a World Cup final. Travis Head you absolute legend #CWC23 #IndvAus pic.twitter.com/IJbOY6Mnfc
— Bharat Sundaresan (@beastieboy07) November 19, 2023
Pat Cummins gamble/strategy? at the toss has produced one of Australia’s greatest victories. India totally outplayed by Travis Head…the catch and the hundred….India 11 WC lead up wins and now a crushing defeat in the Final. Salute Aus 6 WCs in 8 Finals👏👍
— jim maxwell (@jimmaxcricket) November 19, 2023
100 in a WC final.
Straight into the Australia all-time moustache XI
— Dan Ginnane (@DanGinnane) November 19, 2023
World CHAMPS 🏆 🤯 @CricketAus
What an incredible achievement.
Travis Head MY WORD. Add it to the list of his ridiculous innings the past three years.
Proud 🇦🇺👏🏽#CWC23 #WORLDCHAMPIONS #INDvAUS pic.twitter.com/mVIDeYlm21
— Trent Copeland (@copes9) November 19, 2023
Hats off to the AUS selectors
They took the risk and selected Travis Head in the 15-man squad in the hope he would be fit to take his place halfway through the tournament
That decision has paid massive dividends
🏏 #ICCCricketWorldCup #INDvAUS
— Glenn Mitchell (@MitchellGlenn) November 19, 2023
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