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World Test Championship final: Over to Team India bowlers to fight it out against Australians

Ajinkya Rahane top scores on comeback, shares crucial stand with Shardul Thakur

Our Bureau Calcutta Published 10.06.23, 05:04 AM
Mohammed Siraj during a practice session at the Oval stadium in London.

Mohammed Siraj during a practice session at the Oval stadium in London. PTI Photo

Test cricket always allows a team to come back even after a bad session or two. That’s what India were trying to do in the final of the World Test Championship at The Oval on Friday after conceding a 173-run lead.

Mohammed Siraj continued to unsettle the Australian batters with pace and movement on a wicket which offered variable bounce.


He removed David Warner in the fourth over of their second innings. Working up terrific pace, his sharp short balls roughed up Marnus Labuschagne on two occasions.

Usman Khawaja then fell to Umesh Yadav after chasing a delivery outside the off stump. As Labuschagne and Steve Smith formed a 62-run partnership, Ravindra Jadeja removed the dangerous-looking Smith to revive hopes.

India were quick to go short against the prolific Travis Head, who has struggled against deliveries aimed at his rib cage. Having survived on a few occasions, he fell to Jadeja after deciding to charge down the wicket.

At stumps on Day III, Australia were 123 for four, a lead of 296 runs. If India can restrict that to around 350, it could throw the match wide open on the final two days.

As the pitch got drier and afforded turn, India missed Ravichandran Ashwin dearly. The off-spinner could have been a match-winner in such conditions and going in with four pacers will continue to haunt Rohit Sharma.

Ajinkya Rahane and Shardul Thakur kept India in the game with a 109-run stand in the morning session. Having reached 260 for six at lunch, India could only add 36 runs in the afternoon session before closing their innings at 296.

Rahane (89 off 129 balls) could not add to his tally after the break, and having once again delivered in challenging overseas conditions, fell to a stunning one-handed catch by Cameron Green at gully. Rahane went through with the shot away from his body off Pat Cummins and a diving Green plucked the ball out of thin air.

Shardul (51 off 109) got to his third half-century at The Oval with a couple of straight drives off Cummins.

India’s tail hardly put up a resistance and the team was bowled out midway into the second session.

Rahane stood tall amid the ruins in his comeback game as he showed remarkable skill and courage against a hostile Australian pace attack. Shardul also took two nasty blows on his forearm and was dropped twice.

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