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World Test Championship final: India gain hope from fightback against Australia

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World Test Championship final

Final of the World Test Championship at The Oval (Day 3 of 5):
Australia secured 469 (Head 163, Smith 121; Siraj 4-108) & 123-4 (Labuschagne 41*; Jadeja 2-25), while India managed 296 (Rahane 89, Thakur 51; Cummins 3-83). Australia is currently in the lead by 296 runs.

India found a ray of hope during an impressive rally against Australia on the third day of the World Test Championship final held at The Oval.

Australia was brought down to 123-4 in the second innings, holding a lead of 296 on a field that is progressively challenging for batting.

The fact that India is still competing can be attributed to a seventh-wicket partnership of 109 runs between Ajinkya Rahane and Shardul Thakur, secured after KS Bharat was dismissed by the day’s second delivery.

Despite being dropped on Friday after being lbw to a no-ball the day before, Rahane achieved a notable 89. Australia failed to catch Thakur twice, and he managed to scrape up 51 runs after being lbw off a Pat Cummins no-ball.

Rahane was eventually dismissed due to an extraordinary catch by Cameron Green, and India finished their innings at 296, trailing by 173 runs.

Australia lost both David Warner and Usman Khawaja, falling to 24-2, yet Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith resisted the pitch, bowlers, and noisy crowd with a 62-run partnership.

Although Smith and Travis Head were dismissed by Ravindra Jadeja’s left-arm spin, Labuschagne remained steady, not out at 41, in company with Green, who was unbeaten at seven.

Despite India having a good day, Australia’s lead on this difficult pitch puts them in a favored position for the championship title.

Third day at The Oval events
Your chosen Australia-India XI unveiled
India displays courage on an enthralling day

The day was filled with high-intensity Test cricket, downplaying the score gap between the two teams.

The electrifying atmosphere, caused by the unpredictable pitch and fervent cheers for even minor Indian victories, added to the excitement.

Australia’s loss of focus during the Rahane-Thakur partnership was reminiscent of England’s famous Ashes victory in 2019 at Headingley. Captain Cummins’ frustration was evident when he kicked the ball away before lunch.

India maintained momentum in their bowling, with Mohammed Siraj and Mohammed Shami performing admirably with the new ball, while Virat Kohli energized the crowd from first slip.

With Australia two down and the lead under 200, there was an opportunity for India, but Labuschagne and Smith closed that door – a worrying prospect for England with the Ashes just a week away.

Smith and Head’s late wickets were a reward for India’s efforts but probably too late to prevent a second consecutive World Test Championship final loss.

Rahane and Thakur bring the battle to Australians

Rahane and Thakur showed guts, luck, and audacity as they launched an exhilarating counter-attack that unsettled the Australians.

A spectacular catch by Green finally broke the partnership. From that point, India lost their last four wickets for 35 runs, a considerably smaller deficit than expected from previous scores of 71-4 and 152-6.

Labuschagne stops Indian momentum

Labuschagne and Smith calmed the situation, quietening the crowd. However, the dismissal of Smith and the jumpy Head were further rewards for India’s hard work.

Australia batter Marnus Labuschagne: “We’ve got a strong score already, but you just can’t be sure. We need to increase our lead and seize our scoring opportunities. Our bowlers were outstanding after lunch following our morning struggle.”

India batter Ajinkya Rahane: “We aimed for 320 or 330, but overall we had a good day. We bowled in pairs, which was crucial. Australia has a slight edge in the game. The first hour in the morning will be very crucial. We know strange things can happen.”

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MikeJ June 9, 2023 - 6:32 pm

hey, what a match!! India’s fightback was intense, Rahane n Thakur were on fire. Aussies got a fight on their hands lol.

CricketFanatic June 9, 2023 - 6:32 pm

Smith and Labuschagne showing their class again, ain’t easy to bat on this pitch. Gonna be a thrilling finish i reckon.

RahulD June 9, 2023 - 6:32 pm

Wow, the Oval’s turnin into a battlefield. A bit late but India’s showing some grit. Fingers crossed for tomorrow!

AshesLover June 9, 2023 - 6:32 pm

Eye on the Ashes here. If Smith and Labuschagne can stick around like this in England, Aussies will have a great Ashes series!

StevieG June 9, 2023 - 6:32 pm

Cummins’s no-ball costing them a bit, ain’t it? Thakur’s innings could be a game changer.


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