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World Test Championship final: India’s Virat Kohli stands between Australia and title

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In the World Test Championship final at The Oval, Australia finds themselves facing a formidable obstacle in the form of Virat Kohli, who stands between them and the title.

Australia set a challenging target of 444 runs for India to win. At the close of day four, India reached 164-3, with Kohli displaying his dominance with an unbeaten 44, supported by Ajinkya Rahane at 20 not out.

India initially stumbled to 91-3 after Shubman Gill was controversially caught by Cameron Green. The partnership between Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara added 51 runs before both batsmen were dismissed in quick succession.

Amidst an electric atmosphere with passionate Indian fans, Australia requires seven more wickets to secure victory, while India needs 280 runs on the final day.

Earlier, Australia declared their second innings at 270-8, with wicketkeeper Alex Carey contributing an unbeaten 66.

A reserve day is scheduled for Monday in case of bad weather disruptions, but the forecast indicates sufficient time to determine the world Test champions on Sunday, unlike the previous edition won by New Zealand.

In the event of a draw on the fifth day without any time lost, Australia and India would share the title.

Can Virat Kohli deny Australia and continue his legacy?

Australia has experienced their fair share of epic run chases, including their defeat to Ben Stokes’ heroics at Headingley four years ago and Rishabh Pant’s inspirational innings in Brisbane earlier this year, leading India to a memorable series win.

Realistically, India remains the underdog in this final, yet they have fought tenaciously to keep the contest alive, particularly after Australia’s dominance in the first two days.

The Indian supporters, who dominate The Oval, grew more enthusiastic during the partnership between Rohit and Pujara, but Lyon and Cummins struck crucial blows, temporarily dampening the Indian hopes.

While Kohli is at the crease, hope remains for India, and the former captain has the opportunity to add another remarkable chapter to his illustrious career by leading India to their first world title since 2011, in any format.

However, even the king of Indian cricket may find this task insurmountable, and Australia is poised to begin the Ashes series as the world Test champions on Friday.

Crucial breakthroughs by Lyon and Cummins

One concerning aspect for Australia was the apparent lack of life in the previously tricky pitch. After just six overs, they successfully convinced the umpires to replace the ball.

Rohit and Gill had a brisk partnership of 41 runs in seven overs before Gill fell to a contentious catch taken by Cameron Green.

Undeterred, Rohit continued his authoritative stroke play, while Pujara exhibited his classical technique. However, Lyon dismissed Rohit with an lbw decision that couldn’t be overturned, and Cummins removed Pujara, ending their partnership.

Kohli, who had faced just one ball when Rahane joined him, comfortably executed his trademark mid-wicket shots. By the end of the day, their partnership had reached 71 runs.

Debate over Green’s catch

Green, known for his excellent catches at gully, was involved in a contentious moment that sparked considerable discussion during the day.

With lightning-quick reflexes, Green scooped the ball off the turf with his left hand. Gill stood his ground, and the TV umpire, Richard Kettleborough, reviewed the replays.

Kettleborough ruled that Green had cleanly caught the ball, which led to boos from Indian fans and accusations of cheating. Gill reluctantly departed, and Rohit expressed his disappointment by hitting his pad with his bat.

In a post on Twitter, Gill shared a close-up image of the catch along with a face-palm emoji.

This was not the only remarkable incident involving Green during the day. Earlier, he was dismissed in a peculiar manner when he attempted to kick the ball away but ended up deflecting it off his gloves onto the stumps.

Slow progress for Australia in the morning session saw them add 78 runs before lunch, with Marnus Labuschagne falling for 41 after edging to the slips.

After lunch, Carey took an aggressive approach and contributed 93 runs in just 20 overs, partnering with Starc, who scored 41. When India took the second new ball, Starc and Cummins both fell in quick succession to Mohammed Shami, leading Australia to declare their innings.

Reactions to the day’s play

Cameron Green, the Australian all-rounder, acknowledged the team’s favorable position and emphasized the importance of early breakthroughs on the final day.

BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew expressed his belief that Australia maintained their advantage and stressed the significance of the partnership between Kohli and Rahane in giving India a chance to contemplate victory.

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CricketFan42 June 10, 2023 - 6:34 pm

Wow, the World Test Championship final is really heating up! Australia are on their way to becoming champions, but they have to get past Virat Kohli first. Can they do it? Exciting stuff!

BattingLegend June 10, 2023 - 6:34 pm

Kohli is a true force to be reckoned with. He’s standing tall for India, and his partnership with Rahane is crucial. Let’s see if they can pull off a miracle and win the title.

SpinMaster June 10, 2023 - 6:34 pm

Lyon and Cummins are making things difficult for India. Their crucial blows have put Australia in a strong position. The pitch may have calmed down, but the game is far from over.

CaughtInTheAct June 10, 2023 - 6:34 pm

That catch controversy involving Green had everyone talking! It was a close call, and the Indian fans were not happy with the decision. Tensions are running high!

WeatherWatcher June 10, 2023 - 6:34 pm

The forecast looks good, so hopefully, we’ll have a clear day to determine the world Test champions. But if things end in a draw, it’s going to be a shared title. Anything can happen!

CricketStatsGeek June 10, 2023 - 6:34 pm

Australia has had their fair share of heartbreaks in epic run chases. India has shown resilience, but they’re still the underdogs. Can Kohli lead them to victory? The Ashes series awaits!


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