Virat Kohli
File photo: Twitter/BCCI

WTC final: Kohli keeps India alive in record chase; need 280 on Day 5

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The World Test Championship (WTC) final is headed for an exciting finish on Sunday (June 11) as India need 280 runs to win the trophy on the fifth and final day at The Oval in London.

Also read: WTC final: Shubman Gill tweets on Cameron Green’s controversial catch

At stumps on Day 4, Saturday, India were 164/3 in pursuit of a record 444 in the WTC final 2023. Virat Kohli (44 not out) and Ajikya Rahane (20 not out) will resume batting on Sunday.

Kohli and first innings hero Rahane have so far added 71 runs for the fourth wicket.

Also read: Green catch to dismiss Gill in WTC final triggers debate; β€˜Not Out’ trends, no soft signal

Shubman Gill (18), skipper Rohit Sharma (43) and Cheteshwar Pujara (27) were the Indian batters dismissed.

Earlier, Australia set India a record 444-run target on a tricky pitch after Alex Carey propped up their second innings total to 270 for eight before declaring midway into the afternoon session.

India kept things tight in the morning but Carey (66 not off 105) and Mitchell Starc (51 off 47) showed aggressive intent to share a 93-run stand off 120 balls for the seventh wicket.

Also read: WTC final: Day 3 report

Ajinkya Rahane, WTC final
Ajinkya Rahane. Photo: Twitter/BCCI

They collected 69 valuable runs off 87 balls before Pat Cummins declared the innings after his own dismissal.

The time of the declaration was questionable considering the 263 is the highest fourth innings chase at The Oval and 418 in overall Test history.

Skipper Rohit and Gill looked comfortable against Cummins and Scott Boland.

However, at the stroke of tea, Boland got one to bounce little extra from length and it flew from the shoulder of Gill’s bat only to be lapped up by a diving Cameron Green at gully. Green’s catch created a bit of controversy with many questioning the third umpire Richard Kettleborough.

It was the second time in the game that Green took a screamer though replays suggested it was a close call with the ball very close to the ground.

Rohit began with a pull shot off Cummins before hitting him past the mid-on fielder in the following over. A crowd full of Indians really got going when Rohit pulled Mitchell Starc’s second ball of the opening for a six over fine-leg.

In the first session, India picked up a couple of wickets but Australia chugged away to take extend their overall lead to 374 runs after reaching 201 for 6 at lunch.

Australia, WTC final
Photo: Twitter/ICC

Australia had to battle hard to get 78 runs in 26 overs from the morning session. On the hottest morning of the game, the pitch continued to play plenty of tricks with both seamers and spinners being in business.

Australia, who resumed the day at 123 for four, lost Marnus Labuschagne (41 off 126) in the third over of the day. The Aussie batter was not able to add to his overnight score as he edged a beauty from Umesh Yadav (2/32 in 12 overs) that pitched around off-stump and nipped away.

Considering the ball was 44 overs old, Umesh and Shami started the proceedings for India looking for reverse swing in dry and hot conditions. The ball has been taking off or skidding through from a particular spot on length from the pavilion end and that kept the batters guessing on Saturday.

Mohammed Siraj, who has troubled the Aussie batters the most in the game, got one to kick off from the spot and hit Green’s right shoulder.

Ravindra Jadeja (3/45 in 18 overs) was brought into the attack after eight overs and his tactics were pretty clear: get the ball to turn sharply from outside the leg stump.

The ploy worked as Green, offered a big stride in order to play a forward defensive stroke but the ball bounced a tad more and hit the glove before bouncing on to hit the stumps.

Rahane, who was hit on the finger while batting, did not take the field as a precautionary measure.

(With agency inputs)

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