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WTC Final 2023, Day 3, Aus vs Ind: Rahane, Thakur, Jadeja lead India fightback but Australia ahead

WTC Final 2023, Day 3, Aus vs Ind: Ajinkya Rahane, Shardul Thakur and Ravindra Jadeja lead India fightback but Australia on top. Australia lead by 296 runs at the stumps on Day 3.

WTC Final 2023, Day 3, Aus vs Ind_ Ajinkya Rahane-Shardul Thakur put up a 109-run stand for 7th wicket against Australia _ Walking Wicket (Images_ ©WasimJaffer14_Twitter)
Rahane-Thakur put up a 109-run stand for 7th wicket (Images: ©WasimJaffer14/Twitter)

Brief scores: WTC Final 2023, Day 3, Australia (AUS) vs India (IND): Ind 296/10 ( Shardul 51, Rahane 29, Pat Cummins 3/83) Vs. Aus 123/4 (Marnus 41, Smith, 34, Jadeja 2/35. Aus lead by 296 runs on Day 3

Australia were well ahead of the game at the start of Day 3 dictating terms after reducing the Indian team to 151/5 in their first bowling effort. Earlier in the match, the Aussies accumulated a massive 469 in their first innings riding on the back of spectacular centuries from Travis Head (163) & Steve Smith (121) and their 285-run stand for the 4th wicket. This gave Aussie pacers an ideal opportunity to rattle an inconsistent Indian batting order which they eventually did.

Talking point from WTC Final 2023, Day 3

Once again it was India’s lower middle-order that had to save them the day. Shardul Thakur’s 51 and his impressive stand with Rahane was the reason India could keep down the deficit to 173. They together led India’s fight back in the Test but Australia are still ahead in the game thanks to their dominating showing in the first 2 days.

WTC Final 2023, Day 3, Aus vs Ind_ Ajinkya Rahane made 89 runs in 1st innings in WTC Final  _ Walking Wicket (Images_ ©BCCI_Twitter)
Rahane made 89 runs in 1st innings in WTC Final (Images: ©BCCI/Twitter)
India vs Australia, WTC Final, Day 3, 1st session

India didn’t have the best of starts to their day’s proceedings as they lost overnight batter Srikar Bharat in the very 2nd ball to Scot Boland . Though Ajinkya Rahane (29*) was at the other end, It looked as if Australia would gain complete control of the Test match as India didn’t have much batting to come and they had a long tail. But the pair of Shardul Thakur & Rahane hung in there absorbing pressure and riding luck along the way and taking the total close to the follow-on target.

While Rahane reached his well-deserved half-century and went past 5000 runs in Tests on his comeback, Shardul accompanied him as India went into lunch at 260/6, still 209 runs behind Australia’s total. They added 109 runs in session , losing the only wicket of Srikar Bharat.

WTC Final 2023, Day 3, Aus vs Ind_ Pat Cummins took 3-83 in first innings against India  _ Walking Wicket (Images_ ©ICC_Twitter)
Cummins took 3-83 in first innings against India (Images: ©ICC/Twitter)
India vs Australia, WTC Final, Day 3, 2nd session

Just like the first session, India lost a wicket just after the break, this time of the well-set batter Ajinkya Rahane, who fell to Pat Cummins courtesy of a stunning catch by Cameron Green for 89. Shardul Thakur continued to impress as a Test all-rounder as he played yet another useful hand with the bat lower down the order. He made his 3rd half-century at the Oval in as many attempts and allowed India to get past the follow-on mark of 269.

As feared, he didn’t get enough support from rest of fast bowling peers as the Aussie quicks removed the Indian tail rather comfortably. In the end, India could muster only 296 runs as Australia gained a mammoth first innings lead of 173 runs. Skipper Cummins took 3 wickets while the rest of the pacers took 2 wickets apiece.

Australia began their 2nd innings cautiously and India struck early in the piece with Siraj sending back David Warner in the 4th over for just 1 as they went into tea at 23/1, leading by 196 runs.

India vs Australia, WTC Final, Day 3, 3rd session

Australia looked to further stretch the lead and take the game completely away from India. The Indian bowlers despite getting minimal help off the surface bowled tight lines to keep the Aussies batter down. Umesh Yadav got his first wicket of the game when he removed Khawaja.

The prolific pair of Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne played attacking cricket in the initial phase of their 62-run stand as the Indian pacers found it hard to dislodge the pair. But the introduction of Jadeja saw things happening and Smith was looking unsettled.

The move immediately worked for India as Ravindra Jadeja outfoxed Smith into playing an uncharacteristic stroke thus giving away his wicket. The left-armer then accounted for the other first innings centurion Travis Head for 18 after troubling him for quite a few overs. In the end, Australia ended the moving day on 123/4, comfortably ahead by 296 runs with 6 wickets still in hand. Marnus looks well settled at 41 and giving him company is Cameron Green.

Whats’ to come

Australia is well placed at this point to win their maiden WTC title as they are ahead by a massive 296 runs and will want to bat as long as possible making the target that much difficult for India to attain. India on the other hand would want to take early wickets upfront to give themselves any chance in this contest.

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