India set 444 to win World Test Championship final - GulfToday

India set 444 to win World Test Championship final


Srikar Bharatl (L) throws the ball to Ravindra Jadeja as Alex Carey (C) makes his ground on the fourth day of the ICC World Test Championship Final at The Oval on Saturday. AFP

Alex Carey made an unbeaten 66 as Australia set India a daunting 444 to win the World Test Championship final at The Oval on Saturday.

India bowled well to hold Australia to 270-8 declared in their second innings on the fourth day, with left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja taking 3-58 in 23 overs.

But the scale of the task now confronting Rohit Sharma's side could be gauged from the fact only four teams in the 146-year history of Test cricket have scored more than 400 runs in the fourth innings to win a match.

Australia resumed on Saturday well-placed at 123-4 despite a sloppy third day that included dropped catches, wickets off no-balls and rash shots that led to the dismissals of first-innings century-makers Steve Smith and Travis Head.

Marnus Labuschagne, the world's top-ranked Test batsman, failed to add to his overnight 41 when he tentatively pushed forward to a fine Umesh Yadav delivery, with Cheteshwar Pujara holding a sharp catch at first slip.

On another sun-drenched day in south London, with temperatures topping 29 degrees Celsius, Rohit turned to Jadeja, who had accounted for Smith and Head on Friday, in the hope of a fresh breakthrough.

Jadeja succeeded in unusual fashion when Cameron Green, on 25, failed to pad away a delivery that pitched outside leg stump, with a sharply turning ball deflecting onto the stumps off the all-rounder's glove.

The turn being extracted by Jadeja would, however, have encouraged Australia off-spinner Nathan Lyon.

It might have also made India rue their decision to omit star off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, the world's top-ranked Test bowler, from this match in order to play an extra seamer.

Carey, strong on the drive, should have been out for his lunch score of 41 when he edged Yadav only for the ball to go between Pujara and Virat Kohli at first and second slip, with neither fielder going for the catch.

The wicketkeeper then completed a valuable 82-ball individual fifty -- a heartening innings for Australia both in the context of this match and with the first Ashes Test against England at Edgbaston starting next week.

With the lead above 400, Mitchell Starc thrashed Yadav through midwicket before India took the new ball.

It eventually proved Starc's undoing when his brisk innings of 41 off 57 balls, including seven fours, ended when a fast-travelling edged drive off Mohammed Shami was well caught by Kohli, now at first slip.

But in sharing a partnership of 93 with fellow left-hander Carey, fast bowler Starc had more than played his part with the bat.

Australia captain Pat Cummins came into bat but declared soon afterwards.

The WTC is the only major men's cricket trophy Australia have yet to win.

India are appearing in their second WTC final after losing to New Zealand in the inaugural 2021 showpiece match in Southampton.


Agence France-Presse

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