Sign up to our free sport newsletter for all the latest news on everything from cycling to boxing
Sign up to our free sport email for all the latest news
Thanks for signing up to the
Australia stood seven wickets away from claiming the World Test Championship crown heading into the final day at the Oval, but Virat Kohli’s presence was enough to give India a glimmer of hope in adversity.
Needing to pull off a world record chase of 444, India looked down and out at 93 for three but Kohli’s accomplished 44 not out kept Australia wary of a remarkable comeback. The former captain put on an unbroken 71 with Ajinkya Rahane, and looked in determined mood.
He walked off the field at 164 for three with his side still strong outsiders, but were not yet down and out. Having scored their runs at a lively rate of 4.10, India kept in touch with what seemed an unattainable goal.
Australia skipper Pat Cummins set up the final equation by declaring at 270 for eight midway through the fourth afternoon, asking India to score 26 more than any side has ever made to win a Test, 38 more than their own record and 181 beyond the best at Surrey’s home ground.
India’s openers began brightly in the face of stifling odds, but saw their optimism dented by a sensational catch from Cameron Green in the last over before tea.
With Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill racing to 41 from the first seven overs, Scott Boland clipped the latter’s outside edge and watched on as Green flung his 6ft 6in frame to the left to take a quite brilliant left-handed effort in the gully.
Gill stood his ground as he waited to see if the catch was clean, with the heavily partisan India-supporting crowd unanimous that the ball had been grounded as Green held his fingers under the ball. English umpire Richard Kettleborough was the man on television duty and he took a long and deliberate look at the slow motion replays before settling in the bowler’s favour.
There were loud jeers and boos, as well as some chants of “cheat”, from the stands, but while there was some ambiguity around still images of the incident it seemed hard to believe that Kettleborough could have made a different verdict.
It was Green’s second brilliant catch of the match, having produced another remarkable diving effort with his right hand to dismiss first-innings top-scorer Rahane, and reminder to England of the all-rounder’s burgeoning ability to stamp his imprint on proceedings.
The wicket was badly needed given India’s early aggression, scoring nine fours and a six in the first 10 overs and rollicking along at almost exactly a run-a-ball. Sharma was in impeccable touch, producing flowing drives when the seamers went full and swivelling into trademark pulls when they dragged their length back.
At one stage Cummins tested his opposite number out with a bouncer and was hooked over the ropes at fine-leg. It took a change of pace in the form of Nathan Lyon’s to halt his charge, Sharma getting in a tangle as he shaped to sweep over mid-wicket and falling lbw.
When Cheteshwar Pujara followed in the next over, caught behind off the face attempting an uncharacteristic uppercut, India were rocking at 93 for three. But rather than fold, they carried on the the fight through Kohli and Rahane.
Kohli gave no leeway at all on line, flicking away a sequence of boundaries through the leg side. The ball was pinging sweetly from his bat and Rahane was offering solid support as Australia laboured away with minimal joy in the last half-hour.
Australia had earlier progressed with relative serenity towards their declaration.
Marnus Labuschagne failed to add to his overnight score of 41 before nicking Umesh Yadav to slip, and Green ground out a sedate 25 before diverting spinner Ravindra Jadeja into his own stumps as he ploughed away on a leg-stump line, but the runs kept flowing.
Alex Carey banked some vital time in the middle ahead of the Ashes as he made an undefeated 66, while Mitchell Starc swung the bat with freedom to make a lively 41.
All eyes were on Cummins from the moment the advantage snaked past 400 and he finally obliged when he was eighth man out, thrashing Mohammed Shami into the on-side.
Source: Read Full Article