India finally showed some resistance through Ajinkya Rahane and Shardul Thakur on Day 3 after an abysmal performance in the first two days at the ongoing ICC World Test Championship final at The Oval. Rahane's memorable knock of 89 off just 129 and Thakur's third consecutive fifty at The Oval helped India avoid a follow-on to score 296 runs in the first innings.
However, the Australian team managed to score 123/4 at the end of Day 3 to stretch their lead to 296 runs. Indian bowlers took four big wickets, including first innings centurions Steve Smith and Travis Head, but with an almost 300-run lead, it's not looking good for Rohit Sharma-led side going into Day 4.
It's always an impossible task to chase a big target in the final innings in English conditions. In the past, only six times teams have successfully chased a 300-run target in the fourth innings. Australia are already dominating with a 296-run lead and have the world's no.1 Test batter Marnus Labuschagne on the pitch with two days remaining in WTC final 2023.
But India's biggest worry will be chasing at The Oval. At London's iconic venue, teams have never recorded a successful 300-plus chase in red-ball cricket. The highest successful chase in the final innings is 263, recorded by England against Australia in 1902. So, to win the match, India need to break a 121-run record at The Oval, which will be a some task for the struggling Indian batting line-up.
Meanwhile, India will be needing their top order to produce their best to chase a potential 300-plus or maybe 400-plus total at The Oval. India's top four batters recorded 15, 13, 14, and 14 scores in the first innings. But Rahane and Shardul's fifties, and crucial 48 runs from Ravindra Jadeja helped India avoid blushes on Day 3.