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WTC Final: Australia stretch lead to 296 runs after Rahane-Thakur stand lead India's fightback

Ajinkya Rahane scored 89 runs with the bat while Shardul Thakur hit 51 runs to take India to 296 runs in the first innings. In reply, Australia ended Day 3 at 123/4 in their second innings.

Aditya Kukalyekar Written By: Aditya Kukalyekar New Delhi Published on: June 09, 2023 23:04 IST
WTC Final, IND vs AUS
Image Source : PTI Rahane and Thakur's partnership helped India stay alive

Australia continue to be in the driver's seat at the end of Day 3 in the ongoing World Test Championship (WTC) Final against India. However, India remain alive thanks to some stunning batting from Ajinkya Rahane and Shardul Thakur who led the fightback for the team. The duo got together when the team's score was 152/6 having lost KS Bharat on the second ball of the day.

What followed was some excellent and counterattacking batting from Thakur and Rahane as they scored at rate of knots much to the surprise of the Australians. Thakur made sure he supported Rahane while the latter played some exquisite strokes on his way to half-century on a comeback. At one stage, Australia were frustrated with the partnership between them crossing the 100-run mark.

Australia themselves were to blame as well having dropped a couple of catches while Cummins had Thakur LBW off a no-ball. Rahane and Thakur made sure India avoided the follow-on but the former couldn't get to his hundred thanks to an excellent catch from Cameron Green at gully when he was on 89. Thakur got to his half-century but got out on 51 while India's tail couldn't do much mustering 296 runs in their first innings.

With a lead of 173 runs up their sleeve, Australia would've hoped to score some quick runs in their second essay. But Indian bowlers pulled up well not repeating the mistakes from the previous innings. David Warner was the first one to get out with Mohammed Siraj striking while Umesh Yadav nipped out Usman Khawaja. At 24/2 in the 15th over, Australia were in a spot of bother.

But the centurion from the first innings, Steve Smith and their number three Marnus Labuschagne, made batting look extremely easy to stitch 62 runs for the third wicket. Just when one felt that the Aussies will bat India out of this game, Smith had a brainfade moment off Ravindra Jadeja's bowling as he was caught by Thakur. 

Travis Head's stay in the middle was cut short by Jadeja again bowling in the rough smartly to reduce Australia to 111/4 . Cameron Green and Labuschagne then survived the last few moments of the day as Australia ended the day at 123/4 with a lead of 296 runs. They will be hoping to extend their lead to 400 runs on the fourth morning while India will be looking to nip out the last six wickets as soon as they can.

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