London, June 9
Ajinkya Rahane and Shardul Thakur's unbeaten 108-run partnership on Day-3 reignited India's hope of making a comeback in the ongoing World Test Championship (WTC) against Australia at the Oval, on Friday.
India went to Lunch at 260/6 of 60 overs, with Shardul Thakur and Ajinkya Rahane surviving some anxious moments at the crease to stay unbeaten at the personal scores of 36(83)* and 89(122)* respectively.
After Australia dominated the first two days of the WTC final, Rahane and Thakur launched a counter-attack after losing a wicket earlier in the first session of Day-3.
The Australians started the first session of Day 3 in the same way as they did on Day 2, with Boland getting a delivery to sneak past the defence of Indian wicketkeeper-batsman KS Bharat and striking timber. Bharat fell on the second ball of Day 3 at a score of 5 off 15 balls.
The strapping right-armer got a good-length delivery to tail back sharply at Bharat, dislodging his off peg.
After the fall of Bharat's wicket, Rahane and Thakur went about rebuilding the Indian innings. Rahane brought up his 26th Test half-century, under tough and testing circumstances, in the 47th over.
Thakur, who has played enterprising knocks for his country in the red-ball format, fought fire with fire as the Aussies threw everything at him. However, the cricketing gods seemed to be smiling on him, as he survived some anxious moments.
In the final over of the first session, Shardul was adjudged LBW to skipper Cummins. However, even as the onfield decision was sent to the third umpire for review, Cummins was found to have stepped over the blowing mark. The ball was eventually adjudged a no-ball.
In the next over, bowled by Mitchell Starc, Shardul knocked a delivery. which fell marginally short of Australian wicketkeeper Alex Carey.
Even Rahane had his share of good fortune during the first session as he survived a strong LBW shout in the 49th over, which was turned down by the on-field umpire but was sent up to the third umpire for a referral.
He edged the next delivery but it flew over the first slip and raced to the fence. On the third ball, he stroked a delightful drive to bring up two consecutive boundaries.
In the final overs of the first session, he tried to play a drive but ended up edging to the first slip. However, the catch fell short of David Warner, who was standing in the first slip.
At the close of play in the first session, India was still trailing the Australians by 209 runs.
Brief Scores Ajinkya Rahane 89(122)*, Shardul Thakur 36(83)* and Scott Boland 2/47) vs India.