Thanks for joining the blog, join us on Saturday for Day 4.

Ajinkya Rahane after the end of day’s play on Star Sports: “Australia slightly ahead in the game. For us it’s important to be in the moment, play session by session. First one hour will be crucial tomorrow. We know funny things can happen. Jadeja bowled really well, footmarks helped him against the left-hander. Still feel wicket will help seam bowlers.”

STUMPS, DAY 3 – Australia second innings, 123/4 (44 overs): That century-partnership between Rahane and Shardul pushed India to 296 in the first innings and the Indian bowlers started rather well in the second innings. There is much more control and discipline and the wickets column show it, Australia have already lost four wickets. Jadeja has been able to pick up two big wickets and as the pitch gets older, maybe, he can play a bigger role on Day 4.

Australia second innings, 123/4 (44 overs): Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami wrap the proceedings for India on Day 3. Just the three runs conceded in the last three overs.

Australia second innings, 120/4 (41 overs): Four runs off Umesh Yadav’s over.

Australia second innings, 120/4 (41 overs): Four runs off Umesh Yadav’s over.

Australia second innings, 116/4 (40 overs): Maiden over from Shami.

Australia second innings, 116/4 (39 overs): Maiden over from Jadeja. Missing another spinner, are we?

Australia second innings, 116/4 (38 overs): Green drives one gloriously through the covers for four. Four runs off Siraj’s over.

WICKET! 36.3: Travis Head 18(27) ct & b Ravindra Jadeja Umesh Yadav in the deep will breathe a sigh of relief as Head got out the slog sweep in the first delivery and Yadav had his hand on it but it was dropped. One ball later though, Jadeja took it upon himself to take effect a c&b dismissal. Australia 111/4

Australia second innings, 105/3 (36 overs): Much better from Siraj who concedes just one in this over.

Australia second innings, 104/3 (35 overs): Jadeja gets one to turn sharply. Just the one run off the over.

Australia second innings, 103/3 (34 overs): A rather expensive over there, sixteen runs off it. Head pulls Siraj for a six over fine leg. And four byes in the penultimate delivery!

Australia second innings, 90/3 (33 overs): A maiden over from Jadeja.

Australia second innings, 90/3 (32 overs): A couple of bouncers that Head is not all that comfortable dealing with but survives.

Australia second innings, 87/3 (31 overs): Will Head counterattack here? Siraj into the attack. He spoke after Day 2’s play about targetting Head with bouncers. India did that late in first innings, they are doing that early here.

WICKET! 30.1: Steven Smith 34(47) ct Shardul Thakur b Ravindra Jadeja Well, well. What do we have here? A hint of aggression from Smith, wanting to go after Jadeja to unsettle him. But ut is a complete mishit. Australia 86/3

Australia second innings, 86/2 (29 overs): Jadeja continues after the drinks break. As does Shardul from the other end.

Australia second innings, 83/2 (28 overs): Time for a drinks break with Australia extending their dominance after a good start by India’s bowling unit.

Australia second innings, 82/2 (27 overs): half chance! Jadeja induces the outside edge from Smith but it falls short of Gill at slip.

Australia second innings, 72/2 (25 overs): Marnus welcomes Shardul into the attack with a four. A four-run over from Jadeja and this partnership is now ticking along nicely.

Shardul replaces Siraj. Will this be the phase that Australia shift gears?

Australia second innings, 62/2 (23 overs): Good for over-rates as long as Jadeja stays in the attack.

Australia second innings, 60/2 (22 overs): A special shot by Labuschagne through offside for four in that Siraj over. The lead crosses 230. Time for spin as Jadeja comes on.

Australia second innings, 51/2 (20 overs): The fizz is just starting to wear off the Indian bowling now. Smith can have that effect. On the opposition bowling, and now seemingly on Marnus too.

Australia second innings, 47/2 (19 overs): Tidy over by Umesh, just a single off the last ball for Smith.

Australia second innings, 46/2 (18 overs): There is such a contrast at the moment to how comfortable Smith is right away and how uncomfortable Marnus has been.

Australia second innings, 45/2 (17 overs): Smith has come out to ease the pressure on Marnus the way Head did in the first innings to ease the pressure on him.

Australia second innings, 40/2 (16 overs): Smith pulls the first delivery over square leg for four. Although Shami continues to trouble Labuschagne, slightly beating the edge, the batter comes back in the final delivery to flick it wide of mid-on.

WICKET! 14.1: Usman Khawaja 13(39) ct Srikar Bharat b Umesh Yadav And the pressure pays off! Umesh Yadav picks his first wicket of the match. Khawaja plays a half-hearted drive that he edges to the keeper. Australia 24/2

Australia second innings, 24/1 (14 overs): Two maidens on the trot by Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami. The pressure is building. Labuschagne also just misses another blow as Shami’s bouncer goes past his gloves.

Australia second innings, 24/1 (12 overs): Shami mixing it up with good length and short of the length deliveries against Labuschagne.

Mohammed Shami to bowl.

We return for the final session for Day 3.

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TEA, DAY 3 – Australia second innings, 23/1 (11 overs): Tidy over by Shardul, with Bharat standing up to the stumps. Australia were made to hop and jump a bit but they reach the interval with just one wicket down.

Australia second innings, 22/1 (10 overs): Labuschagne gets another blow, Siraj with a nasty delivery.

Australia second innings, 20/1 (9 overs): Here’s a look at how the two teams’ bowling compares.

Australia second innings, 12/1 (8 overs): Khawaja pulls one off square leg for four. 4 runs off the Siraj over.

Australia second innings, 12/1 (6 overs): A missed run-out opportunity! Both batters were on the striker’s end but Gill messes that up. Khawaja also sneaks in pull over mid-wicket for four against Siraj. 7 runs off the over.

Australia second innings, 2/1 (4 overs): Labuschagne is welcome by a nasty blow to his finger by Siraj. He throws away his bat instantly. Wicket maiden.

WICKET! 3.3: David Warner 1(8) ct Srikar Bharat b Mohammed Siraj Great bowling from the Hyderabadi pacer. Warner edges it and it carries straight into the hands of Bharat! Australia 2/1

Australia second innings, 2/0 (3 overs): Disciplined bowling from India to start things.

Siraj it is. Over the wicket.

Australia second innings, 2/0 (1 over): Shami round the wicket to both Khawaja and Warner in that over. Expect Siraj to go at them with over the wicket angle.

Warner and Khawaja in the middle. India need wickets, need them quickly.

India first innings, 296 all out after 69.4 overs: India finish with 296 but trail by 173 runs. Rahane and Thakur fought back but India are still in a tricky position after the first innings. How much more will Australia pile on in the second innings?

India first innings, 294/9 after 69 overs: A largely successful over for Cam Green, who not only dismissed Thakur but concedes just 2 runs off it. The umpire also gives Siraj out but he reviews it and there is an inside edge on it.

WICKET! 68.3: Shardul Thakur 51(109) ct Alex Carey b Cameron Green And shortly after the fifty, Thakur departs! India 294/9

HALF-CENTURY for Shardul Thakur! There was plenty of debate about whether Thakur should have been in the Playing XI. But he’s played a knock to remember with the bat now and picked up the big wickets of Warner and Smith.

India first innings, 292/8 after 68 overs: As aesthetically-pleasing as it can get! An on-drive from Shardul Thakur for four. That too against Cummins, good stuff.

With that, India have avoided the follow-on.

WICKET! 65.5: Umesh Yadav 5(11) b Pat Cummins Bowled! That was too good for Umesh, who is beaten on the outside edge. India 271/8

India first innings, 266/6 after 65 overs: As expected the runs have dried up after Rahane’s dismissal. It remains to be seen how much the Indian tail can wag now.

WICKET! 61.6: Ajinkya Rahane 89(129) ct Cameron Green b Pat Cummins And the century is not meant to be. Rahane departs without scoring a run after lunch. Cameron Green, the big man pulls off a screamer after at gully. India 261/7

India first innings, 260/6 after 61 overs: A maiden over by Boland to start the proceedings after lunch.

Ajinkya Rahane becomes the latest to join the 5000-run club:

Indian batters to score 5000 Test runs

Player Span Mat Inns Runs
SR Tendulkar 1989-2013 200 329 15921
R Dravid 1996-2012 163 284 13265
SM Gavaskar 1971-1987 125 214 10122
VVS Laxman 1996-2012 134 225 8781
V Sehwag 2001-2013 103 178 8503
V Kohli 2011-2023 109 184 8430
SC Ganguly 1996-2008 113 188 7212
CA Pujara 2010-2023 103 175 7168
DB Vengsarkar 1976-1992 116 185 6868
M Azharuddin 1984-2000 99 147 6215
GR Viswanath 1969-1983 91 155 6080
N Kapil Dev 1978-1994 131 184 5248
AM Rahane 2013-2023 83 141 5020
via ESPN Cricinfo

We are back after lunch. Can Rahane get to his 100?

Day 3, Lunch, India first innings, 260/6 after 60 overs: Rahane and Shardul, the two Mumbai boys have given India some hope with this 108-run partnership. The senior batter, in his comeback game, nonetheless, is on the cusp of a well-fought 100. Unless, the Australian batters can put a stop to that soon after lunch.

Not to jinx Jinx, but if he does get that 100, that would be some comeback.

India first innings, 260/6 after 60 overs: Two reviews in an over, ha! The umpire has given it out but Shardul reviews it. It remain umpire’s call but it’s a no-ball from Cummins! Luck’s on India’s side this morning. They surely needed it, but this some reprieve, really. The second time for Cummins, nonetheless. Australia also decide to review the penultimate delivery but it’s a wasted one because there’s a clear gap between the bat and ball.

India first innings, 259/6 after 59 overs: Rahane punches one through cover-point and finishes the Lyon over with another four over sweeper-cover. The partnership now up to 107 runs, solid stuff!

India first innings, 249/6 after 58 overs: Another half-volley that Thakur struck for four, this time by Cummins. Good for India, these errors every once in an over, because the partnership is now inching towards the three figure mark.

India first innings, 244/6 after 57 overs: Lyon errs with a half-volley that Rahane drives through the covers.

India first innings, 239/6 after 56 overs: Almost a chance but an edge flies and falls between Carey and Warner at slip. Another reprieve for Rahane! 5 runs off the over.

India first innings, 234/6 after 54 overs: 5 runs off the Green over and with that, Rahane crosses 5000 runs in Test cricket.

India first innings, 229/6 after 54 overs: Thakur cuts one away over point for four. He had almost edged one earlier in the over but it fell short of Carey. Six runs against Starc.

India first innings, 217/6 after 51 overs: Rahane was shocked by the bounce on offer as he miscued a pull in the third delivery. It lands safely though. Just the two runs off Green’s over.

India first innings, 215/6 after 50 overs: A stunning cover drive for four from Thakur, the highlight of the over against Starc.

Time for drinks. A fascinating first hour’s play. Bharat went 2nd ball but Rahane and Thakur have battled it out for the rest of the 58 minutes or so.

India first innings, 209/6 after 49 overs: A slash-then-slash-hard from Rahane as an outside edge flies over slip. But he follows that up with a MAGNIFICENT cover drive for four.

Umpire’s call to Rahane’s rescue: That was really close. Could have been given out on the first go but wasn’t and that saves Rahane. Green with a breakthrough nearly. 200 comes up for India meanwhile.

Starc bowled the previous over, now Green. Australia are making their bowling changes.

India first innings, 199/6 after 48 overs: And the scoreboard keeps ticking with these two in the middle.

HALF CENTURY FOR AJINKYA RAHANE: With a six, no less! Short ball, pulled over square leg. Hit on the gloves, helmet... LBW off a no ball... beaten many times by a superb bowling attack... but has stuck to his guns through it all. Some comeback knock so far by Rahane. Quietly raises his bat to the dressing room.

India first innings, 178/6 after 45 overs: And Rahane nearly edges one to Green at gully. This is such good bowling by the Aussie pacers.

India first innings, 175/6 after 44 overs: A DROPPED CATCH! By Green at gully. Imagine that. Didn’t think he dropped catches there, with those bucket hands of his. Cummins unlucky, Shardul lucky.

India first innings, 173/6 after 43 overs: Ajinkya Rahane with a late square cut for four. Lovely batting that, staying in the moment as Smith called it and not being bothered by the ones that beat him before.

India first innings, 167/6 after 42 overs: A nasty, nasty over from Cummins. Shardul is hopping around. Another hit on the glove-handle region after the two that needed treatment. It’s the short of good length here that is making the ball talk.

India first innings, 167/6 after 41.3 overs: Two balls, two breaks in play. Shardul gets hit twice on his arm by Cummins’ deliveries. Oh dear. This is going to be a long day for India.

India first innings, 166/6 after 41 overs: Boland with a rare wild delivery, beats everyone and goes for four byes. Shardul then gets an outside edge that goes past gully for four too. Soft hands.

India first innings, 157/6 after 40 overs: Cummins starts off with a peach to Rahane in that corridor outside off. Shardul too looks shaky here. Just feels like a few more wickets on the cards here in the opening spells for the Aussies.

India first innings, 154/6 after 39 overs: Nearly another wicket as Shardul edges one in the opening over, but it goes just over the slip cordon.

WICKET! 38.2: KS Bharat 5(15) b Scott Boland That’s the Boland special that has bothered India so much. Constantly targetting the stumps. The ball moves back in sharply and hits the top of middle. India 152/6

Boland has the ball in hand, Rahane and Bharat have a huge task on hand.

Australia XI: David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (wk), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins (c), Nathan Lyon, Scott Boland

India XI: Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, KS Bharat (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj

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2.52 pm: STUMPS, DAY 2 – India first innings, 151/5 after 38 overs

A total well in excess of 500 seemed possible when Head and Smith got going again on Thursday, and the batting that Australia still had left. All said and done, keeping Australia to 469 was a definite recovery on India’s part.

But the batting let India down again. 

WTC Final, Day 2: From India’s top-order collapse to Rahane’s return, a look at three talking points

Hello and welcome to our coverage of ICC World Test Championship Final, Day 3.

Steve Smith scored his 31st Test century before Australia captain Pat Cummins sparked India’s collapse in the World Test Championship final on Thursday.

Smith, 95 not out overnight, followed team-mate Travis Head in going to three figures with 121 in a first-innings total of 469 at The Oval.

Fast bowler Cummins, in his 50th Test, then removed opposing skipper Rohit Sharma to initiate India’s second-day slump.

Ajinkya Rahane (29 not out), struck some painful blows on the glove, held firm with Ravindra Jadeja (48) after India had been reduced to 71-4.

But India were 151-5 at stumps, a huge deficit of 318 runs.

Rohit was plumb lbw for 15 to a full-length ball from Cummins, who had close figures of 1-36 in nine overs.

Four balls later, India were 30-2 when Shubman Gill (13) was bowled playing no shot to Scott Boland after being deceived by a sharp off-cutter.

England’s Stuart Broad tried to rile Australia before this match by saying he hoped Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli kept Cummins’s men in the field for a long time ahead of next week’s first Ashes Test at Edgbaston.

But both senior India batsmen fell for 14 on Thursday.

Pujara was bowled leaving a delivery from all-rounder Cameron Green and Kohli was undone by a spiteful, lifting ball from Mitchell Starc that took the shoulder of the bat, with Smith holding an excellent leaping catch above his head at second slip.

Left-hander Jadeja defied Australia in an aggressive 51-ball knock featuring seven fours and a six.

But he succumbed to off-spinner Nathan Lyon, edging a well-flighted and turning delivery to slip in a 

“We are in a really good spot so hopefully we can get a few more wickets in the morning,” Boland told Sky Sports.

“The pitch is going a little bit up and down so it should be harder for the India batters tomorrow (Friday).”

India were facing a potentially huge Australian first-innings total with Smith and Head (163) at the crease.

But their pacemen struck as Australia lost four wickets for 41 runs, including Head and Smith, to slip from 361-3 to 402-7.

India bowled out Australia after lunch, fast bowler Mohammed Siraj taking 4-108 from 28.3 overs.

Smith reached three figures in the opening over on Thursday, joining compatriot Steve Waugh on seven Test hundreds in England.

Among non-England batters, only Australia great Don Bradman, with 11 centuries, has scored more.

Smith’s 31st Test century left him 12th on the all-time list.

Head extended his first overseas Test century to 150 but a short ball proved his undoing when he tried to whip Siraj legside and gloved a catch to wicketkeeper Srikar Bharat.

Head’s dismissal ended an impressive stand of 285 runs with Smith after they had come together with Australia in trouble at 76-3.

Shardul Thakur then captured the prized wicket of Smith, who inside-edged an outswinger into his stumps to the delight of the large India contingent in a crowd of over 23,000.

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

India are appearing in their second WTC final, having lost to New Zealand in the inaugural 2021 showpiece match in Southampton.

— Day 2 report by AFP

Screenshots in the blog courtesy: Disney+Hotstar / ICC

With text inputs from AFP and ICC Business Corporation FZ LLC 2020 via Online Media Zone