Thanks for joining us today, Sunday could be very interesting indeed.

Shubman Gill on Instagram (something tells us he is not actually applauding the catch):


STUMPS, DAY 4 – India 164/3: India have scored at 4-plus in this innings. That means Australia can’t just go all out attack on day 5. Makes for a fascinating finale. The WTC Final is delivering eh?

STUMPS, DAY 4 – India 164/3, need 280 more runs to win: Well what a finish we have on the cards then eh? Two wickets there India would have regretted. The pitch hasn’t misbehaved too much either. Still a long way to go for India, but there will be a little bit of belief.

STUMPS, DAY 4 - India second innings, 164/3 (40 overs): A solid partnership to end the day for India. Kohli and Rahane have put on 71 runs for the fourth wicket. And the scoring rate was decent too which means, the required rate is not out of reach.

India second innings, 160/3 (39 overs): Lyon to bowl the last over of the day.

India second innings, 158/3 (38 overs): That was a shaky over for Rahane against Lyon. India will do well to reach the stumps without any more damage.

India second innings, 150/3 (35 overs): That was gorgeous! Australia want him to go for that shot of course, hence the mid-off region has a big gap but Kohli times that off drive to perfection. Two fours for Kohli in that Starc over.

India second innings, 142/3 (34 overs): Right, India recovering decently after that double blow. A four each in the last two overs of Starc and Lyon. Kohli is into the 30s.

India second innings, 120/3 (28 overs): A well-placed sweep by Rahane off Lyon for four.

Elsewhere in Eindhoven: India are 1-1 against Netherlands in the men’s Pro League.

Hockey, FIH Pro League, India vs Netherlands updates

India second innings, 116/3 (27 overs): Kohli is going at a decent clip here while Rahane is patient. Boland and Lyon at the moment.

Elsewhere in Paris: Iga Swiatek becomes the first player to win consecutive Roland Garros women’s singles titles since Justine Henin won three straight from 2005-2007.

India second innings, 109/3 (24 overs): Kohli with a lovely drive down the ground ofF Lyon for four.

India second innings, 101/3 (23 overs): Kohli and Rahane in the middle. Rahane hadn’t fielding because of the impact on his finger but he is here now, with India in crisis again. These two have to bat long... really long.

WICKET! 20.4: Cheteshwar Pujara 27(47) ct Alex Carey b Pat Cummins Oh dear. What have you done Pujara! Goes for a upper cut. Gets a toe-end. Caught behind. The partnership is broken in the matter of minutes. India 93/3

WICKET! 19.5: Rohit Sharma 43(60) lbw Nathan Lyon Oh dear. Rohit Sharma getting dismissed by an off-spinner... that’s some way to end his Test given the narrative around the match. Poor shot from the Indian captain after what was a good innings. Goes for a fine sweep, completely misses a fairly innocuous delivery. India 92/2

India second innings, 91/1 (19 overs): The partnership is up to fifty! Good stuff from these two.

OK, one more tweet on the catch with two points of view:

India second innings, 84/1 (17 overs): The flick shot is his best friend, says DK on air, as Pujara guides one nicely past midwicket for a four in Cummins over.

India second innings, 78/1 (16 overs): Tidy start from Green.

We did say we will move on from the catch but this is the photographer who has clicked some classic stuff off the Green take:

Green into the attack.

India second innings, 76/1 (15 overs): And Pujara with a lovely push through the vacant mid-off region for four. Starc back to being expensive.

India second innings, 70/1 (14 overs): A superb punch through the offside by Rohit for four in that Boland over. But watchful otherwise.

India second innings, 66/1 (13 overs): Arguably the best over Starc has bowled yet. There was one that reared up on Pujara, from over the wicket around the leg stump line.

India second innings, 65/1 (12 overs): Against the run of play, a maiden over. Boland troubled Pujara a bit there.

India second innings, 65/1 (11 overs): Oh, Pujara is going at better than run-a-ball still. Another four in the Starc over, putting away one on the pads. Starc continues to be expensive.

The discussions continue on the catch. Think it may for a while. We will leave it be for here.

India second innings, 53/1 (9 overs): One four through the leg side, one four through the off... Rohit Sharma gets going right away after tea. Starc a bit all over the place with his line in that over.

India second innings, 45/1 (8 overs): Oh Pujara with intent in his first few balls. Square cut for four.

Right, time to focus on some cricket. Boland to Pujara. Here we go.

Here’s the part of the playing conditions dealing with fair catch: (It is 33.3 that we are not sure about. The fielder obtains complete control here with a little bit of help from the turf, surely?)

TEA, India second innings, 41/1 (7.1 overs): That, our first reaction, is a bit unlucky for Gill. There was no way Green was completing that catch without the help of the turf and therefore, shouldn’t count as a fair take. Either way, there was hardly enough conclusive evidence either way.

WICKET! 7.1: Shubman Gill 18(19) ct Cameron Green b Scott Boland Oh well, this is not the last time we are going to discuss this today. Green is a beast at gully, that we know. It’s a stunning effort to take this diving to his left. But has he grounded it? The third umpire takes his time and gives it out. The Indians are not pleased, players and fans alike. That was really close. India 41/1

India second innings, 41/0 (7 overs): A Rohit Sharma special for a six. There is a fine leg but of course when has that prevented Rohit from playing the pull. Live by the sword and all that...

Time for Starc. There hasn’t been too many balls misbehaving so far, the umpires have already had a look at the ball once. Starc did one to rear up on Kohli... will we see any of that here?

India second innings, 28/0 (6 overs): An edge induced by Boland, but Gill plays it softly enough.

India second innings, 24/0 (5 overs): A crunching straight drive by Rohit off Cummins, saved by the boot of the bowler.

India second innings, 23/0 (4 overs): Rohit with a superb shot, moving to the offside and flicking through midwicket. Nice adjustment to the line that Boland bowls.

India second innings, 19/0 (3 overs): A couple of classy fours in that over. Rohit with a on-drive, Gill with a lovely punch through point. Square at the Oval, the ball flies. There is a streaky outside edge for four too. Indian fans cheering.

India second innings, 6/0 (2 overs): Australia start with Boland right away today. Not a couple of overs for Starc like in the first innings. As DK points out on air, Gill is batting with a arm guard to his right elbow like Thakur did after a few blows there.

India second innings, 4/0 (1 over): Cummins bangs one in short early, Rohit swivels for a pull four.

Pat Cummins to Rohit Sharma. Here we go.

  • End of Australia’s innings, 270/8 declared (84.3 overs): Australia couldn’t have asked for much more here, to be honest. Perhaps could have scored a bit quicker but they have kept India on the field long enough and the pitch definitely has enough in it still for bowlers. India will need a miracle.

WICKET! 84.3: Pat Cummins 5(5) ct Axar Patel (Sub) b Mohammad Shami Cummins skies it to the sub fielder and the Aussie batters run back together. There is the declration. Australia 270/8

Australia second innings, 269/7 (84 overs): Looks like Cummins, once the owner of the fastest 50 in the IPL, will have some fun here. A nice lofted straight drive for four in that Siraj over.

WICKET! 82.6: Mitchell Starc 41(57) ct Virat Kohli b Mohammad Shami A couple of crunching fours in that over but Starc swings and the outside edge is taken off the last ball. Australia 260/7

Australia second innings, 252/6 (82 overs): Wild stuff from Siraj, a bouncer given a wide goes for four. Misfielding by Shami too. India have definitely gone into hoping-for-declaration mode.

Australia second innings, 242/6 (81 overs): The new ball has been taken. Perhaps time for some quick runs too for Australia here we’d imagine. Carey with an inside-edge for four in that over.

Australia second innings, 236/6 (80 overs): The lead for Australia now up to 400. The runs are flowing even after lunch. India need some change of plans.

Australia second innings, 223/6 (77 overs): Fifty for Alex Carey! He gets to the milestone in 82 deliveries and it’s keeping Australia going.

Australia second innings, 211/6 (73 overs): Jadeja and Umesh are bowling in tandem now but both Starc and Carey are able to find the occasional boundary. The partnership now about to touch 50 runs.

We are back after lunch. What’s Australia’s approach going to be like now?

Lunch, Day 4, Australia second innings, 201/6 (70 overs): As Australia bring up 200, the lead is well beyond 370 runs. India have managed to pick up two wickets but Australia have also scored 78 runs. India need a boost and a turnaround after lunch.

Australia second innings, 191/6 (67 overs): Starc cuts one behind square for four against Jadeja and in his next over, is awarded four byes against him as the ball goes past Bharat after getting the edge.

Australia second innings, 177/5 (64 overs): First, Carey capitalises on the width on offer and then chops away at the short of the length delivery to run it past wide slip. Two boundaries in the over against Siraj.

WICKET! 62.6: Cameron Green 25(95) b Ravindra Jadeja Jadeja gets one to spin into the right-hander thanks to that rough and it bounces into the stumps. Australia 167/6

Australia second innings, 167/5 (62 overs): Green flicks one over the keeper’s head and it’s four runs. Five runs off Siraj’s over.

Australia second innings, 162/5 (61 overs): Jadeja keeping the pressure going. Just one run off it.

Australia second innings, 160/5 (60 overs): Green receives a nasty blow as Siraj bangs it short. A long stare follows Green and so do the physios. The last delivery is a close one, the ball shapes back into the right-hander and gets an inside edge. The end of a testing over.

Australia second innings, 159/5 (59 overs): Jadeja to resume after drinks. Three runs off the over.

Australia second innings, 156/5 (58 overs): Rare loose ball in the morning as we break for drinks. Siraj strays on Green’s pads, four harmless leg byes. India have done alright to keep Aussies in check though.

Australia second innings, 151/5 (57 overs): Ricky Ponting just rattled out these numbers to finish his piece before Jadeja finishes his over.

Australia second innings, 148/5 (56 overs): Siraj and Jadeja keeping things quiet for now.

Australia second innings, 147/5 (54 overs): Hitting through the square on offside is a big source of runs at the Oval, Carey with a superb shot for four in that Siraj ove.

Siraj replaces Shami.

Australia second innings, 143/5 (53 overs): Straight drive of the highest order by Green off Shami. What a shot. Time for spin from the other end, Jadeja to Green now. Two slips in place. Negotiated for now by Green.

Australia second innings, 138/5 (51 overs): Siraj with a fumble at mid-on. That was a run out for the taking. Poor from Siraj really. From close range, had to do better there. Green has seemed to be a constant runout candidate over the IPL and this match.

Australia second innings, 135/5 (50 overs): Sure the Umesh ploy worked, but still no spin from India, despite what we saw from Jadeja last night. A bit bizarre.

Umesh will continue. The lead has, by the way, crossed 300.

Australia second innings, 128/5 (48 overs): Maiden over again from Shami to Green.

Australia second innings, 128/5 (47 overs): Carey comes in and gets an outside edge for four. Will we see Jadeja now to tempt Carey to go on the attack?

WICKET! 46.4: Marnus Labuschagne 41(126) ct Cheteshwar Pujara b Umesh Yadav Well, there is an answer for why Rohit started with Umesh. Ripper of a delivery, so many of these similar ones, Labuschagne got away with copping blows or playing soft. This one rears up a bit more and it is a fine catch by Pujara at first slip. Australia 124/5

Australia second innings, 124/4 (46 overs): Shami starts with a maiden over. A superb delivery to Green to start, full enough and just beats his outside edge.

Shami from the other end.

Australia second innings, 124/4 (45 overs): Another blow for Marnus, who has had quite a few of those this match. But he soldiers on.

Bit of a surprise here. Umesh Yadav starts off for India.

Australia second innings, 123/4 (44 overs)

2.56 pm: Nasser Hussain on air welcomes us saying there should be no problem with the weather over the weekend. There were some chances of rain predicted a few days back for today and tomorrow but doesn’t seem to be the case anymore.

Shardul Thakur has played eight Test matches before this ICC World Test Championship Final. Only one of those was at home. He has played in Brisbane, Nottingham, Centurion, Johannesburg... and even a fabulous match at The Oval. But at the end of the third day’s play, speaking to the press, he said that the first hour of Australian bowling he faced on Friday made him feel: “Though I have played a handful of games, that felt like a welcome to Test cricket.”

India managed to get close to 300 with their batting efforts (Thakur 51, Rahane 89) and for couple of hours on Friday, the finale to WTC felt grand. 

Day 3 talking points: The Ajinkya Rahane-Shardul Thakur dance

Playing XIs

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

Hello and welcome to our coverage of ICC World Test Championship Final, Day 4.

Australia remained in command of the World Test Championship final against India despite an error-strewn display at The Oval on Friday.

Ravindra Jadeja removed first-innings century-makers Steve Smith and Travis Head but a third day of dropped catches, wickets off no-balls and rash shots still ended with Australia 296 runs ahead at 123-4 in their second innings.

Marnus Labuschagne, the world’s top-ranked Test batter, survived several painful blows on a pitch of variable bounce to be 41 not out at stumps.

“We have quite a formidable score already but you just never know,” Labuschagne told BBC Radio. 

The 28-year-old added: “My hands are just about hanging on. I’ve got good bone density. It is lively out there, and that does make it challenging when they bounce like that off a length, but that happens as a batter and you’ve just got to find a way through it.”

When Scott Boland knocked over Srikar Bharat’s stumps with just the second ball of the day, India were 317 runs behind with only four first-innings wickets standing.

But Ajinkya Rahane (89) and Shardul Thakur (51) then made the most of Australia’s mistakes during a seventh-wicket stand of 109 before India were eventually dismissed for 296.

Australia captain Pat Cummins took 3-83 in his 20 overs but his figures would have been better but for six no-balls.

“We made a bit of a meal of it in the morning,” said Labuschagne, adding: “Pat just addressed it, said we weren’t good enough and we’ve all played enough cricket to know that was fair.

Rahane insisted all was not lost for India.

“Australia are slightly ahead of the game,” he told Sky Sports. “In the morning the first hour will be very crucial. We know funny things can happen.”

Australia were 2-1 when the under-pressure David Warner, who had managed just one century in his previous 33 Test innings, was caught behind off Mohammed Siraj.

Usman Khawaja, Warner’s opening partner, fell cheaply for the second time this match when, on 13, he followed a first-innings duck by being caught behind carelessly edging a wide ball from pacer Umesh Yadav.

Left-arm spinner Jadeja then removed Smith and Head, although both batsmen played a part in their own downfall.

Star batsman Smith had spent just over five-and-a-half hours at the crease for 121 in Australia’s first-innings 469.

But on Friday he gave his wicket away for 34 when he skied a drive off Jadeja to cover.

Head’s dynamic 163 had established Australia’s strong position in the final. He continued to attack Friday only for a quickfire 18 to end when, attempting a booming drive against the turn out of the rough, his miscued shot gave Jadeja a simple return catch.

Earlier, both Rahane and Thakur were struck by nasty blows, while all-rounder Thakur was dropped twice in single figures, including on eight when he edged Cummins to gully only for Cameron Green to floor a straightforward chance.

And just before lunch Thakur appeared lbw to fast bowler Cummins only for a review to reveal a no-ball.

Rahane, who would have been lbw for 17 on Thursday but for another Cummins no-ball, hooked the Australia skipper for a sweetly timed six to complete a 92-ball fifty – a shot greeted by raucous cheers from a sun-drenched and India-dominated crowd of over 25,000.

Rahane was reprieved again on 72 when he edged Cummins only for wicketkeeper Alex Carey not to commit to a catch, with first slip Warner unable to hold onto a desperate left-hand grab.

But Rahane was denied a hundred in his first Test in over a year after an edge off Cummins was brilliantly caught one-handed by a diving Green in the gully. 

— AFP report

Screenshots in the blog courtesy: Disney+Hotstar / ICC

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