WTC Final | Rahane-Shardul Display Character of Steel; Keep India's Hopes Alive
Shardul and Anjikya build a solid partnership. (AP News)
What a beginning has it been for Team India on Day Three of this much awaited WTC Final against Australia. The session started with things looking bright for Pat Cummins and Co. but it's rightly said 'Patience is the Key to success', as India fought back with a beyond imaginable partnership between Shardul Thakur and Ajinkya Rahane.
India are now at the brink of avoiding a follow-on with just 9 runs more to score. This is turning out to be one cracking game and let's see how things unfold in the second session now.
Boland strikes Hot & Fast, Blows KS Bharat Away!
Indian duo Rahane-Bharat stepped on the field with high-hopes on the bright and sunny Oval. However, Boland was quick to shatter their dreams as he knocked over India's wicketkeeper, KS Bharat on only his second delivery. Giving Australia a perfect start for the day with a ripper of a delivery, that left Indian fans all over the world shocked.
It was Boland's second wicket of the innings. So far, the decision to take him as a replacement for Josh Hazlewood has proven to be beneficial for the Aussie-side. Boland came, saw and delivered right through!
Australia's Big Blunders, Give Lord Thakur Another Lifeline
The 39th over of the innings, saw not only Bharat's early exit but also Shardul Thakur being dropped in the final delivery of the over. Boland, who delivered the first over of the day, could have had the chance to bag two wickets in the same over. However, Khwaja's miscalculations at the third slip costed the team big time, as he failed to catch the red cherry.
Shardul Thakur (AP News)
In less than 5 overs, it seemed as if God himself came and saved Thakur yet again!
Australian skipper, Cummins' ruthless form in 44th over saw a good length delivery catch the outside edge of Thakur's sword. But once again, the Aussies failed to grab the ball as Green dropped a straight forward catch.
The Rahane-Shardul Duo, India's Unsung Karan-Arjun
When Shardul came to join Rahane on the field,India were reeling at 152/6, almost hopeless with chances of a follow-on looming large.
However, the duo shattered the Australian dreams wide and large by establishing a strong partnership of 108 runs. Australian bowlers threw everything at them from body line tactics to hitting that good length channel consistently.
Their partnership has steered the Indian ship to the safer shores and India would now look to build on this momentum.
The NO-Ball Turns Saviour For India Once Again!
The last over before the Lunch Break saw a whirlwind of emotions. Pat Cummins was hellbent on taking one more wicket just before the conclusion. However, the fate had different plans for him.
Cummins put forward a good length delivery that nipped back in sharply to hit Shardul on his pad which eventually led to the umpire's decision of OUT! The Indian side took the DRS at the right moment as it turned out to be a NO-BALL courtesy of another overstepping by Cummins, just like yesterday.
India: 260-6 (60)
Ajinkya Rahane- 89* (122) and Shardul Thakur-36* (83)
Scott Boland - 2-47 (16), Pat Cummins - 1-65 (16)
India trail by 209 runs!