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World Test Championship

Rahane provides update on injured finger

World Test Championship

By Tom Bennett at The Oval

Hit For Six!

India have been boosted by the news that Ajinkya Rahane will be fit to bat in the fourth innings of the ICC World Test Championship Final.

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Day 3 Highlights: Australia are leading by 296 runs at stumps after bowling out India for 296 on the third of the ICC World Test Championship Final 2023.

Rahane was left battered and bruised after surviving a barrage of body blows from a fired-up Australian attack on days two and three at The Oval.

A couple of hits to the hand were of particular concern, with Rahane taken for tests on a finger that he has fractured previously in his career.

But the good news for India is that their first-innings top scorer will be able to get out to the middle when tasked with chasing down what will be a large target to win the WTC Final this weekend.

Video World Test Championship 09 Jun 23
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Highlights – Ajinkya Rahane's gritty 89 helped India avoid follow-on on Day 3 of the ICC World Test Championship Final 2023.

"It was painful but quite manageable," Rahane told the ICC at the end of a day that finished with Australia leading by 296 runs, despite Rahane’s counterattack 89.

"I am really happy with that way I batted. We had a good day today, the partnership with (Ravindra) Jadeja and I and then with Shardul (Thakur) and myself was really crucial.

"We were aiming to get 320 or 330 (runs), but I think overall we had a pretty good day. Bowling wise we bowled really well in the second innings. Everyone bowled really well.

“(We’ll take it) session by session. We don’t want to look too far ahead, but we’ve seen funny things happen in this game."

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The funny-old-game adage made another appearance in the post-game interviews when Thakur spoke to the assembled media in the bowels of the Bedser Stand at The Oval following day three.

India will be asked to chase a record total at The Oval, with the highest winning fourth-innings chase in Tests at the ground set at 263 by England way back in 1902.

But India know all about big fourth innings chases in English conditions, having been on the wrong end of England’s remarkable 378/3 at Edgbaston last year.

And, with the weather forecast decent and the pitch looking good for batting, Thakur is confident India can still get their hands on the World Test Championship mace.

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Shardul Thakur had to face the brunt of Pat Cummins' fiery fast bowling.

“Well, cricket is a funny game, you can never say what is the right total,” he said. “And, in this one-off game, an ICC final, you never know.

“One good partnership and you can even chase down 450 or maybe more than that.

"Last year England chased (almost) 400 and did not lose too many wickets. So that's a positive sign for us.

“We see a lot of times in Test cricket that game changes within an hour. So yes, we will be optimistic tomorrow going on the field and we'll take it on from there.”

Shardul Thakur is in elite company with his record at The Oval
Shardul Thakur is in elite company with his record at The Oval

Thakur struck his third half-century in three innings at the south London ground, moving him level with some legends of the game.

But the 31-year-old says this wicket is quite different to the more typical Oval surface that India played on in 2021.

“The pitch is definitely different. Last time we played here there was some help obviously in the first innings and the ball was doing a bit," he said.

“Everyone has observed that whenever there is a cloud cover the ball in England moves around. It was the same story last time and we were batting first, I remember. But as the game went forward, as teams started taking rollers in the morning or during the change of the innings, the pitch changed a lot.

“It became flat to bat on last time around, but this time it's not anything like that – it was under prepared I felt going in and we saw yesterday and today that it was bit up and down.”

India and Australia will resume on Saturday morning with the weather set to be largely fair as Thakur and company go in search of the six remaining Australian wickets.


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