The ICC World Test Championship Final is heading to a fifth day and could yet see history made, with India chasing a record target. We take a look at some of the big talking points to come out of a fascinating day four.
Kohli holds key to India’s dwindling WTC hopes
The WTC Final isn’t mathematically over just yet, particularly with Virat Kohli still out in the middle.
Kohli’s every move has been cheered to the rafters by the India fans at The Oval this week, and he racked up yet another significant milestone when he passed 2000 career Test runs against Australia during his knock of 44* on Saturday evening, becoming one of just five Indian batters to have ever achieved the feat.
There is absolutely no doubt that Kohli and his partner Ajinkya Rahane have the quality to bat all day. And conditions should be good for batting again on Sunday, with the sun expected to beat down at The Oval on the hottest weekend of the year so far in south London.
But, with India facing a record target to win this Test, it will be truly extraordinary if these pair are to help rescue victory from the jaws of defeat.
Jadeja gets deserved slice of luck
Ravindra Jadeja bowled beautifully throughout much of Australia’s second innings, taking advantage of a bit of purchase from The Oval surface and hitting the patches of rough to ask some significant questions of Australia’s batters.
But India’s spinning all-rounder needed a slice of luck to get rid of a solid-looking Cameron Green.
Jadeja’s delivery turned just enough to drift past the bat and catch Green’s glove, from where the ball dropped down but with just enough momentum for it to bounce back up and onto the stumps.
You don’t see dismissals like that all too often, but it was a just reward for Jadeja's dangerous spell.
Lyon makes his mark once more
India chances of chasing down the highest-ever target to win a Test would have been great enhanced had their captain got a big score at the top of the order.
And Rohit Sharma looked in the mood too, cracking the second ball of the innings to the boundary and helping India score at a rapid rate at the start of the fourth innings.
But, in a game that has been dominated by India’s seamers, it was Nathan Lyon who made the crucial breakthrough.
Rohit went for the sweep, failed to make contact, and the ball struck him right in-front. It was worth a review just in case, but three reds send the captain packing.
Lyon is the top wicket-taker across this WTC cycle, with 85 to his name. And with plenty of rough to work with and the pitch offering some purchase, Lyon could well add to that tally on day five.
Carey plays a crucial role
Alex Carey has quietly been a very effective member of the Australia XI at The Oval.
The only time he looked particularly vulnerable was when he pulled out the reverse sweep, but he wisely kept that club in his bag for most of a half-century that pulled Australia to a near insurmountable margin.
Carey’s 48 in the first innings flew under the radar thanks to Travis Head and Steve Smith’s century efforts.
But his unbeaten 66* in the second was a warmly-welcomed top score for Australia, helping form partnerships with Cameron Green and Mitchell Starc that left India needing something really extraordinary to win this Final.
Green catch sparks discussion
Cameron Green’s catch off Shubman Gill was one of the most debated moments of the day inside The Oval.
It’s fair to say that a vocal number of India supporters in the stands felt that Green hadn’t taken the catch cleanly when he got down low to his left at gully to snaffle the edge.
And from the reaction of both Gill and Rohit Sharma out in the middle, it seemed like the batters agreed.
But the television umpire Richard Kettleborough was clear in his decision-making process and gave the catch.
It was the first such marginal incident since the removal of the soft signal from the game’s Playing Conditions.