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Talking points from WTC Final 2023 day 3 – Can India still win?

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Last Updated on 12 months by Charbel Coorey

Cricket News: Talking points from WTC Final 2023 day 3 – Can India still win? | WTC Final 2023 prediction: Can India pull off stunning win?

India began the third day with half of their side back in the pavilion. To add to their wounds, Srikar Bharat was dismissed on just the second ball of the day. Another Scott Boland delivery nipping back ended up disturbing an Indian batter’s stumps. At that point, Australia were quite comfortably in the driver’s seat.

When Shardul Thakur walked in to bat, India trailed by a massive 317 runs, needing 117 runs to avoid the follow on. However, it was then that an extraordinary eighth wicket partnership started to take shape.

Although it was not without some luck for the Shardul and Rahane, the pair still put up a brilliant 109-run stand in a fighting cause. From a position where it looked like an Australia win was the only possible result, the partnership added some life to the game.

On that note, let us take a look at three talking points from Day 3 of the WTC Final.

ALSO READ: Highest successful run chases at The Oval

WTC 2023 Final day 3 talking points: Are Australia too far ahead now?

1. Ajinkya Rahane plays the knock of a warrior on his comeback

Rahane, in his first Test since January 2022, reminded all of his class. Like he has often done in the past, he once again played a superb fighting knock to bring India back into the game. His 89 was a test of his character, which he passed with aplomb thanks to a batting exhibition.

The 35-year old put up a show, piercing gaps on the off-side more often than not. Throughout his knock, he played the ball very late, and never lost his shape in the process. While visuals showed others making contact with the ball outside the crease, Rahane’s points of interception were much closer to his body.

He was standing deep in his crease compared to the likes of Virat Kohli and Marnus Labuschagne, and his trigger movement saw him go further back. Playing late and close to the body is one of the keys to success in England, and Rahane adapted in the best possible manner.

He missed out on a ton by just 11 runs. Nevertheless, his knock has potentially pulled India back into the game from the jaws of defeat.

2. Shardul Thakur makes a case to cement his spot as India’s premier pace bowling all-rounder

Cricket News: Talking points from WTC Final 2023 day 3 - Can India still win? | WTC Final 2023 prediction: Can India pull off stunning win?
Talking points from WTC Final 2023 day 3 – Rahane and Shardul were superb

Shardul may have his weaknesses as a cricketer, but he is a true fighter. He may not consistently get big scores with the bat and may bowl the odd wayward delivery, but he showed some real character on day three.

He took multiple blows to the body, but never allowed it to affect his approach. Two consecutive deliveries from Pat Cummins that rose up sharply off the pitch hit Shardul on his right forearm. He was in immense pain, but he did not throw his wicket away, ensuring he got in line with the ball each time.

Not too long after that, he creamed a cover drive off Mitchell Starc, and then timed an on-drive to perfection off Cummins’ bowling. The resilient knock came to an end only after he got to his half-century. In the process, he joined an elite list; he became only the third visiting batsman ever to score three consecutive Test scores of 50 or more at The Oval, joining the great Sir Don Bradman and Allan Border.

3. Australia play some ordinary cricket to give India hope

Talking points from WTC Final 2023 day 3 – Pat Cummins and Australia were ill-disciplined at times

After dominating the first two days of the Test, Australia lost control of things somewhat on the third day. As good as the Rahane-Shardul duo was, both got lucky on numerous occasions.

Rahane, on day two, was dismissed off a no ball from the Australian skipper. He got another life when he was dropped on 72. Cummins found Rahane’s outside edge, but in a moment of indecisiveness between David Warner and Alex Carey, neither went for the catch wholeheartedly.

Shardul, on the other hand, was dropped by Usman Khawaja on just the fourth delivery he faced. It was a tough chance that flew off Shardul’s outside edge. Had the Australian batter reacted a few milliseconds earlier, he could have put India into further trouble. Shardul was again dropped on eight by Cameron Green, who could not hold on to a sitter at gully.

Later, he missed a flick and got struck on the pads. It was given out by the umpire, but Cummins had overstepped yet again.

With the bat, David Warner, Usman Khawaja and Steve Smith gave their wickets away. Travis Head looked all at sea. With the chance to really drive home the advantage, Australia were quite loose, giving India some hope that they are not out of the match just yet.

With the kind of batting potential India possesses, even 350 would not be impossible to chase, albeit on a tricky pitch. If anything, this gives the Australian management a lot to think about, irrespective of the result of this game. From a champion side like Australia, a tad more professionalism is expected.

ALSO READ: Top 5 highest successful run chases at The Oval

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