WTC Final 2023: All eyes on Kohli and Rahane as India in need of 280 with 7 wickets remaining on Day 5

Shubman Gill and Rohit gave India a solid start before the former was dismissed following a controversial catch by Cameron Green in the slip cordon. However, Cheteshwar Pujara and the Indian captain held the momentum after the 41-run stand was broken by Scott Boland.

The duo scored briskly and played some attacking cricket en route to their 51-run partnership off 77 balls. However, poor shot selection from the two senior batters saw India skittle from 92/1 in 19.4 overs to 93/3 in 20.4 overs.

The pressure immediately shifted on India and one more wicket would have made an Australia win a mere formality. However, former India captain and vice-captain duo of Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane brought in all their experience for an unbeaten 71-run partnership off 118 balls.

The surface appeared to have flattened and Kohli looked majestic during his unbeaten 44-run knock which included seven boundaries. Rahane, India’s leading run-scorer in the first innings, continued to showcase grit despite an injured finger and ensured India ended the day without any further blow. He collected 20 runs off 59 balls to give Kohli the perfect company.

Having finished Day 4 at 164/3, India still are in need of 280 runs on the final day and have seven wickets in hand. A lot will depend on the ongoing partnership between Kohli and Rahane. India will also need KS Bharat to pass the batting Test, and a show of character and grit from Ravindra Jadeja and Shardul Thakur.

The task ahead on the final day is difficult but Kohli and Rahane have given India a slight hope. The first session on Sunday will very well decide the type of finish this summit clash will be heading for.

Earlier on the fourth day, Australia resumed at their overnight score of 123/4, India managed to get two quick wickets to reduce Australia to 167/6, however, a seventh-wicket partnership for 93 runs between Alex Carey (66*) and Mitchell Starc (41) ensured that a mammoth target was set for Rohit Sharma’s men.

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