WTC Final 2023: Australia dominant despite Ajinkya Rahane, Shardul Thakur-led India fightback on Day 3

However, the massive 173-run first innings lead came to their rescue. With six wickets still in hand, Australia are leading India by 296 runs. Mohammed Siraj struck early once again and got rid of David Warner (1 off 8) with an out-swinging delivery in the fourth over.

Warer’s opening partner Usman Khawaja failed for the second consecutive time and was undone by Umesh Yadav after edging a delivery into the gloves of Srikar Bharat.

Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne joined hands in the middle for a 62-run partnership off 96. Just when it looked like India would again have to wait to get the two set batters for a long time, Ravindra Jadeja got rid of Smith who charged down the wicket while trying to clear the mid-on region.

However, the ball ballooned up in the air after a leading edge as Shardul Thakur ran towards his right from point to complete the catch. Later, Travis Head, who scored a hundred alongside Smith in the first innings, was also caught and bowled by Jadeja for 18 off 27.

Labuschagne and Cameron Green were unbeaten on 41 and 7 runs respectively at the time of stumps on Friday.

Earlier, replying to Australia’s 469, India were all out for 296 in 69.4 overs. Ajinkya Rahane could not score a century (89 off 129 balls) on comeback as he departed in the second over after lunch, brilliantly caught by Cameron Green at gully off skipper Pat Cummins.

Resuming the day on 151 for five, India lost wicketkeeper-batter KS Bharat (5) early when Scott Boland cleaned him up. But the pair of Rahane and Shardul Thakur (51) led India’s resistance.

Brief scores: Australia 1st Innings: 469 India 1st Innings: 296 all out in 69.4 overs (Ajinkya Rahane 89, Shardul Thakur 51; Pat Cummins 3/83). Australia 2nd Innings: 123 for 4 in 44 overs (Marnus Labuschagne 41 not out; Ravindra Jadeja 2/25).

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