India finds itself in a challenging position as they trail by 318 runs against Australia’s formidable first-innings total of 469 in the World Test Championship Final at The Oval. The onus is now on the last batting pair of Ajinkya Rahane and KS Bharat to provide some respite and help India narrow the gap.
Rahane, making a comeback to the Indian Test side after being dropped in March 2022, had a gritty stay at the crease, facing 71 deliveries to accumulate 29 runs. Bharat, the wicketkeeper-batsman, joined Rahane after the dismissal of Ravindra Jadeja by Nathan Lyon with a sublime delivery at the end of Day 2. Bharat is currently on 5 runs off 14 balls.
India’s hopes rest on the shoulders of Rahane and Bharat, who will need to showcase resilience and determination against the dominant Australian bowling attack. The Indian tailenders have a reputation for frustrating opposition bowlers in the past, which provides a glimmer of hope for the team.
However, Australia remains the favorite to establish a commanding first-innings lead and move closer to clinching the world title. Each of the five Australian bowlers has claimed one wicket apiece, highlighting their collective effort and ability to maintain pressure on the Indian batsmen.
Rahane’s struggle after being struck on the hand adds to India’s concerns, while Bharat also endured a couple of blows during his brief stint at the crease. The Indian team faces a herculean task against a potent bowling line-up, but cricket has shown time and again that miraculous comebacks are possible.
The question now looms: Can India stage a remarkable fightback, defying the odds against a formidable Australian side? Or will Pat Cummins and his bowling unit continue their dominance, further tightening their grip on the match?