Thursday, 28 September, 2023

Warner falls in WTC final after India rally

Warner falls in WTC final after India rally

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David Warner fell early but Australia stretched their lead over India to 196 runs at tea on the third day of the World Test Championship final at The Oval on Friday.

Pat Cummins's team are well on top despite a battling display from India's lower order in their first innings.

When Scott Boland knocked over Srikar Bharat's stumps with the second ball of the day, India were 317 runs behind with just four first-innings wickets standing.

But a combination of dropped catches and costly no-balls, as well fine strokeplay, meant Australia took just one wicket before lunch.

India, having avoided the follow-on, were eventually dismissed for 296.

Rahane made 89 in his first Test in more than a year and all-rounder Shardul Thakur scored 51 -- the pair shared a stand of 109 in 22 overs.

Australia extended a first-innings lead of 173 to 196, reaching tea on 23-1 in their second innings

They were reduced to 2-1 when under-pressure opener Warner, who had managed just one century in his previous 33 Test innings, was caught behind off a Mohammed Siraj "wobble seam" ball.

On a pitch of variable bounce, new batsman Marnus Labuschagne was twice rapped on the gloves by deliveries that lifted off a good length -- a worrying sign for Australia ahead of next week's first Ashes Test at Edgbaston.

But at tea he was 13 not out.

Australia captain Pat Cummins took 3-83 in his 20 overs but his figures would have been better but for six no-balls.

Both Rahane and Thakur were struck painful blows by Australia's quicks, with Thakur dropped twice in single figures.

The worst error came when Thakur, on eight, edged Cummins to gully only for Cameron Green to drop a straightforward chance.

And just before lunch Thakur appeared to be lbw to fast bowler Cummins only for the batsman's review to reveal a no-ball.

Rahane, who would have been lbw for 17 on Thursday but for another Cummins no-ball, hooked the Australia skipper for a sweetly timed six to complete a 92-ball fifty -- a shot greeted by raucous cheers from the massed ranks of India fans at the sun-drenched ground.

Rahane was reprieved again on 72 when he got a thick edge off Cummins.

Australia wicketkeeper Alex Carey moved as if to go for the catch and first slip Warner was unable to cling on with a desperate left-hand grab.

But Rahane was denied a hundred when he fell for his lunch score of 89 after an edge off Cummins was brilliantly caught one-handed by a diving Green in the gully.

Thakur's off-driven four off Cummins took him to a 108-ball fifty before was caught behind off Green.