Australia is looking to extend its lead on day four of the World Test Championship final against India despite the early loss of Marnus Labuschagne.
India needed early wickets at The Oval on Saturday, and Umesh Yadav delivered. Labuschagne’s tentative forward press was edged to first slip, departing in the third over of the day without adding to his overnight total.
The Australians are currently 6-191, with Mitchell Starc (7*) and Alex Carey (35*) unbeaten in the middle.
MATCH CENTRE: Australia vs India, WTC day four scoreboard
The pitch’s variable bounce reached extreme levels in the morning session — some deliveries ballooned off a good length while others bounced twice through to the wicketkeeper.
Green looked in deep trouble after fending towards mid-on and setting off for a suicidal run, but Mohammed Siraj fumbled and missed the potential run-out opportunity.
Runs were hard to come by for the young West Australian, scratching his way towards 25 (95) before forgetting to use his bat against Indian spinner Ravindra Jadeja. Green half-heartedly attempted to pad away a full delivery that spun sharply and struck his glove, rolling back onto his stumps.
Aussies stunned in day 3 blunder-fest | 01:16
Mitchell Starc says Australia plans to capitalise on its commanding position in the World Test Championship final by keeping India in the field for as long as possible.
Despite an error-strewn display in the field at The Oval on Friday, Australia finished the third day 296 runs ahead of India.
Teams around the world have been unafraid of chasing big fourth-innings Test totals in recent years, but Starc said it was too early for Australia to be pondering setting India a victory target.
“I haven’t spoken to Pat (Cummins) yet, so I don’t know and it’s not my decision, but I think we will keep batting for now,” Starc said after the close of play on day three.
“We have still got two days to play. The weather’s been good and I think it’s warmer tomorrow. Hopefully the pitch starts playing a few more tricks but as far as I know it, we are still going to be batting tomorrow.”
Labuschagne, the world’s top-ranked Test batsman, survived several painful blows on a pitch of variable bounce to be 41 not out at stumps.
“We have quite a formidable score already but you just never know,” Labuschagne told BBC Radio.
“My hands are just about hanging on. I’ve got good bone density. It is lively out there, and that does make it challenging when they bounce like that off a length, but that happens as a batter and you’ve just got to find a way through it.”
Green takes absolute screamer on Day 3 | 00:32
India batter Ajinkya Rahane (89), who along with Shardul Thakur (51) helped steady their team with a seventh-wicket stand of 109 on the third day, insisted all was not lost for India.
“Australia are slightly ahead of the game,” he told Sky Sports. “In the morning the first hour will be very crucial. We know funny things can happen.”
This match is taking place just a week before Australia face England in an Ashes opener at Edgbaston.
“We’re certainly not taking this game as Ashes preparation,” said Labuschagne. “But it is certainly handy to have a Test of this calibre before a very big series.”
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