India knew they could only hope to survive when they began the first session of day three

Ravindra Jadeja gets 2 wickets in the beginning of the 2nd innings

Ajinkya Rahane and Shardul Thakur’s heroic runs and a better bowling performance than in the first innings helped India struggle brilliantly on the third day of the WTC final, but by the end of the day it was clear they had lost too much ground on the previous two days. 

After taking body blows to amazingly reduce the score to 173, they started the day 318 behind with half of their team out. However, they concluded the day 296 behind with six Australian wickets still standing.

India knew they could only hope to survive as they started each day’s sessions. Australia advanced gradually throughout the lengthy final period to leave India anywhere between just alive and out of the game, despite managing to avoid being completely outclassed.

The second ball of the day was bowled to KS Bharat by Scott Boland, who got off to a metronomic start until slipping under his inside edge. Rahane and Thakur, the two batters, were subsequently subjected to torturous pitches from Pat Cummins and Boland. They pushed forward quickly and furiously for most of the first hour. Thakur was compelled to take a pain reliever and put padding on both of his forearms.

Australia did not, however, put on a flawless performance on the field. With three wickets coming off of his final six no-balls, Pat Cummins had a successful day. 

On the third day, he failed to take Thakur’s wicket after Rahane and Ravindra Jadeja on the second day. In the slip cordon, there were three catches lost. To maintain control, Mitchell Starc fought hard.

Rahane and Thakur started scoring freely after eliminating the threat posed by Cummins and Boland. By lunchtime, Rahane was 11 runs away from what would have been a memorable century on his Test homecoming, while Thakur was 14 runs away from his third fifty-single game at The Oval in three innings. Before the second new ball, India had a strong chance of significantly lowering the 209-run deficit because the 60-over old ball had quit acting up by this point.

After lunch, however, Rahane chased down a wide delivery and edged it, only for Cameron Green to make an amazing grab in the gully. Thakur was able to reach his half-century despite the last three wickets adding only 35.

India bowled more accurately than they did in the opening innings. Following David Warner’s early dismissal, Mohammed Siraj in particular saw uneven bounce. Marnus Labuschagne’s hands lost control of the bat twice as a result of an impact, just as it had done with Thakur before. 

He was once carried off his feet. When Usman Khawaja waved at a wide delivery, Umesh Yadav took advantage of the pressure by getting his first wicket of the game.

In spite of Labuschagne’s struggles and India’s current score of 24 for 2, they would have hoped for additional advantages. However, Steven Smith played a breezy knock to force India back. Smith looked for quick runs in the second innings after preparing himself for a lengthy effort in the first, scoring 12 runs off of his first seven balls. Now that Smith appeared to be in line for a huge, easy knock, India’s second string of quick bowlers began to bowl with spread-out fields.

The third time throughout the Test, Smith attempted to charge Jadeja at that point. The first two times, in the early innings, he was able to get just enough of a half-hit to avoid mid-off, but this time the surface had enough grip to allow him to take the edge for point and make the catch. For India, it was a relief that Smith was dismissed for just 34 runs despite having a control rate of more than 90%.

Travis Head was then struck out by Jadeja using the rough outside the left-hand batters off stump. Standing far outside the crease to face the Indian quicks, Labuschagne never seemed to be in complete control. He finished the day at 41 out of 118, but he and Green stopped India from achieving any more success. To their credit, India kept the run rate well under three per over and didn’t give them any easy runs.

Australia had already accomplished half of their task, and they would like to give their fast bowlers at least 24 hours to rest before making their final championship drive.