World Test Championship Final: Time for Team India’s dreams to come true: India target 280 runs on final day today
The time has come for Team India’s dreams to come true. Team India needs 280 runs to win the World Test Championship Final on the last day. Seven wickets left in hand. Batting giants Virat Kholi and Ajinkya Rahane are at the crease.
World cricket fans are waiting for their performance. On the other hand, Australia is determined to win the title by taking wickets with the best bowling. However, Team India, especially Kholi and Rahane, are determined to win the title.
WTC Final: Time for Team India’s dreams to come true: Final Day Target 280 runs
In Cricket, India will resume their second innings with their overnight score of 123 for four on the final day of the World Test Championship final at the Oval in England today. Virat Kohli on 44 and Ajinkya Rahane on 20 were at the crease.
India still need 280 runs to win the match with seven wickets in hand.
Earlier, Australia declared their second innings at 270 runs for the loss of eight wickets.
India will have to shatter the record for the highest successful run chase in the history of Test cricket to win the WTC Final encounter.
Virat Kohli had that look in his eye. You can argue that he’s always intense and wired like few cricketers have been on a cricket field. But there’ve been some days in his career where Kohli’s intensity is so heightened that he looks in a trance. The evening of and the morning after his remarkable knock against Pakistan in the last T20 World Cup at the MCG being the latest example. Like a man possessed by his own ambition and drive.
That’s what it felt like as you saw the former India captain walk off the field with Ajinkya Rahane at the end of the fourth day’s play in the World Test Championship Final. There were no words exchanged between the two. Just a fist-bump as they approached the boundary ropes. That is before Kohli took his helmet off and blew a kiss to his wife Anushka Sharma, who was sat in one of the boxes above the Indian pavilion. And then he was off, receiving a few pats on the back from the support staff, before disappearing into the dressing-room.
Kohli had just spent a good hour and a half playing one of his more sublime Test knocks in recent years. He’d pulled out all the hits. There were a couple of trademark drives, a few delectable flicks off the pads and some very judicious leaves. But most importantly, there was a sense of purpose in every movement he made at the crease. The feet moved forward and back fluidly and adeptly regardless of what lengths the Aussie fast bowlers were targeting him with. He also managed to smother whatever Nathan Lyon threw at him in what was an impressive spell from the crafty off-spinner. And then he had Ajinkya Rahane, his tag-team partner in so many bouts with Australia over the years, complementing him perfectly at the other end. As the seasoned duo left The Oval on Saturday (June 10), India could dare to dream. And why not.
Chasing down a target over 400 in Test cricket is akin to winning a lottery. There’s, after all, always that feeling that you have a chance. You live in hope. You feel like this could be your time. But then you don’t. There’s a reason why it’s been done only on four occasions in nearly 150 years of Test cricket. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t believe you’ll get it done some day. Much like winning a lottery. And if India do get close to incredibly scoring 444 for victory, the highest-ever total to win a Test, it will count as the ultimate Powerball, the ultimate jackpot, in the ultimate Test.
Based on how well Kohli and Rahane batted on the fourth evening, their record batting together against Australia, and India’s will to win an elusive world title, you can look at the 280 runs left to win as being a reasonable possibility. But then you factor in that they only have seven wickets left, a longish tail post Shardul Thakur at No 8, and a pitch that will possibly offer a lot more tricks than it did on Day 4.
That India managed to pull off the unthinkable at The Gabba only two and a half years ago will certainly add to the optimism. And though India needed to score 44 more runs than they’ll have to on Sunday (June 11) at The Oval, you can’t compare the two without noting some obvious and telling differences.
Back in January 2021, Australia had three very tired fast bowlers who had bowled a lot of overs already in the previous three Tests, mainly courtesy Cheteshwar Pujara. They had a rattled captain in Tim Paine, who was coming off one of his worst performances as a wicket-keeper. And they had a desperate Nathan Lyon trying his best to win a Test on the final day after having failed to do so for a while, and in a series where he’d hardly made an impact till that point.
India also had all 10 wickets in hand at the start of the day. And they had Rishabh Pant. You could argue that the presence of an inspired Kohli and an in-form Ravindra Jadeja will make up for the absence of Pant in London. But the fact that KS Bharat is yet to take to Test cricket with the bat, despite his obvious abilities, also adds a layer of doubt about how India could pull this off in case Kohli and Rahane don’t take this very deep.
Here, Australia have three fresh fast bowlers, albeit still finding their rhythm, and a pitch that despite slowing down on Day 4 still has shown enough spite to be a handful to deal with on the final day
What Australia also have is a fired-up Lyon, who asked more testing questions of the Indian batters than any of his bowling colleagues. And there will be footmarks for him to work with, especially once Jadeja, who will be a vital cog, gets to the crease.
In Mohammed Shami’s words, the only talk in the Indian camp is about how they can chase the remaining runs down, even if a draw will ensure that they get to share the trophy. And that he wouldn’t mind it either if it was him hitting the winning runs.
As far as the Australians go, they went straight into a team meeting after play. Bar something exceptional and truly special, this still remains their match to win, having been the better team for large parts of it.
And while millions of Indians will wake up on Sunday with hope that their team could pull off another miracle, Pat Cummins and his team will arrive at The Oval with the belief that they could get the remaining seven Indian wickets without any alarms on the final day of this occasionally one-sided but mostly fascinating Test, knowing very well that Kohli will stand in their way, with that look in his eye.