Mon, 02 Oct 2023

London [UK], June 10 (ANI): All-rounder Shardul Thakur, who stepped up for India on Friday scoring a valiant 51 under pressure, was optimistic that 450 runs can be chased down in the ongoing ICC World Test Championship (WTC) final against Australia here at The Oval.

The first half of Day 3, saw impressive contributions from Ajinkya Rahane (89) and Shardul Thakur (51) to help India reach a total of 296 in their first innings, avoiding the follow-on after lunch on day three but handing Australia a 173-run lead going into their second dig.

Thakur scored three half-centuries in three innings at The Oval before leaving for a lively 51.

The all-rounder's century puts him in exclusive company as one of only three players in the game's history to record three successive 50-plus scores at the south London venue.

"Well, cricket is a funny game. You can never say what is the right total and this one-off game, especially ICC finals, you never know, I mean, who can handle the pressure better out there, one good partnership when you can even chase down 450 or maybe more than that," Shardul Thakur said in a post-match press conference.

"Last year England chased 400 here and they did not lose too many wickets. So that's a positive sign for us. Whatever they put up on the board, it's too early to make any predictions. We see a lot of times in Test cricket that game changes within an hour. So yes, we like to be optimistic tomorrow going on the field. And yeah, we'll take it on from there," Shardul added.

At the beginning of the day, Ajinkya Rahane and Shardul Thakur's partnership laid the groundwork for India to fight back after having their backs against the wall for the better part of two days.

When asked why Ajinkya Rahane did not field after reaching 89, Thakur revealed that he got hit on the finger while batting, but that it doesn't appear that awful.

"Rahane got hurt in his finger and he is getting it treated. It does not look too bad and he will certainly come out to bat. We just spoke to each other and Rahane guided me well as we were also the last recognized pair. Ajinkya Rahane has performed well for India on many occasions. He has struck many tons and has been involved in big partnerships. He has performed in England, Australia and South Africa. He has got experience," the India all-rounder added.

Thakur described the wicket as "underprepared".

"There is an area where the ball is lifting up. There is a crack over there. You have to be careful and watchful. If it bounces then good luck to the batter. Ball was doing a bit. The pitch was under-prepared as the ball was bouncing as well as keeping low. Travis Head came and swung his bat and got some quick runs. Maybe we could have bowled some more bouncers to him," Thakur said.

Coming to the match, Australia lead the ICC World Test Championship Final by 296 runs going into day four, but counterattacking half-centuries from Ajinkya Rahane and Shardul Thakur were followed by a superb bowling performance to give India a glimmer of hope after a thrilling day's play.

Australia closed the day at 123/4 in 44 overs, with Marnus Labuschagne and Cameron Green unbeaten at 41(118) and 7(27) respectively. (ANI)

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