The Indians were expected to capitulate without a fight, but Ajinkya Rahane and Shardul Thakur had other ideas. With every minute of resistance, the decibel level from the crowd increased.
At the stroke of Lunch, the loudest roar came when Pat Cummins kicked the ball. Cummins was understandably angry, having been called for a no-ball when he had Thakur trapped plumb in front.
The Indian flag filled the stands, as the 25,170-strong crowd took delight in Australia’s agony. The atmosphere at The Oval was electric, in stark contrast to the sullen faces at the start of play.
Rahane (89, 129b, 11x4, 1x6) and Thakur (51, 109b, 6x4) put on 109 runs for the seventh wicket, raising India’s hopes of salvaging an honourable draw. The duo’s heroics helped India avoid the follow-on and finished with 296.
Australia moved to 123 for four at the close, with an overall lead of 296 runs. Cummins’ men continue to sit in the driver’s seat, but the Indians have shown the stomach for a fight.
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