WTC Final: Gill departs early as Australia set record 444-run chase for India

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Shubman Gill, left and India's Rohit Sharma | AP

London: Australia set India a record 444-run target on a tricky pitch after Alex Carey propped up their second innings total to 270 for eight before declaring midway into the afternoon session.

India kept things tight in the morning but Carey (66 not off 105) and Mitchell Starc (51 off 47) showed aggressive intent to share a 93-run stand off 120 balls for the seventh wicket.

They collected 69 valuable runs off 87 balls before Pat Cummins declared the innings after his own dismissal.

The time of the declaration was questionable considering the 263 is the highest fourth innings chase at The Oval and 418 in overall Test history.

Skipper Rohit Sharma (22 batting) and Shubman Gill (18) looked comfortable against Cummins and Scott Boland.

However, at the stroke of tea, Boland got one to bounce little extra from length and it flew from ball the shoulder of Gill's bat only to be lapped up by a diving Cameron Green at gully.

It was the second time in the game that Green took a screamer though replay suggested it was a close call with the ball very close to the ground.

Rohit began with pull shot off Cummins before hitting him past the mid-on fielder in the following over. A crowd full of Indians really got going when Rohit pulled Mitchell Starc's second ball of the opening for a six over fine leg.

In the first session, India picked up a couple of wickets but Australia chugged away to take extend their overall lead to 374 runs after reaching 201 for 6 at lunch on day four of the World Test Championship final here.

Australia had to battle hard to get 78 runs in 26 overs from the morning session. On the hottest morning of the game, the pitch continued to play plenty of tricks with both seamers and spinners being in business.

Australia, who resumed the day at 123 for four, lost Marnus Labuschagne (41 off 126) in the third over of the day. The Aussie batter was not able to add to his overnight score as he edged a beauty from Umesh Yadav (2/32 in 12 overs) that pitched around off-stump and nipped away.

Considering the ball was 44 overs old, Umesh and Shami started the proceedings for India looking for reverse swing in dry and hot conditions. The ball has been taking off or skidding through from a particular spot on length from the pavilion end and that kept the batters guessing on Saturday.

Mohammed Siraj, who has troubled the Aussie batters the most in the game, got one to kick off the from the spot and hit Green's right shoulder.

Ravindra Jadeja (3/45 in 18 overs) was brought into the attack after eight overs and his tactics were pretty clear: get the ball to turn sharply from outside the leg stump. The ploy worked as Green, offered a big stride in order to play a forward defensive stroke but the ball bounced a tad more and hit the glove before bouncing on to hit the stumps.

Ajinkya Rahane, who was hit on the finger while batting, did not take the field as a precautionary measure. PTI

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