India

Australia v India WTC Final Day Four In-play Tips: Australia on brink of title win

Mitchell Starc
Starc and Australia have been excellent in the field

Ed Hawkins has the data on hand for what India may have to chase and how long Australia will need to bowl for in the fourth innings at The Oval

  • India need to rewrite history

  • Shorting fourth-innings runs a play

  • How aggressive will Aussies be


Australia v India
Saturday, 10 June 10:30
TV: Live on Sky Sports

No stopping Aussies now

The narrative remains the same three days into the World Test Championship Final. India are in the mire and sinking. They face a mammoth task to even save the game with two days left, a third if any overs are lost to rain, and they trail by a whopping 296 runs with six wickets remaining. Australia are 1.351/3 with the draw 7.206/1.

It is curious, however, that India are a skinnier price at the close of day three than day two. They are 7.6013/2.

Records would have to be shattered if they were to win from here. Another 100 for the Aussies would mean India would have to bust into the top five of highest chases.

Perhaps they will be emboldened by England's chase of 378 against them only last year, which rocketed into ninth position on the all-time list. But it sure as hell doesn't have the feel of a 7.6013/2 shot

More likely is that history is having a say. India have something of a psychological grip on the Aussies going after a target. In 2021 they infamously got after 328 with three wickets to spare. The same year at the SCG they were 334-5 going after 407.

Still, the truly historic data suggests the game is already won and it has to be said that Australia just aren't short enough with a huge lead, an incredible pace attack and a wearing pitch. If you haven't backed them yet as advised, do so. They should be skinnier. . The highest fourth-innings chase at The Oval is 263 and that was in 1902. On the 11 occasions a team has been set between 296 and 396 to win, the highest score managed was England's 261 for seven in 1983. The average all-out score is 174.

We are getting into India runs territory here and that could be a profitable option for the action to come. The Gabba and SCG efforts aside, India have been beaten in their last three fourth-innings efforts in England. At the Rose Bowl in 2018 they were set 245 and were bundled out for 184, 464 was the target at The Oval the same year and they managed 345. Also in 2018 they were set 194 and managed 162.

With the pitch still offering plenty for the bowlers and no sign that the prospect of uneven bounce has diminished, it is not the sort of featherbed that one would expect big totals on at this juncture. Batting should get tougher.

A short of India runs, then at around 270-280 could well be a decent play when the time comes.

No more than 100 overs needed

Given this final's unfortunate context as a warm-up for Australia's Ashes campaign one cannot help but feel that if England had been in the Aussie position starting a third innings, they would be at least 100 runs better off.

So how positive will Australia be if they get into a declaration position? Well, they will surely require a minimum of two new balls to secure the title.

The data below suggests, on average, they will need 10 overs for each wicket although once all is said and done it should probably be less than that. Surely they will not opt to bat all day on day four, though. The ubiquitous 'tricky hour' in the final session is an option.

But it is all dependant on how quickly they can score. A lead of 400 should be more than enough. England will be watching with grins on their faces. Any hint of a go-slow or negativity and they will sniff blood already.

Yet England need that. The true take home from this Test has been the performance of Australia's three pacers. Pat Cummins, Scott Boland and Mitchell Starc have been superb. India are unlikely to be able to resist them for long, England don't have to wait long to find out how they fare.

Overs required per wicket by innings
First innings 12
Second innings 7
Third innings 11

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