World Test Championship Final Day 4: Umpiring Controversy Overshadows the Battle for the Mace

The fourth day of the absorbing World Test Championship final between Australia and India at The Oval was marred by an umpiring controversy that led to the dismissal of Indian opener Shubman Gill. This sparked controversy both on and off the field, with protests by players and spectators alike. By the end of the day, India was 164 for 3, chasing a record target of 444.

Controversial Catch

The controversy began when Cameron Green, the gully fielder, claimed a one-handed catch near the turf to dismiss Shubman Gill for 18. Videos and pictures suggested that the ball might have touched the ground when Green’s hand made contact. However, third umpire Richard Kettleborough ruled the catch was fair, and Gill was given out. Gill later took to social media, posting a screenshot of the catch with a ‘facepalm’ emoji, fanning the flames of controversy further. Meanwhile, the decision prompted a chorus of boos from the pro-Indian crowd at The Oval. Indian skipper Rohit Sharma argued profusely with the umpires, and Green was targeted with relentless heckles and jeers of “cheat, cheat, cheat.”

India’s Pursuit

In pursuit of a world record chase of 444, India ended the fourth day on 164 for 3. Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane were unbeaten at the crease with scores of 44 and 20, respectively, crafting a solid stand of 71 for the fourth wicket. The dismissal of Gill, followed by the self-inflicted departures of Rohit Sharma (43 off 60) and Cheteshwar Pujara (27 off 47), left India at 93 for three in the 31st over. The highest successful run chase in Test history is 418, achieved by the West Indies against Australia in 2003. With Kohli’s late resistance and Rahane’s support, India is 280 runs away from making history on the intriguing final day of the summit clash.

Australia’s Innings

Earlier in the day, Australia declared their second innings at 270 for 8. This came after an unbeaten 66 from wicketkeeper Alex Carey and a 93-run partnership between Carey and Mitchell Starc. Australia’s first-innings lead had been built on steady performances, including a scratchy 25 off 95 balls by Green before he was out to Indian spinner Ravindra Jadeja. Despite early wickets by India when Australia resumed its second innings, including the departure of Marnus Labuschagne without adding to his overnight total of 41, Australia maintained control.

Looking Ahead

Australia is seven wickets away from winning its maiden World Test Championship mace. While India, under the leadership of a focused Kohli, requires another 280 runs to create history. The final day of the World Test Championship promises to be a gripping contest. Reflecting on the day’s events, Alex Carey said, “We’ve got the runs on the board that we would have liked. Always want to take more wickets, but they played well. We’ve got a good chance tomorrow. It’s going to be a case of coming here tomorrow and being patient, putting the ball in the right area, and trying to take those seven chances.” The World Test Championship final between Australia and India will resume on Sunday evening at 7.30 pm AEST.

Key Highlights:

Cameron Green’s contentious catch of Shubman Gill added a layer of controversy to the match. The third umpire’s decision was met with protests and sparked widespread discussion. India, despite losing early wickets, ended the day at 164 for 3. Kohli and Rahane’s unbeaten partnership presents hope for a historic chase on the final day. Australia’s innings declared at 270 for 8, was defined by Carey’s unbeaten 66 and a notable partnership with Mitchell Starc. The Australian side is currently seven wickets away from clinching the Championship.

Setting the Stage for the Final Day

As we move into the final day of this gripping match, spectators and experts alike will be keenly watching the unfolding events. While the target of 444 for India might seem daunting, the Kohli-Rahane partnership could prove to be a game-changer. For Australia, the focus will be on taking the remaining seven wickets. Their challenge lies in overcoming the resilience of India’s middle order. With the controversy of the disputed catch still hanging in the air, the pressure on both teams will be immense. However, as Carey pointed out, patience and precision will be crucial. The exciting conclusion of this World Test Championship final is eagerly anticipated by cricket fans worldwide. It has been a match filled with high-level performances, dramatic twists, and controversies. As the last day’s play approaches, all eyes will be on The Oval to see whether India can complete a record chase or if Australia will capture their maiden World Test Championship mace.

The Controversy Continues

The catch controversy is likely to continue to be a talking point in the days following the match. In the meantime, Green’s catch has added another layer to the cricketing folklore. He said after the play, “At the time, I definitely thought I caught it. I think in the heat of the moment, I thought it was clean. It was left up to the third umpire, and he agreed.” As always, cricket continues to be as much about the excitement on the field as the debates it stirs off of it. With one more day to go in this thrilling match, the stage is set for a fitting conclusion to the World Test Championship Final.

From the cricket field, we turn our attention to American football, where the AFC Championship game offered an equally compelling spectacle.

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