Australia’s Cameron Green produced a sensational catch on the fourth afternoon of the World Test Championship final as India’s pursuit of a record fourth-innings chase suffered its first blow.
Pat Cummins declared midway through the fourth afternoon at the Oval on 270 for eight, leaving more India needing an unprecedented 444 to win in just over four sessions.
Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill made a fearless start as they began chipping away at their target but in the final over before tea, Scott Boland took the latter’s outside edge. Green flung his 6ft 6in frame low to his left to pull off a stunning one-handed take.
The heavily partisan India-supporting crowd made it clear they felt the ball had been grounded and Gill should be reprieved, but there was little of substance to overturn the wicket and the TV umpire, Englishman Richard Kettleborough, took a long and deliberate look in slow motion before upholding the dismissal.
There were loud jeers and boos, as well as some chants of “cheat”, from the stands, but there was no doubt that Green – who also claimed a stunner to dismiss Ajinkya Rahane on day three – had taken his country one step closer to the global crown.
India will resume on 41 for one, knowing no team has ever scored more than 418 to win a Test in the fourth innings and no Indian side has ever bettered 406.
Australia had earlier progressed with relative serenity towards their declaration.
Marnus Labuschagne failed to add to his overnight score of 41 before nicking Umesh Yadav to slip, and Green ground out a sedate 25 before diverting spinner Ravindra Jadeja into his own stumps as he ploughed away on a leg-stump line, but the runs kept flowing.
All eyes were on Cummins from the moment the advantage snaked past 400 and he finally obliged when he was eighth man out, thrashing Mohammed Shami into the on-side.