Australia seamer Mitchell Starc believes it is far too early for his team to consider declaring and setting India an easy win target in the ongoing ICC World Test Championship (WTC) final at The Oval.
Day three of 'The Ultimate Test' saw India keep the match alive heading into the weekend, which will determine where the WTC mace will travel.
The Australian team have dominated the first three days at The Oval, and they head into Saturday's penultimate day with a 296-run lead and No. 1 ranked Test batter Marnus Labuschagne still at the crease with six wickets remaining.
Chasing large totals in the fourth innings of Test matches has become quite a fad during this World Test Championship period, with England's "bazball" approach with the bat under new coach Brendon McCullum allowing them to make a habit of successful fourth innings run chases, including their effort of reaching 378 for victory against India last year at Edgbaston.
But Starc understands that this one-off encounter at The Oval is an entirely different possibility, and there is still plenty of time for his team to make a statement.
"I haven't spoken to Pat (captain Pat Cummins) yet, so I don't know and it's not my decision, but I think we will keep batting for now. We have still got two days to play. The weather's been good and I think it's warmer tomorrow. Hopefully, the pitch starts playing a few more tricks but as far as I know it, we are still going to be batting tomorrow," Starc said in a post-match press conference.
To win the Test at The Oval, India would have to break a 121-year record. The biggest successful run chase in the last innings of a Test at the famed London venue was achieved in 1902, when England chased down 263 against Australia.
The pitch appears to be slightly tough this time around, with Australia and India's bowlers extracting some invariable bounce as early as the first day.
"It's certainly showing more signs of inconsistency as we go on," Starc said of the pitch.
"It seems to be a good toss to lose. But yeah, I think obviously with the weather that we've had and the weather that's coming up, it might play some more tricks. I think it's supposed to be 29 (degrees) tomorrow and a bit of sunshine over the weekend, so it might just play a few more tricks as the game goes on," the Australia pacer added. (ANI)