Ruthless Australia in Dominant Position Against India After Day 4
Australia declared their second innings at 312/6 right after the teams went in for Tea on Day 4 of the match.
Australia’s day might have been marred by the incidents of racism on Day 4 in the Sydney Test, but they were firmly in command when stumps were drawn at the SCG on Sunday. India’s captain Ajinkya Rahane (4*) and Cheteshwar Pujara (9*) found themselves in familiar territory in the final hour of the day’s play and guided the side to 98/2 during their chase of 407.
India’s start to the difficult chase was a steady one with Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma negotiating the new ball before Australia found the first breakthrough in the 23rd over. Gill edging to Paine off Josh Hazlewood for 31. Soon after Pat Cummins had Rohit walking back, caught by Mitchell Starc for 52, playing his favourite pull shot.
India, who are already without the injured Ravindra Jadeja, though will have the services of Rishabh Pant with the bat available in the fourth innings.
Earlier, Australia declared their second innings at 312/6 right after the teams went in for the Tea break of Day 4 of the match.
The hosts started Day 4 on 103/2 with their lead at 197 runs and the two overnight batsmen – Steve Smith and Labuschagne – batted through the first hour of play to take their lead past 220.
Labuschagne even scored his 9th Test half century and got a reprieve on the second ball of the day when Hanuma Vihari dropped his catch at short square leg. Marnus was batting on 47 and Jasprit Bumrah was the bowler.
However, later it was Saini who got his wicket, caught-behind by Wriddhiman Saha on 73. Matthew Wade was his replacement and added 4 runs to the tally before also being caught by Saha off Saini.
Steve Smith and Cameron Green then added 60 runs together as the team went to Lunch at 182/4 with Smith having scored his half century.
Starting the second session, Smith and Green collected runs at a brisk pace and scored boundaries at will, adding pressure on the Indian bowlers. Smith (81) was the first wicket to fall in the session as he got out lbw against off spinner Ravichandran Ashwin for the third time in the series.
Paine, who came in next, started off slowly but once he got his eyes set, he punished the Indian bowlers and alongside Green, hit the ball to all parts of the ground. Green, in particular, was highly impressive as he scored his maiden half-century. The hosts were also helped by poor fielding by the Indian players who dropped plenty of catches.
After reaching the milestone, the all-rounder broke the shackles and smashed four sixes before getting out and bringing an end to his 132-ball innings. Australia with the score at 312/6, decided they had enough.
Chasing a mammoth target, Sharma and Gill once again provided India with a good start as the duo added 71-runs for the opening wicket. Both the batters collected runs at a brisk pace.
However, just when things seemed to be under control for the Indian team, Gill got out to a peach of a delivery from Josh Hazlewood in the 23rd over as he was caught behind.
Cheteshwar Pujara, who came in next, survived some nervy moments in the initial stage of his innings. Criticised heavily for his slow batting in the first innings, Pujara continued to bat in the same manner and shared a 21-run partnership with Sharma, who after reaching the 50-run milestone, fell prey to a bouncer bowled by Pat Cummins. Trying to hit a maximum, the 32-year-old was caught at fine-leg boundary by Mitchell Starc and thus, provided a big boost to the hosts.
Pujara (9*) and skipper Ajinkya Rahane (4*) then made sure India didn't lose any further wicket till the end of the day's play.
Brief scores: India 244 and 98/2 at Stumps on Day 4 (Rohit Sharma 52, Shubman Gill 31; Josh Hazlewood 1/11), Australia 338 and 312/6 decl (Cameron Green 84, Steve Smith 81; Navdeep Saini 2/54)
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