3rd Test: India 98/2 at Stumps, Need 309 Runs to Beat Australia
Updates from the fourth day of the third Test between India and Australia.
The third Test between India and Australia will go into a fifth day with India at 98/2 at Stumps on Day 4. 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. On Day 5, India’s target will be another 309 runs while Australia will look to roll over the remaining 7 wickets quickly.
India’s chase of Australia’s 407-run target at the SCG got underway with openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill giving the team a strong start.
The team’s newest opening pair added 71 runs for the first wicket before Shubman Gill was caught-behind off Josh Hazlewood on 31.
The 71-run stand is in fact the series’ highest opening partnership with Gill and Sharma stepping out together for India for the first time. Shubman made his Test debut during this series while Rohit is playing his first match on this Australian tour after joining the team late due to an injury.
Cheteshwar Pujara then joined Rohit Sharma out in the middle as Rohit went onto complete his half century - his first as a Test opener outside India.
Rahane is now batting with Pujara with little under 15 minutes of play left in the day.
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.
Fans Evicted After India Complain
The start of what ended up being Australia’s final over of the match was delayed when Indian players made a complaint to umpires about unsavoury comments being made at Mohammed Siraj by a section of crowd.
The incident happened before the start of the 86th over when Siraj, fielding on the boundary line, rushed to skipper Ajinkya Rahane and raised the issue of some fans passing abusive comments directed at him. Rahane then walked up to the square leg umpire Paul Reiffel and complained about the same. While players huddled in the centre, security personnel entered the stands and a group of six Australian fans were removed from their seats by New South Wales Police.
Australia Set India a 407-Run Target
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 unleashed and scored four sixes before getting out and bringing an end to his 132-ball inning.
No Jadeja, Pant Yet
India fielded during the fourth day of the Test without Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja with both players still being treated for the injuries they suffered while batting on Day 3.
While wicketkeeper-batsman Pant, who was hit on his elbow by a delivery from Pat Cummins, still has some pain and is being treated, all-rounder Jadeja, who was hit on his left hand by a Mitchell Starc delivery that reared off the pitch, has dislocated his thumb.
Left-arm spinner Jadeja, who took a four-wicket haul and effected a run out, has not bowled at all in the second innings and may not be able to bat in India's second innings.
Pant, who was substituted by Saha behind the stumps, too may struggle to bat. The two had scored 64 combined in India's first innings, i.e over 26 per cent of India's total.
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