India need 87 more runs to clinch the series

A terrific display of fast bowling from Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar on Monday knocked over the dangerous top-order, and the spinners took charge to dismantle the rest of the visiting batting line-up for an embarrassing 137 in the post lunch session.

Australia, who had done everything right so far to remain in contention till lunch on Day Three, suffered a batting collapse. In their reply, India were 19 for no loss needing another 87 runs to win the Test as well as the series.

Resuming at a perilous position of 92 for 5 in their second innings, Australia went deep into their shells and never recovered. The only batsmen who found runs against India in the second innings, Glenn Maxwell was dismissed off a tight umpire’s call when the batsman did not offer any shot and was trapped leg-before. Maxwell reviewed it, but the ball’s trajectory showed it was clipping the leg-stump. Pat Cummins got together with Matthew Wade to stonewall for most of the second session, and this is where Australia appeared to have surrendered the game to India.

After taking a slender lead of 32 runs in the first innings, India made most of the second new ball with their fast bowlers producing the best show so far in this series. However, the star of India’s ascension to the position of command was Ravindra Jadeja, who scored a fabulous 63 in the first innings, and added 96 runs with Wriddhiman Saha for the seventh wicket which gave India a chance in the contest, after they had slipped to 248 for 6 at the end of the second day.

Later, Jadeja claimed a fine 3 for 24 in the second innings to help India march towards their seventh series win on the trot, a fabulous run which began with their win in Sri Lanka in mid 2015.

Australia were bowled out for a mere 137, leaving India 106 to win the series. Australia began their attack with Pat Cummins, who went for three boundaries in the first over itself. KL Rahul, who has been in supreme form this series, resumed his battle with Cummins and got success right away.

Cummins and Wade added a mere 15 runs in a little over 15 overs in the final session to delay the inevitable. However, Ravindra Jadeja’s brilliance broke that stubborn stand, and Umesh as well as Ashwin combined together to clean up the Australian tail.

Wade faced 90 balls and remained unbeaten on 25. However, he may cop some criticism for not looking for runs when there was still time, as he opened up only when Josh Hazlewood, the No. 10, joined him in the middle. At one stage, Wade had faced as many as 76 balls and had scored a mere 9 runs.

However, it was India all the way who grasped control of the game just when it mattered. India came out flying post lunch, and bowled with tremendous intensity and intent to utilise the new ball. David Warner and Matt Renshaw were removed after a flurry of short balls, but what perhaps made the biggest difference was a lucky but well-thought wicket of Steven Smith.

Smith pulled a short ball for a boundary and followed it up with a drive for another four, which prompted Bhuvneshwar to bowl another short ball. However, it was just a trick but got rich results, with Smith getting an inside edge that crashed into his wickets.

Maxwell launched an attack against Kuldeep Yadav to give Australia some much-needed runs. He added 56 runs for the fourth wicket with Peter Handscomb (18), as Shaun Marsh (1) suffered a back-related problem and batted lower in the order.

 

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