AUSTRALIA. Melbourne: Indian bowlers have tightened the noose around the Australian batsmen and put India in a very strong position on the third day of the second test match between India and Australia at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). With two runs lead and only four wickets remaining, Australia is staring at the most likely defeat in the second test. On the wicket which has eased out considerably, the Australian top order succumbed to hostile pace followed by intelligent bowling of finger spinners. Australian score is reading 133 for 6 when play was called off for the day.
Indian batting hara-kiri
Indian batting started with a disastrous note when they resumed their innings with an overnight score of 277 for 5. The Indian captain, Ajinkya Rahane was run out for 114 when he tried to take a sharp single. The haunting memory of Virat Kohli’s run out at Adelaide was once again hovering over Indian batsmen. Ravindra Jadeja was desperate to get to his fifty and had pushed Rahane for a quick single. Rahane reacted slowly and found his bat on the crease when bails were taken off by the Australian wicketkeeper.
After Rahane’s dismissal, the Indian innings bundled out quickly. Indian innings terminated at 326 runs. The last five wickets added only 32 runs. Jadeja’s fifty was the only bright spot in the morning session of Indian innings.
With arrears of 131 runs, Australian innings commenced by losing Joe Burns in the fourth over. Umesh Yadav bowled a beautiful out-swinger to get rid of the Australian opener. Unfortunately, Yadav got injured immediately and was holding his hamstring when he limped back to the dressing room. Due to this, India is now one bowler short.
First innings top scorer for Australia Marnus Labuschagne then joined Mathew Wade. The duo added 38 runs before Labuschagne was completely deceived by the straighter delivery from Ravichandra Ashwin. After Labuschagne’s departure, Steve Smith was clean bowled round his leg stumps by Jasprit Bumrah. This series has become a ‘nightmarish series’ for Steve Smith. Wade also joined Smith after some time. Australia lost the well-settled batsman Wade for 40 runs. Indian spinner Jadeja took Wade’s wicket.
Three more Australian wickets fell post-tea session. With a score reading 66 for 9, the Australian lower order showed some dogged determination. Cameroon Green and Pat Cummins displayed their tenacity to stay at the wicket and managed to put an unbroken partnership of 34 runs. Cummins got a life when he was dropped by wicketkeeper Pant on the bowling of Ashwin. With a lead of two runs and only four wickets remaining, Australian batting is now finding a herculean task to get a substantial lead and put pressure on India.
Australia – First Innings : 195 All out. Second Innings : 133 for 6.
India – First Innings : 326 All out