Have India done enough to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy?
Day 3 of the Border-Gavaskar series lived up to its reputation of being the moving day and boy, hasn’t this game moved at the rate of knots. After two days of attritional Test cricket where the pitch was slow and dull and once again a draw was being speculated at the MCG, Day 3 came as a relief to the MCG curator as it is now certain that this test will definitely produce a result unless the rain gods have their say.
So it all started with Australia 8/0 with Aaron Finch and Marcus Harris the overnight, not out batsmen. Australia had a daunting task in front of them to come close to India’s 443 and their start wasn’t a good one as Finch was out soon thanks to a stunning catch by Mayank Aggarwal off Ishant Sharma. Harris followed soon as he made the mistake of playing a pull on a wicket that had uneven bounce. His shot has more to do with the blow he coped on his helmet batting yesterday. He was caught at fine leg.
Usman Khawaja looked promising for the time he was there but he was soon caught at short leg by Aggarwal off Ravindra Jadeja’s bowling. The wrecker-in-chief was Jasprit Bumrah who took 6 wickets and showcased his skills. The last ball before Lunch which got Shaun Marsh was a slower ball, a slower ball to get a batsman out leg before in a Test Match. When was the last time you saw a batsman get out in that fashion in a Test match? Sheer brilliance from Bumrah. He was just phenomenal.
Australia were soon bundled out for a mere 151 inside 67 overs giving India a whopping 292 runs lead. For some strange reason best known to captain Virat Kohli, he decided not to enforce the follow-on.
With rain predicted for the remaining two days, enforcing the follow-on seemed to be the right course of action, but then such has been Kohli’s decision making over the past one year starting from South Africa’s tour. It has been baffling at times. The decision will come into scrutiny if Australia somehow manages to save this test.
Then, it was India’s turn to bat. They would have ideally liked to score at a brisk pace to send in Australia to bat early tomorrow. However, their plans received a setback from Pat Cummins who has been outstanding through this entire series. Some poor shot selection from the Indians was also the reason that India went from 28/0 to 32/4 in a span of 20 deliveries with all the wickets taken by Pat Cummins.
Rohit Sharma followed soon to leave the score at 44/5. India are 54/5 at stumps with Rishabh Pant and Aggarwal at the crease. India are still far ahead in the match even after this shocking collapse thanks to their first innings lead. Their overall lead in 346 now. They would like to add 60-70 odd runs tomorrow before sending Australia in a little before lunch.
So, in all likeliness, India are well on course of winning the Boxing Day Test and retaining the Border-Gavaskar Trophy unless and until there’s a heavy downpour.