India recovered from their poor start and capped off a great day to put themselves in a commanding position at Melbourne. After getting bowled out for 326 in the morning, India’s bowlers once again got the better of the Australian top-order.
Day 3 ended with Australians struggling at 133/6, leading by 2 runs in the Boxing Day Test.
The day started with Ajinkya Rahane and Ravindra Jadeja going strong at the crease. However, the Australian bowlers bagged 5 wickets in the morning session to keep India’s ballooning lead in check.
After struggling in the field on Day 2, it was a moment of brilliance from Marnus Labuschagne which sent Ajinkya Rahane (112 of 223 balls) packing. The skipper tried to take a quick single to get Ravindra Jadeja his half-century but fell just short of the crease, bringing his outstanding innings to an end.
A short ball barrage by Mitchell Starc came next, and Ravindra Jadeja (57 of 159 balls) succumbed to the tactic after finding a fielder at deep midwicket. The Australian bowlers put in a much better show on Day 3, wrapping up the Indian tail without much fuss.
India bowlers get the better of Australia once again
As Australia began their 2nd innings, the Indian bowlers continued from where they left in the first. Jasprit Bumrah was on the money as usual, and he was admirably supported by Umesh Yadav early on.
Yadav’s return to form was duly rewarded, with the pacer picking up the wicket of Joe Burns (4 off 10 balls) with a peach of a delivery. However, Umesh Yadav seemed to injure himself in the 4th over of his spell, with the pacer limping off the field in pain. The bowler will undergo scans to determine the extent of his injury, as the Indian cricket team sweats on his fitness.
The injury didn’t break the stride of Indian bowlers, though, as they continued to make inroads at the MCG. Ravichandran Ashwin dismissed Marnus Labuschagne (28 of 49 balls) next, and Jasprit Bumrah executed the leg stump trap brilliantly to bowl Steve Smith (8 of 30 balls) around his legs.
Words being exchanged between Rishabh Pant and Matthew Wade (40 of 137 balls) was a recurring theme on Day 3, with the Australian also making fun of the wicket-keeper’s weight.
However, Wade’s time at the crease ended after a quicker delivery by Ravindra Jadeja caught the batsman off guard, and even DRS could not save the opener.
Travis Head was the next to go, with debutant Mohammed Siraj getting the batsman to poke at one delivery. Mayank Agarwal duly completed the catch at second slip.
With their tails up on Day 3, India finally got the rub of the green after a series of misfortunes, with a correct DRS call by India getting them the wicket of the dangerous Tim Paine.
While the original decision was not out, Indian skipper Ajinkya Rahane took the review almost immediately and sent Paine packing. While it looked like Australia will be bowled out in under a day as the scoreboard read 99/6, the tail once again rose to the occasion to frustrate India.
Chris Green (17* of 65 balls) and Pat Cummins (15* of 53 balls) led the Australian fightback, as they managed to stay at the crease till the end of the day’s play. The stand also meant that Australia managed to get a lead of 2 runs, and they will look to extend that on Day 4.
With the new ball 14 overs away, India have their task cut out as they try to dismiss the Australian tail. They will try to get the 4 remaining wickets quickly and keep the target as low as possible.
Australia 195 & 133/6 ( Matthew Wade 40, Ravindra Jadeja 2 for 25) lead India 326 (Ajinkya Rahane 112, Nathan Lyon 3 for 72) by 2 runs.Published 28 Dec 2020, 13:11 IST