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India inch closer to series win

Last updated on: January 05, 2019 13:02 IST

With two days left, and Australia still 386 runs adrift of their score, India will fancy their chances of winning their first-ever Test series Down Under.

Kuldeep Yadav

IMAGE: Kuldeep Yadav celebrates Tim Paine's wicket. Photograph: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

India closed in on their maiden Test series triumph in Australia before bad light and rain combined to delay the inevitable, adding more hours to a wait of 71 years.

Bad light stopped play in the final session of day three of the fourth Test as the hosts, responding to India's mammoth first innings total of 622/7 declared, were struggling on 236/6 in 83.3 overs in Sydney on Saturday.

With two full days play left in the game and Australia still 386 runs adrift of India's score, the visitors will fancy their chances of winning the four-match rubber 3-1.

India first went Down Under back in 1947-1948 under Lala Amarnath's captaincy, and are yet to achieve series triumph there despite 11 attempts.

At the Sydney Cricket Ground, the players went off with an hour's play pending in the day as bad light hampered proceedings, before rain intervened and brought out an early stumps.

 

Team India

IMAGE: The Indian team are a happy bunch as they walk off the field after bad light stopped play. Photograph: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

This was after Kuldeep Yadav (3/71) and Ravindra Jadeja (2/62) put India in a commanding position. At stumps, Australia were trailing by 386 runs, with Peter Handscomb (28 not out) and Pat Cummins (25 not out) at the crease.

Post lunch, Australia made the worst start possible with Marcus Harris (79) getting dismissed soon after the lunch interval, as he inside edged Jadeja back on to his stumps.

The left-arm spinner made it a double blow 6 overs later as Shaun Marsh (8) was caught at slip.

Australia barely managed to cross 150 in the 52nd over as India piled on the pressure. Unlike in the first session, only 35 runs came in the first hour of play.

The pace of scoring did improve in the second hour with 41 runs taken, but India again struck twice to peg them back.

IMAGE: Kuldeep Yadav takes a catch off his own bowling to dismiss Travis Head. Photograph: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Ajinkya Rahane held a brilliant catch, diving full length to his right, at short midwicket to send back Marnus Labuschagne (38) off Mohammed Shami.

Travis Head (20) added 40 runs for the 5th wicket with Handscomb and brought some respite to the desperate Australian middle order.

But once again, as things looked settled down, India struck again as Head hit a full toss straight back to the bowler Kuldeep.

Australia had started off well with Harris hitting a brisk half-century to guide the hosts to 122/1 at lunch.

Resuming on their overnight score of 24 for no loss, Australia quickly got off the blocks in the morning session. There wasn't much help from the pitch for the two pacers Shami and Jasprit Bumrah, who started proceedings on the third day.

Ajinkya Rahane

IMAGE: A jubilant Ajinkya Rahane after taking the catch to dismiss Marnus Labuschagne off Mohammed Shami's bowling. Photograph: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Australia sped to 50 within 7 overs of play on the third morning before they crossed 100 in the 30th over.

India's lone success came from Kuldeep as Usman Khawaja (27) played a loose stroke against the spin and hit straight to Cheteshwar Pujara at mid-wicket.

Jadeja struggled to find his control and was hit for three fours in one over by Harris who brought up his second Test half century off only 67 balls.

Australia added 56 runs in the first hour of play, and then added another 38 post drinks in the morning session as they looked to take on the Indian spinners with regular boundaries.

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