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PICS: Australia vs India, 3rd Test, Day 4

Last updated on: January 10, 2021 13:23 IST
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Images from Day 4 of the third Test between Australia and India, at the SCG, on Sunday.

Shubman Gill

IMAGE: Opener Shubman Gill came up with a gutsy 31 off 64 balls to give India a good start in the second innings on Day 4 of the third Test against Australia, at the Sydney Cricket Ground, on Sunday. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Cheteshwar Pujara was left to summon his trademark doggedness with skipper Ajinkya Rahane after India lost their openers in pursuit of an improbable 407, setting the stage for an intriguing final day in the third Test against Australia, in which the visitors will primarily try to bat out three sessions.

 

Having drawn flak for his 50 off 176 balls in the first innings, none would mind such an effort from India's Test specialist after the visitors finished the fourth day on 98 for 2 in their second innings largely due to a 71-run opening stand between Rohit Sharma (52) and Shubman Gill (31).

Josh Hazlewood is complimented by his Australia teammates after dismissing Shubman Gill.

IMAGE: Josh Hazlewood is complimented by his Australia teammates after dismissing Shubman Gill. Photograph: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Rohit's untimely dismissal at the fag end of Sunday's play, trying to pull Pat Cummins, did hurt India. At stumps its two best defensive players, Pujara (9 batting off 29 balls) and skipper Ajinkya Rahane (4 off 14 balls), were at the crease.

The Sydney Cricket Ground pitch, with variable bounce and the dark patches acting like snake pits for Nathan Lyon, will pose its own set of challenges for a team with two injured batsmen in the line-up.

Both Rohit (52 off 98 balls) and Gill (31 off 64 balls) showed admirable application under pressure but, most importantly, never let the bad deliveries go unpunished.

Rohit Sharma

IMAGE: Opener Rohit Sharma showed admirable application under pressure while scoring 52 off 98 balls in India's second innings. Photograph: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

The three cover drives off Rohit's blade and a cross-batted straight drive from Gill were out of top drawer.

Rohit, for good measure, pulled Cameron Green over mid-wicket for a six and they both looked comfortable while negotiating the Australian attack.

It was after 53 years that an Indian opening pair struck two 50-plus partnerships in the same Test Down Under.

The last time also it was in Sydney where Farokh Engineer and Syed Abid Ali had a decent outing albeit in a lost cause.

Pat Cummins

IMAGE: Pat Cummins exults after dismissing Rohit Sharma in the second innings. Photograph: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

It took a peach of a delivery from Josh Hazlewood (1/11 in 8 overs), coming for his second spell, which straightened after pitching and the resultant nick, ended an impressive 71-run stand with Gill’s exit.

Pujara, just after coming in, successfully asked for a DRS review after being adjudged leg before.

A delectable chip shot coming down the track off Lyon helped Rohit bring up his half-century but his dismissal in the next over left fans yearning for more.

As far as Australia are concerned, they hardly put a foot wrong during the two sessions that they batted.

Session 1

India pacer Navdeep Saini appeals successfully for caught behind against Australia's Marnus Labuschagne during Day 4 of the third Test, at the Sydney Cricket Ground, on Sunday.

IMAGE: India pacer Navdeep Saini appeals successfully for caught behind against Australia's Marnus Labuschagne. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

An improved Navdeep Saini got a couple of wickets, but Australia thoroughly enjoyed the opening session, reaching 182 for 4 at lunch after half-centuries from Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith.

By the end of the first session, Australia extended their overall lead to 276 runs, and anything above 300-plus is expected to be a winning total unless a 10-man India, without the services of the injured Ravindra Jadeja, bat out of their skin on a two-paced SCG track.

Mohammed Siraj appeals in vain for the wicket of Marnus Labuschagne

IMAGE: Mohammed Siraj appeals in vain for the wicket of Marnus Labuschagne. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Labuschagne (73 off 118 balls) once again batted positively during his second century partnership of the match (103 runs) with mentor Smith (58 batting, 155 balls), who employed a more cautious approach.

The Indians once again bowled straight to Smith, with a packed leg-side field, but Labuschagne, before missing out on yet another chance to score a Test hundred, scored freely, with nine boundaries to his credit.

Steve Smith congratulates Marnus Labuschagne on scoring 50 runs.

IMAGE: Steve Smith congratulates Marnus Labuschagne on scoring 50 runs. Photograph: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Labuschagne could have been out off the day's second delivery, bowled by Jasprit Bumrah (0/40 in 15 overs), had Hanuma Vihari taken a simple offering at square leg, with the batsman still on his overnight score of 47.

Unlike India on the third day, Australia scored at a decent pace, adding 79 runs during the morning session.

It was substitute keeper Wriddhiman Saha, whose impressive catch down the leg side saw the end of Labuschagne following his faint tickle after Saini (2/47 in 14 overs) extracted extra bounce off the pitch.

Steve Smith bats during Day 4.

IMAGE: Steve Smith batted with caution before completing his half-century. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

The debutant got another wicket in quick time as Matthew Wade nicked an easy one to Saha for his third catch of the innings.

At the break, Cameron Green (20 batting) was giving company to Smith, who completed his second half-century of the match in 134 balls.

Jadeja's absence did have an adverse effect on the bowling and Ravichandran Ashwin (1/57 in 17 overs) erred in his length on the shorter side.

Australia’s batsmen found it easy to manoeuvre against Ashwin's bowling as there wasn't much pace or zip off the pitch.

Session 2

Cameron Green hit eight fours and four sixes in his 132-ball 84 to put Australia high in the saddle

IMAGE: Cameron Green hit eight fours and four sixes in his entertaining 132-ball 84 to put Australia high in the saddle on Day 4. Photograph: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Steve Smith missed out on a second hundred but rookie Cameron Green flayed a hapless Indian attack to help Australia set an imposing 407-run target, after declaring their second innings on 312 for 6 at tea, on the fourth day of the third Test, at the Sydney Cricket Ground, on Sunday.

If poor bowling wasn't enough, Indian fast bowler Mohammed Siraj was once again subjected to abuse by Australian fans leading to a 10-minute halt in the proceedings.

India pacer Mohammed Siraj lodges a formal complaint with the umpire after again being subjected to abuse by Australian fans in the bay behind his fielding position.

IMAGE: India pacer Mohammed Siraj lodges a formal complaint with the umpire after again being subjected to abuse by Australian fans in the bay behind his fielding position. Photograph: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

It will be a miracle if India are able to bat out an entire day to save the Test after Green ( 84 off 132 balls) made merry on a track on which some of the senior Indian batsmen found it difficult to score.

The big man hit as many as four sixes, and had ideal support from skipper Tim Paine (39 not out, 52 balls). The duo added 104 runs for the sixth wicket in less than 20 overs.

Police speak to spectators following a complaint from Mohammed Siraj that stopped play during Day 4

IMAGE: Police speak to spectators after a complaint from Mohammed Siraj stopped play during Day 4. Photograph: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

The butter-fingered Indian fielders also did not help the cause, as Hanuma Vihari, vice-captain Rohit Sharma and his skipper Ajinkya Rahane missed regulation catches at square leg, slip and gully respectively.

While Ravichandran Ashwin (2/95 in 25 overs) can take solace in the fact that he denied Smith (81 off 167 balls) a hundred with a successful review, he would be the first to admit that he was well-below his best during the match.

Tim Paine hoists one to the boundary.

IMAGE: Tim Paine hoists one to the boundary. Photograph: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Green, the 6 feet 7 inch gentle giant, was cautious but did not let the loose deliveries get away and the six off Siraj (1/90 in 25 overs) over widish mid-on produced a glimpse of his quality.

As if to show that he can do it repeatedly, he muscled another one off the same bowler in the same region and then again into the Cow Corner for fun.

Skipper Paine had come in with the objective of upping the ante knowing that the depleted Indian bowling attack would have drooping shoulders and will be demoralised. In the company of Green, they hammered the Indian bowling, burying them under a deluge of runs.

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