India inch closer to win, leave Australia at 138/5

Vastavam web: India closed in on a big win by reducing Australia to 138 for five at tea on day four of the third Test here on Saturday. India have set the hosts an improbable target of 399 after declaring their second innings at 106 for eight at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. At the break, Travis Head (29 not out) and Tim Paine (1 not out) were the unbeaten batsmen, with Australia 261 adrift of the target. Post lunch, Usman Khawaja (33) and Shaun Marsh (44) came out playing attacking shots and the scoring rate peaked at its highest for the duration of this Test.

Shaun Marsh though continued to play his aggressive strokes and added 51 runs with brother Mitchell Marsh (10), as Australia crossed 100 in the 37th over.Looking good for a tall score, Shaun Marsh was unlucky to be given out lbw against Jasprit Bumrah (2-22) in the 33rd over. He went for DRS review as well and the ball was shown clipping the stumps only marginally, thus out on umpire’s call. Mitchell Marsh looked to attack Ravindra Jadeja (2-63) but it didn’t work as Australia lost a third wicket in this session. He mishit the ball straight to Virat Kohli at extra cover in a bid to clear the ropes.

Mayank Agarwal couldn’t latch on to a tough chance at short leg off Khawaja three balls later otherwise it would have been an even poorer start. The batsman then added 27 runs for the second wicket with Marcus Harris (13). The duo checked their shot selection, even as India wasted a review against Khawaja in Jadeja’s first over The spinner struck in the 10th over though as a bat-pad chance got stuck under Agarwal’s arm at short leg and Harris had to walk back, causing further trouble for Australia. Earlier, India had batted 52 minutes and extended their second innings from overnight 54-5 even as threat of rain loomed large.

Rishabh Pant (33) and Ravindra Jadeja (5) threw their bats around to add 17 runs. They didn’t waste time in farming strike, with Cummins missing out on his five-wicket haul when Tim Paine dropped Pant early in the session. He returned to pick up his sixth wicket when Jadeja gloved a catch to gully, beating his previous best of 6-79 against South Africa back in 2011. India declared with Pant’s dismissal in the 38th over. The visitors had scored 443-7 decl. in the first innings thanks to Cheteshwar Pujara’s 17th Test hundred. Jasprit Bumrah then picked career-best figures of 6-33 as Australia were bowled out for 151 runs in reply on day three, conceding a 292-run lead.