Rohit Sharma Chasing Australia’s 407-run target despite a half-century, India were in trouble after losing two wickets for 98 runs at the Sydney Cricket Ground here on the fourth day of the third cricket Test. At the end of the day’s play, captain Ajinkya Rahane (04 not out) and Cheteshwar Pujara (09 not out) were at the crease.
India lost the wickets of Rohit (52 off 98 balls, five fours, one six) and Shubman Gill (31) in the second innings. The Indian team needs 309 runs to win on the last day with eight wickets remaining. However, it will not be easy to avoid defeat on Sydney’s uneven pace pitch as the team will not get the services of injured Ravindra Jadeja who is in good form in the second innings.
During the second innings of Australia, Indian fast bowler Mohammad Siraj once again suffered abuses from Australian fans, which caused the game to stop for 10 minutes. Australia declared a second innings after Cameron Green (84 off 132) with a fiery half-century, including Steve Smith (81 off 167 balls) and Marnus Labuschen (73 off 118), made 312 for six. . Captain Tim Paine also scored an unbeaten 39 off 52 balls and added 104 runs in less than 20 overs for the sixth wicket with Green.
India also suffered the brunt of poor fielding when Hanuma Vihari, vice captain Rohit Sharma and captain Ajinkya Rahane made easy catches at square leg, slip and lane respectively. Chasing the target, the opening pair of Rohit and Gill gave India a cautious start by adding 71 runs for the first wicket. Rohit was given out leg before by the on-field umpire off Josh Hazlewood on a personal score of 13 but he had to change his decision after the batsman took DRS. TV replays showed that the ball would go over the wickets.
Gill hit two fours in the over from Pat Cummins after a slow start and then completed the half-century of the team’s runs in the 19th over with a four over Cameron Green. Rohit also hit Mitchell Starc for two fours and Green for six. However, when it seemed that both the openers were frozen, Gill handed a catch to wicketkeeper Tim Paine off Hazelwood. Gill resorted to DRS but had to return to the pavilion. Cheteshwar Pujara was also lbw to the on-field umpire in the same over from Hazelwood but this decision also had to be changed after taking the DRS.
Rohit completed a 95-ball half-century with a four over Nathan Lyon but was caught by Mitchell Starc at fine leg boundary in an attempt to pull Cummins’ ball in the next over. Rahane and Pujara did not shock India further until the end of the day’s play. Earlier, on a pitch that was difficult for batting, Green batted freely after a slow start. He hit eight fours and four sixes in his innings.
Ravichandran Ashwin (2 for 95) prevented Smith from scoring a second century in the match after a successful DRS but overall the off-spinner was disappointed with his bowling. Six feet seven inches tall Green made a slow start with a six over Siraj (1 for 90). He then hit two more sixes in this fast bowler’s over. Green hit a four and a six off Jaspreet Bumrah’s consecutive balls but was caught by substitute wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha on the next ball.
In the morning session, debutant fast bowler Navdeep Saini (2 for 54) took two wickets but despite this, Australia continued to dominate. Australia started the day at 103 for two. Labushen took a positive stance with Smith scoring the second century partnership of the match (103 runs). Although Labushen would return to the pavilion on the second ball of the first over of Bumrah’s day, Vihari dropped his easy catch at square leg.
Labushen did not add to his yesterday’s score of 47. Australia added 79 runs in the morning session. Saini was getting extra bounce off the pitch and Labushen touched the bat with the ball going out of his leg side and Saha ended his innings with a brilliant catch. Labushen hit nine fours in his innings. Matthew Wade also gave an easy catch to Saha off Saini after scoring four runs.