India are on the verge of completing a remarkable comeback victory after being bowled out for their lowest Test score in Adelaide as they have Australia reeling at 132 for 6 in the second innings of the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne. Australia lost their best batsman Steve Smith for another single-digit score and had a lead of only 1 run at Stumps on Day 3 at the MCG.
There wasn’t a lot on offer on the pitch but India bowlers worked as a group and jolted Australia, consistently. Ravindra Jadeja, who hit a fifty in the first innings, picked up 2 crucial wickets of Matthew Wade and captain Tim Paine to repay the faith the team management showed by picking him as the batting all-rounder in the playing XI.
Australia are staring at a big defeat as they lost their big guns Smith (8) and Marnus Labuschagne (28) cheaply when they wanted them to step up and rescue the team out of trouble. Smith’s failures in the ongoing series — scores of 1, 0, and 8 have exposed the rest of the Australian batting unit, which is struggling in the absence of David Warner, who is still recovering from a groin strain.
It was a terrific performance from the Indian bowling unit as they were without Umesh Yadav for the most part of the second innings as the pacer limped off the field with an injury. There wasn’t a lot of help from the MCG wicket on Monday but India applied pressure relentlessly led by captain Ajinkya Rahane, who was spot on with his field settings and bowling changes.
Australia had Cameron Green and Pat Cummins not out on 17 and 15, respectively at the end of the day’s play. The two added 34 runs and more importantly batted 112 balls together, resisting the Indian charge.
Captain Ajinkya Rahane stressed India still need to come back on Tuesday morning and get the job done, saying the Test match isn’t over yet.
“This game is not over yet, still have to get four more wickets. We still have to bowl in the right areas tomorrow morning and try to get the win,” Rahane said.
India bowlers impress on 11-wicket day at MCG
It was Umesh Yadav who started the damage by getting out-of-form opener Joe Burns for 4 with a peach of a delivery that swung late after pitching on a full length. It was a body blow for Australia who wanted a good start from the openers after conceding a 131-run lead.
Marnus Labuschagne and Matthew Wade resisted the Indian charge with a 38-run stand but R Ashwin got a big breakthrough when he removed the former for 28. Ashwin and his captain brilliantly set up Labuschagne from around the wicket and got him caught at first slip with a one that went with the arm.
Smith’s struggles continued as he looked cagey against Ashwin. However, it was Bumrah who got the big wicket as he bowled the Australia star around the leg-side with the ball just clipping the bail. Smith finishes 2020 with an average of less than 20 and 73 runs in 3 Tests, the lowest numbers in his Test career.
It was then Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammed Siraj’s turn to infict damage on Australia. The left-arm spinner picked up the wickets of a well-set Matthew Wade and Tim Paine with the latter sparking another DRS controversy. Mohammed Siraj, who has been impressive on his debut, got the wicket of Travis Head with the first spell of his new spell in the third session.
India’s tail fails to wag again
Earlier in the day, India missed out on an opportunity to bat Australia out of the Test match as their last five wickets fell for just 49 runs. Ajinkya Rahane was run-out for 112 when Ravindra Jadeja tried to steal a quick single when batting on 49.
Jadeja managed to get to his fifty and bring out the sword celebration but there was nothing much from the rest of the lower-order.