With Victory In Sight, Indians move Steadily


India got a foot in the door of the second Test after they reduced Australia to 133 for six wickets in their second innings at the end of third day’s play in the second Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Monday.

The Aussies are ahead of India by just two runs and have four wickets in hand. India are yet to bat in the second innings.

The Time Paine-led side, which had dismissed India for 326 and restricted the lead to 131 runs early on the third day, however, found the going tough in the second innings as it kept losing wickets at regular intervals.

The Aussies eventually found themselves at 99 for the loss of six wickets at one point and in danger of losing the game by an innings.

However, all-rounder Cameron Green and bowler Pat Cummins saw off the last 18 overs without any further casualty, adding 34 in the process.

Marnus Labuschagne was dismissed with the Aussie team total on 42, removed by off-spinner R Ashwin. Then Steve Smith was bowled down the leg, by a Jasprit Bumrah delivery. The Aussie batting mainstay had left his leg-stump exposed. A flurry of wickets followed with opener Matthew Wade, who had batted well for his 40, Travis Head and skipper Tim Paine getting dismissed within one run.

The Indian bowlers shared the wickets with Jadeja taking two and the others — Bumrah, Umesh, Mohammed Siraj and Ashwin, taking one each.

Earlier, India were all out for 326 in first innings. Both skipper Ajinkya Rahane and Ravindra Jadeja looked good on resumption. However, the run out of Rahane (112) led to a flurry of wickets. India lost the last five wickets for just 32 runs. Jadeja though managed to complete his half-century (57).

Pace bowler Umesh Yadav who removed Joe Burns had limped off the field following pain in the ankle. He has undergone scans and did not take field after limping off in his fourth over.

A statement from the Indian cricket board (BCCI) said, “Umesh Yadav complained of pain in his calf while bowling his 4th over and was assessed by the BCCI medical team. He is being taken for scans now.”

India’s Virat Kohli and Mohammed Shami

The right-arm pace bowler, who removed the Aus opener in just his second over, limped off the field after bowling the third delivery of his fourth over of Australia’s second innings.

The right-arm pace bowler had removed Burns early, having him caught behind with a delivery that swung away late to leave Australia at four for one.

A serious Umesh injury could be a disaster for India going ahead into the series. They are already missing Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami, both of whom are in India due to injuries.

Ishant did not make it to Australia as he could not fully recover from the abdominal muscle tear, suffered during the Indian Premier League, in time. Shami fractured his bowling arm after being hit by a Pat Cummins delivery during the third day’s play in the first Test at the Adelaide Oval on December 19. Shami returned home last week and has been advised a six-week rest.

Brief scores: Australia 195 and 133/6 (M Wade 40, M Labuschagne 28, R Jadeja 2/25) vs India 326 (A Rahane 112, R Jadeja 57, S Gill 45, M Starc 3/78, P Cummins 2/80, N Lyon 3/72).

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