Wednesday, December 8, 2021

India battle to save Sydney Test

SYDNEY: India were battling to avoid defeat against Australia after losing two wickets before the close of play Sunday in a third Test marred by allegations of racist abuse from the Sydney crowd.

The hosts declared their second innings at tea on day four at 312 for six, leaving India needing a mammoth 407 to win and they reached 98-2 at stumps, still needing a further 309 runs with the four-match series locked at 1-1.

No team has ever bettered 288 to clinch victory in the fourth innings at the Sydney Cricket Ground, with Australia achieving that mark against South Africa in 2006.

India’s record run chase started steadily before losing openers Shubman Gill for 31 and Rohit Sharma for 52, leaving their hopes resting on Cheteshwar Pujara, who was nine not out, and captain Ajinkya Rahane, unbeaten on four.

Sharma and Gill lived dangerously against some early torrid bowling by Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins.

But they settled in during a 71-run stand to begin playing their shots, with the graceful Sharma bringing up an 11th Test 50 before being caught at fine leg hooking a Cummins short ball.

Gill, who has cemented his place in the side after making a debut this series, again looked at home until he nicked a Hazlewood delivery to Tim Paine behind the stumps on 31.

“The batsmen will walk in tomorrow believing they can do it,” said veteran Ravi Ashwin. “That belief is very important when you step onto the pitch.

“As a team, we are very hopeful we can put together a good performance,” he added.

Australia’s declaration came after Cameron Green fell on the stroke of tea for an entertaining 84, his maiden Test half-century, with captain Tim Paine unbeaten on 39.

Steve Smith made 81 and Marnus Labuschagne 73, with Ashwin and Navdeep Saini grabbing two wickets each.

Australia had resumed the day on 103 for two after India were bowled out for 244 in the first innings in reply to Australia’s 338, with Smith on 29 and Labuschagne 47.

Labuschagne survived an appalling dropped catch by Hanuma Vihari on the day’s second ball that left bowler Jasprit Bumrah clutching his face in disbelief.

Australia won toss

Australia 1st Innings 338 all out (S.Smith 131; R. Jadeja 4-62)

India 1st Innings 244 all out (S. Gill 50, C. Pujara 50; Cummins 4-29)

Australia 2nd Innings 312-6 dec (S. Smith 81)

India 2nd Innings

R. Sharma c Starc b Cummins 52

S. Gill c Paine b Hazlewood 31

C. Pujara not out 9

*A. Rahane not out 4

Extras (lb1, nb1) 2

Total (2 wickets, 34 overs) 98

To bat: Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravi Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Siraj, Navdeep Saini

Fall: 1-71 (Shubman), 2-92 (Sharma)

Bowling: Starc 6-0-27-0, Hazlewood 8-3-11-1, Cummins 9-1-25-1 (1nb), Lyon 9-3-22-0, Green 2-0-12-0

Umpires: Rod Tucker (AUS), Bruce Oxenford (AUS). TV umpire: Paul Reiffel (AUS)

Source: The News

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