India must skittle Australia for 187 or less in order to keep alive their hopes of regaining the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
Australia will chase 188 to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy after Josh Hazlewood led an excellent bowling display from the visitors on the fourth morning in Bengaluru. Hazlewood picked up 6 for 67 and along with Mitchell Starc was devastating during a new-ball spell that earned Australia five wickets in 19 deliveries, before a last-wicket partnership between Wriddhiman Saha and Ishant Sharma nudged India’s lead to 187.
Hazlewood’s figures were the best by an Australia fast bowler in a Test innings in India for 37 years, since Geoff Dymock claimed 7 for 67 at Kanpur in October 1979. India started the morning at 213 for 4 and hoped to extend their lead past 200, but the work of Australia’s fast bowlers made that a difficult ask, and India were bowled out for 274, having added 61 to their overnight total for the loss of their last six wickets.
Starc started the carnage by swinging the new ball in to Ajinkya Rahane, who on 52 was rapped on the pad and given not out by umpire Nigel Llong. However, Steven Smith opted for a review and it was a good one for Australia as the decision was overturned. Next ball, Karun Nair failed to handle Starc’s pace and swing and tickled an inside edge onto his stumps, and such was the ferocity of the delivery that the leg stump shattered on impact.
Starc’s hat-trick delivery was negotiated by Wriddhiman Saha, if not concvincingly then at least effectively, but in the next over Hazlewood picked up an even more important wicket. Cheteshwar Pujara looked set for a century, having resumed on 79, but on 92 he failed to handle a shortish Hazlewood ball that was fended to gully, where Mitchell Marsh took the catch. Three balls later, R Ashwin was bowled by one that stayed low, and Hazlewood had two in the over.
In Hazlewood’s next over he accounted for Umesh Yadav, who swung hard and was caught at mid-off, and it looked as tough Australia might run through the tail quickly. But Ishant and Saha hung in for a 16-run tenth-wicket stand that could yet prove crucial, and which ended when Ishant drove a catch to cover off the spin of Steve O’Keefe.
It left India needing to skittle Australia for 187 or less in order to keep alive their hopes of regaining the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, and on a pitch offering variable bounce that was possible. However, Australia would have been thrilled with their fightback on the fourth morning, after the third day unquestionably belonged to India.
Courtesy: ESPN Cricinfo