India resume on 5-54 in the second last day’s play here at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
There was some rain interrupting the ground earlier on before this session started.
But the good news is that the rain has stopped as there will be a full day’s worth of action on the field.
Mayank Agarwal continued to score quickfire runs including back to back sixes.
Agarwal’s approach looked attacking minded in the way he executed this straight drive.
Yes, Agarwal went deep and out of his crease.
But he’s able to use his feet on the front foot and whack with an open flat bat all the way past the rope.
Just as if he’s connecting the dots by waiting for the ball to come to him, Agarwal isn’t reaching out for the shot or using the edge to force a dismissal.
The use of footwork and bat working closer together and hitting the ball fully open makes Agarwal’s game click.
Although, Pat Cummins denied Agarwal his planned second half-ton on 42.
Cummins bowled straight in maintaining that length swinging in-line before Agarwal clipped edged the stumps.
Also, Agarwal jumped and defended with the bat up high which caused his mistake.
At the same time, Pat Cummins achieved his five-wicket haul in this innings.
It’s the third time that Cummins achieved that feat since March this year:
- 5/83, March 2018 v South Africa in Johannesburg
- 6/79, November 2011 v South Africa in Johannesburg
Cummins now joins Jasprit Bumrah on the list of bowlers who made a 5fer in Test Cricket at the MCG.
Not long later, Cummins picked up his sixth wicket on Ravi Jadeja (5).
It’s a straight short ball play targeting those three stumps before Jadeja jumped and scooped straight to Usman Khawaja’s hands.
Rishabh Pant may have scored a mighty six on one ball by keeping his shape and head still to execute the straight drive effectively.
But when Josh Hazlewood got Pant out next ball through a reach out cut shot to Tim Paine, Virat Kohli immediately made a declaration.
3rd Innings Score: India 8d-106 & leads by 398 runs.
Australia will bat again in the fourth and final innings of this test match.
The home team will target 399 runs to win.
In contrast, India only needs ten wickets to leave Melbourne with a win 2-1 heading into Sydney next week.
The start of Australia’s 2nd Innings stint
Australia’s opening pair of Aaron Finch and Marcus Harris may have fired off a bit.
But it turned out to be a disastrous start when Jasprit Bumrah captured Finch on three.
Bumrah pitched up short and straight going wide where Finch knicked the cut too early without moving his feet.
In other words, Finch cut with only using the outside edge and not the sweep spot in which is why the ball carried to Virat Kohli at slip.
Ravi Jadeja removed Australia’s other opening partner of Marcus Harris on 13.
Harris tried to whack through cover on the off-side.
But he didn’t move his feet and just let his bat knick the outside edge straight to Mayank Agarwal.
Despite using the full flat bat, Harris just didn’t hit it correctly on the sweep spot.
Lunch Day 4: Australia 2-44 & need 355 runs to win.
Usman Khawaja remained on 26* while Shaun Marsh came in & survived on 2*.
India remains on top with the short and wide ball strategy have exposed both Australian openers’ mistakes.
If India can quickly get rid of Australia’s remaining top & middle order armor, then they will win.
But if Khawaja & S.Marsh can stay on for long periods and build a stand, then it could pretty much deny India’s planned celebrations in Melbourne.
Khawaja & Marsh is Australia’s only hope right now to make a late foil against the quality, fast bowling Indian attack.