Cricket Article

India Register Convincing Win at MCG

India Register Convincing Win at MCG Photo: TT
Bumrah and Ishant Led India to a Win

India beat Australia by 137 runs to win the third test in Melbourne and take a two-one lead in the series.

Australia made one change for the third test in the series, recalling Mitchell Marsh for Peter Handscomb, whilst India replaced both their openers, with KL Rahul and Murali Vijay dropped in favour of Mayank Agarwal, and Hanuma Vihari, who was promoted up the order.

India won the toss and decided to bat first, with Vihari and Agarwal getting them off to a steady start until Vihari was caught at slip off the bowling of Pat Cummins for 8.

However, on what was a slow scoring day, Agarwal and Cheteshwar Pujara added 83 for the second wicket as India took an early grip on the match. Agarwal made 76 and seemed to be in line for a century, when Cummins had him caught behind by Tim Paine. However, no further wickets fell on the day as Pujara and his skipper Virat Kohli put on an unbeaten 92 for the third wicket as India closed on 215 – 2.

The second day was very much India’s as well. Resuming in the morning, Pujara and Kohli extended their partnership to 170 before Kohli fell for 82, caught by Finch off the bowling of Mitchell Starc.

Pujara reached his second century of the series, and his 17th overall in test cricket, before he was bowled by Cummins for 106. Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma then shared a stand of 62 for the 5th wicket before Rahane was lbw to Lyon for 34. Then Risbabh Pant and Rohit put on 76 before Pant gave Starc a second wicket of the innings, out for 39. When Ravindra Jadeja fell to Josh Hazlewood soon afterwards, captain Virat Kohli decided it was time to declare, with his side 443 -7, leaving Rohit 63 not out.

That gave Australia six overs to survive until stumps, which Marcus Harris and Finch safely negotiated, leaving the home side 8 without loss overnight, still trailing by 435 runs, with all their first innings wickets still standing.

India quickly made inroads into the Australian innings on Day 3, with Finch caught by Agarwal off the bowling of Ishant Sharma for 8. Then Sharma turned catcher, as Harris became one of six men to fall to the bowling of Jasprit Bumrah for 22. Usman Khawaja scored 21 but then was dismissed by Ravindra Jadeja as the home side slipped to 53 -3. Shaun Marsh and Travis Head added 36, but both fell in quick order to Bumrah for 19 and 20 respectively. Mitchell Marsh gave Jadeja a second wicket, before Cummins and Tim Paine shared a stand of 33.

However, once Cummins was bowled by Mohammad Shami for 17, the innings quickly subsided, with Paine (22), Nathan Lyon and Josh Hazlewood all falling to Bumrah, who claimed a test best 6 for 33. Australia were bowled out for 151, giving India a first innings lead of 292.

India looked to build their advantage in the second innings but a magnificent spell of bowling by Cummins halted their momentum. First he had Vihari caught by Khawaja for 13, and then, in the next over, he removed both Pujara and Kohli for ducks. He then struck again to claim the wicket of Rahane for a single, with Hazlewood dismissing Rohit for 6, leaving India 54 -5 at the close, a lead of 346 runs, with 5 second-innings wickets in hand.

On the 4th morning Agarwal and Pant added 29 to the overnight score before Agarwal was bowled by Cummins for 42. The fast bowler then had Jadeja caught by Khawaja for 5, and when Hazlewood had Pant caught behind for 33, India declared on 106 - 8, setting Australia, 398 to win. Cummins finished with 6 for 27, his best in test cricket.

In reply, Australia were soon in trouble, Bumrah having Finch caught by Kohli for just 3 in the second over. Harris and Khawaja looked to grind it out, but then was caught by Agarwal off the bowling of Jadeja for 13. Next to fall was Khawaja, lbw to Shami for 33, and after Shaun Marsh and Head had added 51 for the 4th wicket, Bumrah returned to the attack to dismiss Marsh lbw for 44. His brother, Mitchell, again failed with the bat, scoring just 10 before he was dismissed by Jadeja, and when Head was bowled by Sharma for 34, the home side had lost all their recognised batsmen and were 157 – 6.

However, Cummins continued his fine match by mounting a fightback. First he added, 19 with Paine for the 7th wicket, and when Paine was out for 26, caught behind off Jadeja, he shared in a stand of 39 for the 8th wicket with Starc.

When Starc was bowled by Shami for 18, he continued the resistance by sharing an unbeaten partnership of 43, for the ninth wicket, which saw Australia reach stumps at 258/8, still needing 141 runs to win. Cummins was undefeated on 61, his highest score in test cricket, and, whilst the odds were very much in favour of India, Australia still had a faint chance whilst he was at the crease.

In the end though only three runs were scored on the final morning before Cummins was caught by Pujara off the bowling of Bumrah for 63. One over later Sharma accounted for Lyon, as Australia were bowled out for 261.

Bumrah earned the man of the match award with his performance with the ball.

Rajeev mcallister
Sports Pundit staff writer

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