Mohammed Siraj (C) is congratulated by teammates after dismissing Australia's Cameron Green on the fourth day of the second cricket Test match between Australia and India played at the MCG in Melbourne on December 29, 2020
Mohammed Siraj (C) is congratulated by teammates after dismissing Australia's Cameron Green on the fourth day of the second cricket Test match between Australia and India played at the MCG in Melbourne on December 29, 2020
AFP

Melbourne: India have inched closer to an overseas victory as Australia were bowled out for 200, leaving the visitors with an easy target of 70 runs at lunch on the fourth day of the second Test here on Tuesday.

Victory should be a formality in the second session for Ajinkya Rahane's men, 10 days after an infamous batting debacle in Adelaide, where they were bowled out for their lowest Test score of 36.

India had taken a first-innings lead of 131 thanks to a century by skipper Ajinkya Rahane. The Aussies, who resumed on 133 for six, added 67 more runs before getting bowled out at the stroke of lunch in the extended first session.

Jasprit Bumrah (2/54 in 27 overs) and debutant Mohammed Siraj (3/37 in 21.3 overs) were both fast and accurate during an intriguing as well as classical Test match session. They accounted for three wickets, remaining patient and not trying too many things on a flat deck.

Ravichandran Ashwin (2/71 in 37.1 overs) got the final wicket and Ravindra Jadeja (2/28 in 14 overs) made up for an injured Umesh Yadav's absence during another splendid bowling performance.

The second new ball did the trick as Cameron Green (45 off 146 balls) and Pat Cummins (22 off 103 balls) were dismissed after their frustrating 57-run stand for the seventh wicket.

Green's gutsy knock had five boundaries as he tried to get Australia out of the woods during a classical Test match session.

Skipper Rahane, after giving a three-over spell to Bumrah on the fourth morning, understood instantly that the old ball is not doing anything and took him off the attack to keep him fresh for the second new ball.

It was another great tactical decision from Rahane as Bumrah bounced Cummins to end the stand that consumed more than 36 overs.

It was a well-directed bouncer aimed between the batsman's jaw and shoulder and the awkward fend was taken by Mayank Agarwal at second slip.

Green, who was starting to become a thorn in the flesh, tried to pull Siraj but the extra bounce did him in as Ravindra Jadeja, fielding at mid-wicket, timed his spot jump to perfection ending the batsman's vigil.

Siraj then bowled another short one that accounted for Nathan Lyon caught by Rishabh Pant down the leg side.

Scoreboard on the fourth day of the second Test between India and Australia:

Australia 1st Innings: 195

India 1st Innings: 326

Australia 2nd innings: (Overnight 133/6) Matthew Wade lbw b Ravindra Jadeja 40

Joe Burns c Pant b Umesh 4

Marnus Labuschagne c Rahane b Ashwin 28 Steven Smith b Bumrah 8

Travis Head c Mayank Agarwal b Siraj 17 Cameron Green c Jadeja b Siraj 45

Tim Paine c Pant b Ravindra Jadeja 1

Pat Cummins c Agarwal b Bumrah 22

Mitchell Starc not out 14

Nathan Lyon c Pant b Siraj 3

Josh Hazlewood b Ashwin 10

Extras: (LB-5, NB-3) 8

Total (all out in 103.1 overs) 200

Fall of wickets: 1-4, 2-42, 3-71, 4-98, 5-98, 6-99, 7-156, 8-177, 9-185 Bowling: Jasprit Bumrah 27-6-54-2, Umesh Yadav 3.3-0-5-1, Mohammed Siraj 21.3-4-37-3, Ravichandran Ashwin 37.1-6-71-2, Ravindra Jadeja 14-5-28-2.

(With PTI inputs)

(To download our E-paper please click here. The publishers permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal

www.freepressjournal.in