Nathan Lyon celebrates the wicket of Shubman Gill
Nathan Lyon celebrates the wicket of Shubman Gill

Australia are in a commanding position in the third Test after setting a 407-run target against India to win the match here at Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on Sunday.

At stumps on day four, India were at 98/2 with Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane unbeaten on nine and four runs respectively. Coming in to bat at the final session of the day, both the openers Rohit Shamra and Shubman Gill showed great intent against the Australian pace-battery on the deteriorating pitch of the SCG.

The duo accumulated the second 50-plus opening stand in the match. The openers provided a formidable start to the visitors as they added 71-run for the first wicket.

Pacer Josh Hazlewood scalped Gill (31) as he was caught behind the stumps by skipper Tim Paine. Pujara walked in to bat at number three. Pujara and Rohit then played defensively and kept the scoreboard moving. They stitched a 21-brief stand before Rohit was removed by Cummins. At that time, India were left reeling at 92/2 in 30.2 overs.

Rohit played a knock of 52 runs studded with six and five fours. After Rohit's dismissal, Rahane joined Pujara in the middle and made sure that the side did not lose any more wickets in the day. India are still 309 runs behind from the target while Australia need eight wickets to seal the series on the final day of the Pink Test.

Earlier, the hosts declared their second innings on 312/6 at tea on the fourth afternoon after the dying minutes saw an unruly group in the crowd once again hurl abuses at Indian pacer Mohammed Siraj.

The second session saw Australia scoring 130 runs from 23 overs. Cameron Green played a knock of 84 runs while Tim Paine remained unbeaten on 39. The second session on day four witnessed high drama after Siraj along with India skipper Rahane had a word with umpire Paul Reiffel regarding the unruly behaviour of the crowd. Visuals on television indicated that there were some words spoken for Siraj who was fielding near the boundary rope.

Both the umpires then had a word with each other and the police then asked a group of men to leave the stand. Resuming the second session at 182/4, Steve Smith started batting in an aggressive fashion from the very start and he was quick to capitalise on the loose deliveries.

However, Smith (81) was adjudged leg-before wicket on the delivery bowled by Ravichandran Ashwin and Australia was reduced to 208/5. Skipper Paine then joined Green in the middle and the duo did not let the momentum drop for the hosts.

After bringing up his maiden Test fifty, Green changed the gears and especially took a liking towards Siraj and the batsman hit him for three sixes. In the second session, Australia managed to score runs from overs.

Navdeep Saini had struck twice but Smith's unbeaten 58 kept the hosts afloat in the first session on day four. At the break, Australia had reached the score of 182/4, extending their lead to 276 runs. For the hosts, Smith and Green were at the crease batting on 58 and 20 respectively.

Before the tea break, Green was sent back to the pavilion by Jasprit Bumrah, but not before the all-rounder went on to play a knock of 84 runs.

Brief Scores: India 244 and 98/2 (Rohit Sharma 52, Shubman Gill 31; Josh Hazlewood 1-11); Australia 338 and 312/6d (Cameron Green 84, Steve Smith 81, Navdeep Saini 2-54).

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