Team India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has picked the final wicket of the Australian innings to set up a target of 70 runs in the ongoing Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The Aussie tail resisted well to give themselves something to bowl at considering they had knocked down India within 36 runs in the second innings of the last Test.
Starting at 133 for six, both the overnight batsmen looked at ease against Indian bowlers who ran riot on day 3. They rotated the strike easily to keep the scoreboard moving as Australia stretched the lead. It was until India opted for the second new ball and Jasprit Bumrah was right on the money. He removed Pat Cummins, who shared a 50-run stand with Cameron Green to guide Australia to a respectable total.
Ravichandran Ashwin castles Hazlewood’s timber
The Aussie batters made Indian bowlers work hard for the wickets. Finally, debutant Mohammed Siraj managed to removed Green, who played a fine knock of 45 runs before knocking over Nathan Lyon to take his tally to three wickets in this innings. While many thought it was only time India pick the last wicket but Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc didn’t give their wickets easily until an error of judgement by Hazlewood off Ravichandran Ashwin’s bowling.
It was the straighter ball from Ashwin and it kept going with the angle. Hazlewood thought it would spin away as he let it go but he was undone as the ball went straight on and hit the top of off-stump. It was an error of judgement from the Aussie batsman as he watches the ball crash the top of his off-stump.
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Previously, at 99 for 6, Australia looked dead and buried but the seventh-wicket stand has ensured that India will bat again in this Test. But credit to India, they scrapped hard, the pitch was getting better to bat on, was slowing up and gave very little to both the pacers and the spinners – they kept plugging away, hit the right channels and kept asking questions.