India
World Test Championship

All-round India level series with big victory in Melbourne

AUS v IND, 2nd Test, day four, report

Hit For Six!
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India worked through Australia's lower-order resistance on the fourth morning to set themselves up a crushing eight-wicket victory in Melbourne.

SCORECARD

Cameron Green and Pat Cummins stood firm for over an hour of play on the fourth morning, and it took a sharp Jasprit Bumrah bouncer to finally break the partnership with Cummins fending off to the slip cordon to fall for 22 off 103 deliveries.

Green, who had adopted a largely defensive approach until that point, looked to up the ante. But he was soon dismissed by debutant Mohammed Siraj as he failed to control a pull shot, holing out to mid-wicket for 45. His failure to reach fifty would mean that Australia finished the Test without a single half-century in the match – the first time since 1988 that they went a whole home Test without scoring one.

Mitchell Starc survived a couple of close lbw calls. In the first instance, he was adjudged lbw against Ravindra Jadeja but used DRS to reverse the decision with the tracker showing the ball go down leg. Later he was ruled not out on-field when struck on the pads by an R Ashwin carrom ball and India's review went with the umpire's call.

But India didn't have to wait too much longer for wickets as Siraj and Ashwin cleaned the tail out. Siraj had Lyon caught down leg for his third wicket of the innings and fifth of the match to complete a fine debut performance while Ashwin had the joy of closing the Australian innings out on 200 when No.11 Josh Hazlewood shouldered arms to a straighter one.

India had a few jitters early in their chase, but were able to close the game out comfortably as Shubman Gill and Ajinkya Rahane took them home. Mayank Agarwal's poor series continued as he poked at one outside off to fall for five to Mitchell Starc. Pat Cummins then had Cheteshwar Pujara caught at gully with one that held its line after pitching. At 19/2 India's supporters would've had nervy flashbacks of their capitulation for 36 in the previous Test in Adelaide.

Rahane, who made an innings-defining hundred in the previous innings, and debutant Gill played their strokes to allay those fears. The only other opportunity that came Australia's way was when the captain Rahane miscued a heave, only for Mitchell Starc to put down the chance in the deep after seeming in control of it.

Rahane later had the honour of hitting the winning run with Gill at the other end. The visitors will be very pleased with how confident the 21-year-old Gill has looked in his maiden Test, making 45 and 35*.

They will also be delighted about firming up their position at No.2 on the ICC World Test Championship points table. New Zealand are close on their heels in the standings, and the victory gives India breathing room.

Australia, who are at the top in the table, will sweat over their batting woes going into the next Test. Their total of 200 in the second innings is their highest in the series so far and the top order has appeared extremely tentative and their best batsman Steve Smith, who is No.1 in the MRF Tyres ICC Men's Test Rankings for batting, has managed only 10 runs in four innings.

The next Test is scheduled to take place in Sydney, starting 7 January.

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