Sport Cricket India lose wickets but set up match winning lead at the MCG
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India lose wickets but set up match winning lead at the MCG

Pat Cummins
Pat Cummins strikes back at the MCG. Photos: Getty
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 AUSTRALIA v INDIA – MCG, THIRD TEST, DAY THREE, STUMPS

India  5 – 54

7-443 (dec)      Australia  151 

Agarwal – 28     Pant – 6

Cummins  4-10

Pat Cummins took four early wickets in India’s second innings as India look to build on their first innings lead.

India went to stumps on day three at 5-54 with an overall lead of 346.

Cummins produced a barnstorming spell of bowling, dismissing Vihari (13), Pujara (0), Rahane(1)  and Kohli (0)  late on day three.

The Australians were punished by Virat Kohli’s attack, dismissed for 151.

Australia’s hopes of climbing back into the third Test with a strong batting performance were shattered at the MCG by some superb Indian bowling and a litany of awful shots by batsmen in baggy green caps.

Kohli could have forced the follow-on but has elected to bat, putting further workload into beleaguered Australian attack.

Tim Paine (22) was out straight after tea, edging Jasprit Bumrah to be caught behind. Nathan Lyon was soon on his way, trapped LBW by Bumrah who claimed his fifth wicket in the innings.

Josh Hazelwood was the last to fall as Bumrah completed the rout to finish with superb figures of 6-33.

It continues the pattern of failure by Australia’s batsmen with wickets tumbling at regular intervals after the lunch break.

Travis Head (20) was out soon after the resumption, attempting a reckless drive off the bowling of Bumrah and was bowled.

Mitch Marsh (9) fared little better, swishing at a Ravindra Jadeja delivery and being caught behind by Ajinkya Rahane.  Pat Cummins (17) looked as likely as any of his teammates to occupy the crease before he was beaten by Mohammed Shami and bowled.

In the last over before lunch, Shaun Marsh (19) was trapped LBW by a brilliant slow yorker from Bumrah to complete a devastating session by India’s bowlers.

Marsh was incredulous as the ball thumped into his foot, dipping delightfully at the point of impact to deceive the big West Australian.

The morning session was a train wreck for the Australians.

Aaron Finch (8) was the first to go, falling to Ishant Sharma’s well-laid plan.

Virat Kohli had placed Mayank Agarwal at a short mid-on position in that hope that Finch would flick something off his pads at a catchable height.

The Victorian opener obliged him and was on his way, much to the delight of the Indians whose plan had worked to perfection.

Marcus Harris (22) was soon to follow. The rookie opener never got in position to execute his hook shot from Bumra’s bowling and skied a catch to Ishant Sharma at fine leg.

Usman Khawaja (21) was required to do the heavy lifting as the senior batsman in the team. Khawaja had grafted his way into the twenties but his vulnerability to slow bowling was exposed once again.

In Ravindra Jadeja’s first over, Khawaja was caught at short leg as Australia’s top order was dismantled with ease.

Australia’s batsmen faced a day of hard graft and application as they set out to overhaul India’s first innings total of 7-443 declared on day three of the 3rd Test at the MCG.

Their lack of patience, technique, and conviction is being ruthlessly exploited by an Indian attack that senses their vulnerability.

Aaron Finch and Marcus Harris successfully navigated a six over spell from India’s fast bowlers late on day two but with their early departure, Khawaja’s failure and Marsh’s dismissal, things are looked g grim for Tim Paine’s team and only got worse.

Ishant Sharma and Bumrah were tasked by Virat Kohli with making early breakthroughs that put the Australian middle order under pressure.

They kept their end of the bargain and  Australia’s batsmen failed to respond.

The much-maligned MCG pitch may hold the key.  Whilst it’s unlikely to provide the bowlers any spark, if it starts to keep low and begins to play tricks with variable bounce, batting could become treacherous.

Australia is still looking for its first centurion of the series and there would be no better time for Australian batsmen to “go big”  and post a three-figure score to bat his team out of the danger zone in the second innings.

To have any hope of winning the series Australia needs at least a draw at the MCG.

Unlikely as it is, Cummins at least reignited some self-belief within his team.

Whether they’re capable of following his lead is the question.