Sport Cricket A defiant and magnificent Cummins foils India’s ambition to wrap up the MCG Test
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A defiant and magnificent Cummins foils India’s ambition to wrap up the MCG Test

Travis Head
Travis Head here's the death rattle at the MCG. Photos: Getty
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AUSTRALIA v INDIA – MCG, THIRD TEST, DAY FOUR, STUMPS

India 7-443 (dec)      8-122 (dec)   Australia needs 147 to win

Australia 151           8 – 258

Cummins – 61      Lyon – 6

Pat Cummins (61*) defied India’s pace battery and the new ball with a fighting half-century to force the third Test into a fifth and final day at the MCG.

His performance with the bat put his top-order comrades to shame as he showed grit and poise to compile his highest Test score – and the highest score by an Australian in the match.

It was matched by a career-best effort with the ball.

Early on day four, Cummins picked up from where he left off on day three, bowling with pace and accuracy and menacing the Indian batsmen. His match figures of 9-99 are the best of his 17 test career.

Cummins will resume on the fifth day with fellow bowler Nathan Lyon (6*) who was effusive in his praise of his batting partner.

“He’s one of the best all-rounders in the game and he’s worked his backside off with his batting, and it’s great to see him get some reward, and I’d like nothing better than to see Pat bring up his maiden Test match century tomorrow,” Lyon said.

The reality is that Australia is facing a demoralising defeat after India methodically dismantled their batting line-up on day four at the MCG.

Wickets fell at regular intervals, often due to poor shot selection from the Australian batsmen.

Tim Paine (26) was the last recognised batsmen to fall, under-edging a Ravindra Jadeja delivery to be caught behind by Rishabh Pant.

Travis Head (34) repeated the same shot that got him out in the first innings by playing outside the line of an Ishant Sharma delivery. He was bowled for the second time in the match.

Mitch Marsh (10) was the fifth wicket to fall. He produced another park cricket shot and was caught at short cover off the bowling of Jadeja .

Shaun Marsh (44)  and Travis Head put together a 51-run partnership before Marsh was struck on the pads by Jasprit Bumrah and given out.

Marsh reviewed the decision but as the umpire’s “soft call” was out, the fact the ball was projected to clip the leg stump meant he had to go.

Earlier, Usman Khawaja (33) was also caught on his crease, trapped in front LBW by Mohammed Shami.

The run chase got off to a particularly rocky start with Aaron Finch (3) an early casualty, caught at slip off the bowling of Bumrah.

Marcus Harris (13) was next to go when Jadeja got one to turn and Harris failed to get anywhere near the pitch of the delivery, clipping a sharp chance to Mayank Agarwal, who completed a sharp catch at short leg.

India’s bowling coach Bharat Arun was delighted with his bowlers and acknowledged they are emerging as a golden generation.

“Definitely, yes. Over a period of time right, from the time we started our tour of South Africa, England and now here, they have done exceptionally well,” Arun said.

India went searching for quick runs as they looked to build an impregnable lead early on day four of the 3rd Test at the MCG and declared at 8-106, leaving Paine’s team the onerous task of producing a record run chase at the MCG if they were to take a 2-1 lead in the series.

England’s 1928-29 touring team reeled in a victory target of 332 with three wickets in hand at the MCG to set a record for a run chase that remains the benchmark.

Lyon has promised that he, Cummins and Josh Hazelwood would continue the fight on day five.

“They are a world-class outfit and they’re playing an exciting brand of cricket. We’re going to come out and try and win the first ball and the first over and show a lot of fight.

“We’re going out there to show a lot of pride and bat for Australia,” Lyon said.

“That’s all we can do and we’re going to enjoy doing it. It’s an absolute honour to play Test cricket for Australia and we’re not going to give this Test match up lightly.”

 

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