India are confident and far from complacent as they hunt an unprecedented Test series win in Australia, having secured a 2-1 series lead and the Border-Gavaskar trophy at the MCG.
Virat Kohli’s team are perfectly placed to complete a breakthrough series win at the SCG, where the final Test starts on Thursday, after defeating Australia by 137 runs in the third Test.
Melbourne’s morning rain on day five provided more resistance than some of Australia’s batsmen but play finally started at 1255pm AEDT.
India required just 4.3 overs and a tick over 20 minutes on Sunday to claim the required two wickets, triggering wild scenes from Kohli and India’s fans.
Jasprit Bumrah dismissed Pat Cummins to finish with man-of-the-match figures of 9-86, while Nathan Lyon was undone by an Ishant Sharma bouncer as Australia were rolled for 261 in pursuit of a venue-record target of 399.
“We’re not going to stop here, Kohli vowed.
“This has only given us more confidence to go to Sydney and play even more positive cricket.
“The job is not done. It’s not finished at all.
“There’s no point being complacent. Nothing is going to distract us from winning that last Test. We’ve never been in this position, we’ve worked really hard.”
India have lost all 11 previous Test series in Australia, a barren stretch dating back to when they were crushed by Don Bradman’s side in 1948.
But the tourists, having exposed Australia’s batting woes in clinical fashion throughout the MCG match, now have all the momentum.
Tim Paine, who admitted changes to the batting order and XI were possible after the lopsided loss, urged his teammates to fight back and level the series.
“It’s been an interesting year. A difficult year. In the next few years we’ll see some benefits of what’s happened but we’re under no illusions we’ve got to work really hard,” Paine said.
Cummins, who pushed the third Test into a fifth day with his career-best knock but was dismissed for 63 on Sunday, declared Australia were desperate to avoid an ignominious series loss.
“We can go 2-all in Sydney. That’d be a pretty good result against the No.1 team in the world. We are desperate not to lose … really determined,” Cummins said.
“We didn’t absorb the pressure as much as India did. They outplayed us.”