India vs Australia: Bumrah, Jadeja bring India on the cusp of famous win

Jasprit Bumrah and Ravindra Jadeja picked up five wickets between them as Australia finished the fourth day's play at the MCG at 258 for eight, needing 141 more for an improbable victory.

Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja used the angles capably - he bowled wide and from over the wicket to the left-handers - and flighted the ball, getting it to turn into the southpaws.   -  reuters

Judge the length, use your feet and play straight. And wait for the loose deliveries.

That’s what Pat Cummins, heroic for Australia with the ball and the bat, did at the crease. Sadly for the host, the specialist batsmen, lacking focus and will, let the side down by not consolidating on starts.

India, setting a daunting target of 399, and picking wickets at regular intervals, is on the verge of winning the Test, taking an unassailable 2-1 lead with just the Sydney Test remaining, and retaining the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

At stumps on day four at the MCG in the third Test, Australia was 258 for eight, needing 141 more for an improbable victory on a pitch of variable bounce and rough around the wicket.  

Cummins' all-round show

Nathan Lyon and Pat Cummins put up a brave rearguard.   -  afp

 

Against an incisive Indian attack that ruthlessly exploited chinks, the Aussies needed to show greater fight. Only Cummins, who followed his career-best six for 27 in the Indian second innings with an unbeaten 61, showed heart and pride.

He got solidly behind the line, was sound in defence, and when the opportunities arose, cover drove and straight drove with immaculate timing.

Along with a tenacious Nathan Lyon, Cummins added an unbeaten 43 runs for the ninth wicket, surviving extended play, the Indian attack and the second new ball.

Bumrah breathes fire, again

For India, Jasprit Bumrah was once again the impact bowler.   -  getty images

 

For India, Jasprit Bumrah was once again the impact bowler. He extracted lift from back of a length, seamed the ball and got it to swing too. His bowling had speed and thrust.

He removed Aaron Finch early with a rising delivery that was angled in. Finch, lacking feet movement and with a mind that’s tuned in to limited overs cricket, attempted a chop over slips and Virat Kohli held a blinder in the cordon.

Read more on the pacer's magical 2018: Bumrah sizzles in debut year

Then he grabbed the key wicket of Shaun Marsh with a delivery that zipped into the southpaw who played across and missed.

Shaun (44), who had stroked fluently on either side, fell to the umpire’s call. Replay showed the ball just nicking the leg-stump.    

Jadeja spins a web

Ravindra Jadeja snapped up three wickets to hasten Australia's slide.   -  afp

 

Meanwhile, left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja used the angles capably - he bowled wide and from over the wicket to the left-handers - and flighted the ball, getting it to turn into the southpaws.

Opener Marcus Harris pushed forward tentatively and was picked up, bat-pad, at short-leg. Mayank Agarwal managed to hold on the ball that came to him quickly.

And India’s ploy against an impulsive Mitchell Marsh worked. Jadeja, shifting to round the wicket against the right-handers, found some drift.

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Marsh, jumping out but not keeping the ball down, was smartly held, overhead, by Kohli at short cover.

Jadeja consumed Tim Paine - the Aussie captain had looked confident - on the cut with a quicker delivery. ‘Keeper Rishabh Pant took a fine catch off the under-edge.

Interestingly, Pant had needled Paine by calling him “a temporary captain” during his stay.

Hunting in a pack

The Indian bowlers hunted as a pack. The left-handed Usman Khawaja, stroking crisply on either side, played down the wrong line to a delivery that darted in from Mohammed Shami. Shami was pacy, skiddy and on target.

And it was good captaincy by Kohli when he brought back Ishant Sharma when Travis Head, defending stoutly and punching through the off-side, was proving hard to dislodge. Ishant pitched the ball up and Head, attempting a drive, played on.   

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In the morning, Mayank, dancing down to off-spinner Lyon, and Pant, whose straight six off Josh Hazlewood was a brutal blow, gathered some quick runs to enable India early.

Kohli’s men are now on the verge of a famous victory.