Sydney: Indian spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja spun a web around Australia, restricting them to 236 for the loss of six wickets, before bad light stopped play on Day 3 of the fourth and final Test match here at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on Saturday.
While resuming the day today, Marcus Harris and Usman Khawaja, who were stranded on 19 and 5 on the second day, gave Australia a flying start in the morning session. However, to maintain India’s control, Kuldeep struck Khawaja (27) to break the 72-run opening-wicket stand.
Marnus Labuschagne, playing his first game in the ongoing Test series, came out to share the crease with Harris, who meanwhile, reached his half-century off 67 deliveries.
The duo stitched a 50-run stand to take the hosts past 100-run mark. At lunch, Australia posted 122 for the loss of one wicket.
After resumption, the hosts lost their momentum after some tight bowling by the spinners. India once again retained control of the match in the end of the second session, when Jadeja first took the charge and halted Harris’ maiden Test century, dismissing him for 79.
Following Harris’ departure, Shaun Marsh came out to support Labuschagne, who kept putting the pressure back on the Indian side and helped the team to move past the 150-run mark.
However, to shrug the frustration off the Indian shoulders, Jadeja struck again and dismissed Shaun Marsh (8), who gave a simple catch to Ajinkya Rahane at first slip.
After a brief fightback from Australia, India got its much-needed breakthrough as pacer Mohammed Shami scalped Labuschagne (38), who tried to flick the ball but was easily caught by Rahane at slip.
Holding the crease for a dented Australia, Travis Head and Peter Handscomb seemed uncomfortable in the middle.
It was then Kuldeep who came into the picture and ripped through the brittle line-up, first taking a brilliant low catch of Head (20) off his own over. When the tea session was called, India restricted Australia to 198 for the loss of five wickets.
Continuing his momentum, an on-fire Kuldeep picked his third wicket of the day in the name of Australian captain Tim Paine, who was dismissed cheaply for just five runs.
Pat Cummins (25*) and Peter Handscomb (28*) were holding the crease for Australia, before bad light ended the day’s play early, owing to dark clouds that hovered around the stadium. At stumps, Australia posted 236 for the loss of six wickets inside 84 overs.
The hosts are trailing by 386 runs with just four wickets left in hand.