Despite a lengthy delay due to rain in the morning, India wrapped up proceedings quickly on the final day of the third Test at the MCG to beat Australia handsomely and retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy with a match to spare.
After a nail-biting rain delay at the scheduled start of play that saw the teams take an early lunch before a ball had been bowled, India needed only four-and-a-half overs to snap up the last two Aussie wickets to secure victory in the third Test at the MCG.
Pat Cummins added just two runs to his overnight score as he fell for 63 in the 89th over of the innings, followed six balls later by Nathan Lyon for seven as Australia’s second innings closed on 261, giving India victory by 137 runs.
The final two wickets were picked up by Jasprit Bumrah (3-53) and Ishant Sharma (2-40), with Mohammed Shami (2-71) and Ravindra Jadeja (3-82) adding their weight the previous evening.
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‘To play Test cricket is a great feeling. I always focus on consistency,’ said Player of the Match Jasprit Bumrah, who took his career-best Test figures of 9-86 in the match. ‘When you have so many options, you may get confused. Someday you get wickets, someday another mate will, but we don’t think about those.’
A jubilant Virat Kohli was emphatic that his side would not relax in the final Test match, having retained the Border-Gavaskar trophy.
‘We are not going to stop here. This has given us more confidence to play more positive cricket in Sydney. We’ve done well in all three departments, which is why we’ve retained the trophy. But we want to continue. We knew that it would be tough for Australia, but credit to our bowlers, especially Jasprit.
‘The three fast bowlers have broken the record for most wickets by pacers in a calendar year for a team, which is brilliant. I certainly feel proud as a captain when they bowl in partnerships,’ added Kohli.
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‘We made some strides forward in Perth, but this was disappointing,’ admitted Aussie skipper Tim Paine. ‘We’re playing against some of the best bowlers, and we need to find positives before Sydney. Another huge challenge coming up. We had little discussions about the batting order, but conditions in Sydney will be different, so we’ll decide on the best formula.
‘It’s been a difficult year, but the silver lining is that we’ll have some world-class players available for selection in a few months. And we’ll see the benefits of what happened this year over the next few,’ concluded Paine, who surely never imagined at the start of 2018 just how the year would pan out for the men in the Baggy Greens.
The fourth and final Test of the series starts on 3 January at the Sydney Cricket Ground at 1:30AM (SAST).
Photo: Michael Dodge/Getty Images