India pushed through to reach the highest score of the match and then snapped up four Australian second-innings wickets on the fourth day of the first Test in Adelaide to leave the hosts staring down the barrel of defeat ahead of the final day.
Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane took their overnight partnership to 87 off 185 balls during the morning’s session before Pujara perished off the bowling of Nathan Lyon, caught at short leg by Aaron Finch.
Pujara’s 71 off a monster 204 balls (9×4) was a perfect complement to his first-innings 123 as the 65-Test veteran left his mark on the first Test. Rohit Sharma then fell cheaply, after which Rishabh Pant blazed 28 runs off just 16 balls (4×4, 1×6, S/R 175.00) before he fell with the score on 282.
India lost three wickets with the score on 303 (including that of Rahane for 70 off 147 balls, 7×4), with their last wicket falling four runs later as they were bowled out for 307 off 106.5 overs.
Aaron Finch snapped up four catches and Mitchell Starc took 3-40 off 21.5 overs (econ 1.83), but the hero of the day was Lyon, who took 6-122 off 42 overs (econ 2.90) to reign in the Indian batters and keep the target to a minimum. It was Lyon’s 13th Test five-for and took his match figures to 8-205.
Set 323 to win, Australia lost Finch for 11 in the 12th over with the score on 28, caught by Pant off the bowling of Ravi Ashwin.
Test debutant Marcus Harris followed with the score on 44, Pant again taking the catch, but this time off the bowling of Mohammed Shami for 26 off 49 balls (3×4). Having also scored 26 in the first innings (off 57 balls), Harris might hold the record for the highest matching scores on Test debut, although he would undoubtedly have preferred if he had scored a century in either innings.
Runs were certainly needed by Australia, but they proved to be in short supply as Usman Khawaja fell for eight off 42 balls, followed by Peter Handscomb for 14 off 40 balls as Australia sunk to 84-4.
Shaun Marsh (31 off 92 balls, 3×4) and Travis Head (11 off 37 balls, 1×4) will resume Australia’s second innings tomorrow, with the score on 104-4 off 49 overs.
Shami ended the day with figures of (2-15) and Ashwin 2-44 as India claimed the honours from a key day of Test cricket. It has left Australia facing the daunting prospect of scoring another 219 runs with only six second-innings wickets in hand in what will be a fascinating and definitely rewarding day of Test cricket tomorrow.
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