• Monster India innings crushes Aussie hopes

    India’s batters paraded their talents for the world to see at Sydney, scoring a monster 622-7 on the second day of the fourth and final Test against Australia at Sydney.

    Hanuma Vihari added just five runs to his overnight score of 39, after which Cheteshwar Pujara and Rishabh Pant combined to add 89 runs for the sixth wicket in good time before Pujara fell seven short of what would have been his fourth double century in Test cricket … two of which had come against Australia.

    Pujara’s innings ended when he was caught and bowled by Nathan Lyon for 193 off 373 balls (22 fours), with the run fest pushing his Test batting average up past 50. His performance capped a tremendous series for the Indian star, reaching 521 runs (ave 74.42) in the four Tests against Australia (almost double that of Virat Kohli’s 282 runs), with the opportunity to add to that tally if India bat again in this Test.

    READ ALSO: Pujara perfect on Day 1 in Sydney

    Ravindra Jadeja and Pant then put on a mammoth 204-run stand for the seventh wicket to grind the Australian bowlers into the SCG dirt. Pant raced to his second Test century off just 137 balls as he and Jadeja pressed home the advantage over the flagging Aussie bowlers.

    Jadeja had scored his maiden Test century against the West Indies in Rajkot in October 2018, but he fell short of his second century at Sydney after being bowled by Nathan Lyon for 81 (114 balls, 7×4, 1×6), his 10th Test half-century. Jadeja’s bowling will no doubt play a key role in India’s chances of winning this fourth Test.

    With Jadeja’s dismissal, Kohli declared the Indian innings closed on 622-6, leaving Pant undefeated on 159 off 189 balls (15×4, 1×6), his highest Test score coming in his 15th innings.

    READ ALSO: WATCH: You free to babysit, mate? – Paine to Pant

    Nathan Lyon’s 4-178 off 57.2 overs was a sterling effort, but it would have excited Virat Kohli and the two spinners in his pack as they seek to bowl Australia out twice in three-and-a-bit days on a typical Sydney turner.

    Marcus Harris and Usman Khawaja saw Australia through to the close on 24 without loss after 10 overs, and the pair will resume tomorrow with Australia 598 runs behind their visitors and all 10 wickets in hand.

    All chances of Australia levelling the series at 2-2 are gone – the best they can hope for now is to limit the damage to a 2-1 series loss … and look forward to the return of their two star batters (Steve Smith and David Warner) in the months to come.


    Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

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    Simon Lewis