In­dian bowlers have Aussies on ropes

The Sunday Independent - - SPORT -

AUS­TRALIA’s bat­ting woes re­turned on the third day of the fourth Test yes­ter­day with the home side slump­ing to 236/6 when bad light and rain brought an early end to their re­sponse to In­dia’s mam­moth first-in­nings tally.

The tourists, who de­clared on 622/7 late on Fri­day, only need a draw to claim a first se­ries win Down Un­der and Aus­tralia’s hopes of sal­vaging any­thing from the match faded with the loss of five wick­ets after lunch.

Mar­cus Har­ris, Mar­nus Labuschagne, Shaun Marsh and Travis Head were all dis­missed in the sec­ond ses­sion, be­fore cap­tain Tim Paine fol­lowed shortly after the tea break.

Peter Hand­scomb, un­beaten on 28, and fast bowler Pat Cum­mins, who had made 25, were at the crease when bad light stopped play.

Most of the Aus­tralian bats­men made starts but only opener Har­ris was able to get past the half-cen­tury mark, his 79 the high­est score by the home side in a four-match se­ries in which In­dia have pil­laged five cen­turies.

The left-han­der showed in­tent but just when it seemed he could be head­ing for a maiden test ton, he played the ball onto his own stumps off the bowl­ing of Ravin­dra Jadeja.

“I was dis­ap­pointed not to get a hun­dred but it was good to spend some time in the mid­dle,” Har­ris told re­porters.

“I’d been play­ing pos­i­tively against the spin­ners and got out with a half-ar­sed shot so prob­a­bly a bit dis­ap­pointed with my­self more than any­thing.”

In­dia’s pace at­tack played the lead­ing role in vic­to­ries in Ade­laide and Mel­bourne that gave the tourists a 2-1 se­ries lead but it was the spin­ners who did most of the dam­age on Satur­day.

Jadeja (2-62) also ac­counted for the ex­pe­ri­enced Marsh (8), who must surely have ex­hausted his sup­ply of test re­calls after leav­ing his bat hang­ing to gift Ajinkya Ra­hane the sim­plest of catches at first slip.

Ra­hane had to work con­sid­er­ably harder for the catch that dis­missed Labuschagne for 38 off the bowl­ing of Mo­hammed Shami, div­ing low to his left to grab the ball with both hands.

Kuldeep Ya­dav dis­missed Head caught and bowled shortly be­fore tea, his sec­ond vic­tim of a day when he ended up with 3-71.

Paine be­came the spin­ner’s third vic­tim when a peach of a de­liv­ery clean bowled the Aus­tralia cap­tain through his gap­ing gate for five.

The 24-year-old’s best de­liv­ery, though, was prob­a­bly the “wrongun” that de­ceived Us­man Khawaja into mis­cu­ing a slog in the first ses­sion and sent Aus­tralia’s top bats­man pack­ing for 27.

“...I knew he was go­ing to come at me so I was very lucky that wrong one landed per­fectly,” Kuldeep said. “I was very happy.”

The sur­face that In­dia’s bats­men had feasted on for two days was still of­fer­ing lit­tle for the bowlers and the hosts will be curs­ing them­selves for some soft dis­missals after a 72-run open­ing stand.

“I got a start, a few of us got a start but none of us went on to make a big score,” Har­ris added.

“We’re a young group and we’re try­ing to work it out and we’re play­ing against the num­ber one side in the world, so it’s not an easy thing to do.

“We’ve def­i­nitely had op­por­tu­ni­ties to make hun­dreds in the se­ries, it’s been ex­e­cu­tion or a few other funny ways that peo­ple have got out, so that’s it re­ally.”

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