Boxing Day Test: Australia in trouble, struggle to 89/4 at lunch on Day 3
At the break, Travis Head was unbeaten on 18 but Australia lost Shaun Marsh (19) at the stroke of lunch, with India leading by 354 runs
Indian bowlers made early inroads and struck four blows in the morning session to reduce Australia to 89 for four at lunch on day three of the third cricket Test here on Friday.
At the break, Travis Head was unbeaten on 18 but Australia lost Shaun Marsh (19) at the stroke of lunch, with India leading by 354 runs. Starting at the overnight score of 8 for no loss, Australia were under the pump early on as Ishant Sharma (1/32) and Jasprit Bumrah (2/28) made life difficult for the batsmen with their immaculate line and length. Trying to break the shackles and dominate the opposition bowlers, Australian openers adopted an attacking approach which worked in India's favour.
Ishant struck in the fifth over of the morning when Mayank Agarwal latched on to a sharp catch at short mid-wicket to send back Aaron Finch (8). The fielder was stationed there for any aerial shot and the plan worked perfectly.
Four overs later, Marcus Harris (22) went for an uncontrolled pull and found the fine leg fielder as Bumrah celebrated his first wicket of the day. India used the scoreboard pressure to good effect as Ravindra Jadeja (1/19) came on to bowl with close-in fielders all around the bat. The left-arm spinner exploited the rough outside the left-hander's off-stump and it became increasingly difficult for the batsmen to survive.
Usman Khawaja (21) fell to this ploy, caught at short leg, as Australia slipped further to 53 for 3 in the 20th over. The pace of scoring hadn't changed from the first two days, but it was pretty obvious that the nature of pitch was vastly different as India pressed home their advantage. Shaun Marsh and Head then added 36 runs for the fourth wicket and brought some semblance of stability to the Australian innings. They used good footwork against Jadeja to smother the possibility of turn from the rough.
But Bumrah came up with an inspirational yorker at the stroke of lunch and the slow dipping delivery caught Shaun Marsh plumb in front of the wicket as Australia's top-order was completely blown away on the third morning. Earlier on the opening day, debutant Mayank Agarwal had scored his maiden Test half-century after India won the toss and opted to bat.
Cheteshwar Pujara then scored his 17th Test hundred on Thursday to help India declare their first innings at 443 for 7. The four-match series is tied at 1-1 after India won the first Test in Adelaide by 31 runs and Australia won the second Test in Perth by 146 runs.
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