Australia vs India: India survive to fight at the last frontier
Battling injuries, dropped catches and a hostile crowd, India managed to see through the fourth day of the Test to fight for a draw in Sydney.
Australia, who were on the brink of a 200-run lead at the end of third day, carried on in an aggressive manner, particularly in the second session, to put India on the back foot.
The day started on a horrid note for India as Hanuma Vihari dropped Marnus Labuschagne off Jasprit Bumrah on just the second delivery of the day. Labuschagne went on to score another fifty and was out only after Navdeep Saini got him to edge one to Saha. Bumrah was hard done by dropped catches on more than couple of occasions with Aussie batters making the best of reprieves.
Steve Smith, at the other end, went on with his job but fell short of a fifty with once again R Ashwin getting the better of him.
The highlight of Australia’s batting on the day was Cameron Green who used the long handle to up the ante. Bringing his maiden Test fifty, the big built all-rounder scored a 132-ball 84 runs, studded with eight boundaries and four towering sixes.
Australia declared at Tea, setting India a monumental target of 407 runs. With Ravindra Jadeja unlikely to bat and Rishabh Pant to nursing an injury, it looked like more than enough for the host’s bowling attack to defend.
The last session of the day saw the Indian openers come out with intent as they bettered their opening stand of previous innings. But just when India were easing into a comfort zone, Shubhman Gill edged to the keeper and soon after Rohit Sharma pulled a short ball straight to Mitchell Starc at fine leg.
Going into the last day, India need another 309 runs to win, something which looks improbable to achieve given the rate of scoring pattern this series has witness. A draw though cannot be ruled out and considering the number of factors they have been battling in this Test, that will nothing be less than a miraculous effort from a team without their regulars.