Only 27.3 overs were possible on a day when rain and bad light played spoilsport
Kuldeep Yadav scalped his second 5-wicket haul
Australia, who were asked to follow-on ended Day 4 at 6 for 0, still trailing India by 316 runs.
Though only 27.3 overs were possible on Day 4 at the Sydney Cricket Ground, India strengthened their foothold in the match and in the series, as they stand on the brink of a historical series triumph Down Under.
After bowling out the hosts for 300, the visiting team enforced the follow-on – which is only the first time in 30 years that Australia are following-on at home. The entire first session on Day 4 was washed out and India had to wait an agonizing 230 minutes before they grabbed the first Aussie wicket on the day. Mohammad Shami bowled Pat Cummins with a low delivery while Jasprit Bumrah on the other end was phenomenal with the second new ball, varying his pace whilst bowling sharply and accurately.
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He scalped the wicket of overnight batsman Peter Handscomb, who chopped on to the stumps. The batsman tried to play the 149kmph deliveries by Bumrah outside the crease and by getting forward constantly, but the ploy didn’t seem to work against the Gujarat bowler.
Kuldeep Yadav was the star of the show henceforth as he got the wicket of Nathan Lyon almost immediately, LBW off a full toss ball. However, it did look a dubious decision by the umpire as the impact looked around the off-stump, but Lyon surprisingly did not opt for the DRS review. Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood frustrated India with a non-common 42-run stand for the last wicket, and a drop by Hanuma Vihari at mid-on did not help matters either. The bowler in question who faced the drop off his bowling, Kuldeep, however, returned to clinch his five-wicket haul, sending Hazlewood back LBW.
— BCCI (@BCCI) January 6, 2019
The follow-on was on the cards as soon as the last wicket fell, with Virat Kohli having no qualms about sending Australia to bat again, something that he did not go ahead within Melbourne even when the opportunity arose. With rain and bad light predicted for Day 5 as well and with India leading Australia by 322 runs, the decision did not seem surprising either.
In Australia’s next innings, Bumrah and Shami bowled with full steam, as they have done wonderfully since the tour to South Africa last year. The Aussie openers did withstand the tricky four overs before play was ended for the day, but with 316 runs still to the summit, it remains to be seen how long the Aussies can deny the inevitable.
Brief Scores: India 622/7 dec. lead Australia 300 (Marcus Harris 79, Mitchell Starc 29*; Kuldeep Yadav 5-99) & 6/0, by 316 runs.