India close in on series victory over Australia

Jo Caldwell
January 7, 2019

India have all but confirmed their first series Test victory in Australia by batting for almost two full days in raising 622-7 declared with Pujara (193) and Pant (159 not out) scoring centuries.

England were the last team to force Australia to follow-on at home in the drawn 1988 Sydney Test, a result the hosts are unlikely to repeat unless the weather intervenes decisively.

Selectors will on Wednesday name a squad for the first Test against Sri Lanka, starting in Brisbane on January 24.

After the start of play was delayed by nearly four hours, the hosts were bowled out for 300 before tea, trailing India by 322 runs in the first innings.

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Sunday's morning session was washed out and play eventually started at 1:49pm.

It came after India also amassed a 292-run first-innings lead in Melbourne last week, only on that occasion they opted to bat again themselves in the 137-run flogging.

With 98 overs to be bowled in tomorrow's day play and if weather holds up, the Indian bowlers would be looking to finish the series on a high and help India create history by winning the series 3-1.

Kuldeep, playing his first match in the series, picked up his second five-wicket haul in Test cricket, with his first coming against the West Indies at Rajkot in October of a year ago.

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Openers Marcus Harris and Usman Khawaja got through four overs unscathed before play was abandoned early due to bad light.

And he could have immediately completed his five-wicket haul, but Hanuma Vihari put down a skier from Josh Hazlewood (21) at mid on.

Left-arm spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Yadav did the bulk of the damage on day three, but it was quicks Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah who made early inroads with the second new ball.

Bumrah needed just four balls at Peter Handscomb to remove the recalled batsman for 37, tempting him to play a delivery outside off that took the inside edge and dislodged the bails.

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Kuldeep Yadav then dismissed Nathan Lyon for 0.

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