Australia avoids humiliating innings defeat on day three, but still in dire straits at MCG

India has bounced back from the humiliation of Adelaide with a spectacular day three performance against Australia at the MCG.

The Australian side was lucky to avoid defeat by an innings, ending the day 6-133 with a lead of two runs after no batsman managed to pass 40.

Having finally bowled India out for 326, holding a lead of 131, just before lunch, Australia’s batting capitulated once more; the match almost certainly gone now.

Joe Burns’s torrid red-ball season continued when he was dismissed for four in the fourth over of the innings, having previously survived a big LBW shout and two run out chances.

India’s chances looked to take a hit when Burns’s slayer, Umesh Yadav, left the field with a leg injury, leaving India a bowler short.

But a masterful spell from Ravichandran Ashwin kept the pressure up as Ajinkya Rahane rotated through his other options.

Marnus Labuschagne (28) was next to fall, caught at slip off a beauty from Ashwin that drifted and turned back into the right hander.

Steve Smith (8) did not last much longer as his own patchy form continued when he was bowled behind his legs by a Jasprit Bumrah ball that just tickled his leg stump.

Australia batsman Steve Smith looks back as a bail falls off the stumps during a Test against India at the MCG.Australia batsman Steve Smith looks back as a bail falls off the stumps during a Test against India at the MCG.
Steve Smith’s dismissal was suitably strange, with the bowler initially failing to see the bail on the ground.(AAP: Scott Barbour)

Matthew Wade had engaged in a fascinating battle with the Indian bowlers and wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant, but he fell LBW to Ravindra Jadeja for a hard-earned 40 from 137 balls to leave Australia reeling at 4-98.

Things got worse the next over when Travis Head slashed at a wide ball from Mohammed Siraj to give away his wicket for 17.

Tim Paine (1) has reason to feel hard done by after he was dismissed caught behind off Jadeja, despite an apparent gap between bat and ball and no mark on hot spot.

But there was evidence of a noise as the ball passed the bat, enough for the third umpire to dismiss the visibly upset Australian captain.

Australia’s youngest player, Cameron Green, was joined at the crease by the first of the tail-enders, Pat Cummins, with the team still 32 runs away from even forcing India to bat again.

But the tourists could not end the Test early, with Green and Cummins showing fight and skill to not only survive, but even give Australia a two-run lead to end the day.

Look back at all the action in our live blog below.

Live updates

By Simon Smale

Pinned

Australia vs India, Day 3

                

1hour agoMonday 28 December 2020 at 7:08am

By Dean Bilton

THAT’S STUMPS! Australia 6-133 leads by two runs

AP

A sensational day for India, one that should surely set up victory for the tourists in this second Test.

Despite the batting effort this morning probably not quite being what India had hoped, it was enough to push the lead past 100. Ajinkya Rahane was run out early doors, ending his fabulous innings a little earlier than hoped, and the tail was fairly swiftly whipped through by the Aussie bowlers, raising home town optimism of a solid third innings fight back.

In reality? Not so much. The Australian top order was found badly wanting again as the wonderful bowling of Jasprit Bumrah, Ravi Ashwin and co sparked another ugly collapse. If not for the rearguard of Cam Green and Pat Cummins just before stumps, it looked like a three-day Test and an innings defeat was very much on the cards.

Instead, we will return on day four with Australia fighting for survival, desperate to create a lead of even the slightest substance. As we saw in Adelaide, the Aussie bowling unit is capable of special things, but this may already be a bridge too far. India is in a golden position, deservedly so, and day four is likely to be the last of this Test.

So make sure you join me and Simon for it! Thanks for your company today, have a great night.

2hours agoMonday 28 December 2020 at 6:56am

By Dean Bilton

66th over – Ashwin to take us to stumps

Green advances and plays the first ball back down the wicket. Ashwin decides to move over the wicket now.

IN THE AIR! BUT FOUR! Not sure that was quite where Green wanted to put that, but it worked! Back foot, down the ground for four.

And with that, Australia leads!

Now a single for Green to get off strike with two balls to play. His job may very well be done for the day, but can Cummins survive?

One down, one to go. Here we go.

Ashwin bowled a leggie! And Cummins defended it, and survives the day!

A great day for India, but a minor victory for Australia in at least reaching the fourth day.

2hours agoMonday 28 December 2020 at 6:52am

By Dean Bilton

65th over – Siraj to bowl the penultimate over of the day

Righto, looks like we’ll have two more overs today. So close, but still so far for these two Aussies.

PLAYED AND MISSED! Green went for a sizable cover drive, and very nearly nicked off. Would have been a nice shot, had he hit it.

Oof, now a very good short ball from Siraj catches Green on the glove. He does well to keep it down and away from the many fielders on the on side.

Cummins wanted a quick single to end the over, but Green was wise to send him back.

One over left to bowl today.

2hours agoMonday 28 December 2020 at 6:50am

By Dean Bilton

64th over – Ashwin to Green

Ooh, just a nervous nibble outside the off stump from Green there. Ashwin is around the wicket now, and the angle is taking some adjusting to.

But adjust he does. He takes one to cover.

IN THE AIR! Just short of midwicket! Ashwin took the pace right off it, but Cummins survives!

Over bowled.

2hours agoMonday 28 December 2020 at 6:49am

By Dean Bilton

Who is Johnny Mullagh?

The newest member of the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame, that’s who. Mullagh was the best player of the 1868 Aboriginal team that became the first sporting team from Australia to tour internationally, and CA today announced he was to inducted into the HoF.

For a quick history lesson, hit up the ABC Back Roads video above

2hours agoMonday 28 December 2020 at 6:45am

By Dean Bilton

63rd over – Mohammed Siraj back into the attack

He’s been lively today. Can He pinch one more wicket tonight? Heavy leg side field set for Cummins.

Again, well played by Cummins. He’s not bothered about scoring right now, he just wants those stumps.

2hours agoMonday 28 December 2020 at 6:42am

By Dean Bilton

62nd over – Ashwin to Cummins

Little push to point from Cummins earns him a run.

Green does the exact same thing. Australia trails by only six.

Very well played again by Cummins and Green, three runs from the over.

2hours agoMonday 28 December 2020 at 6:37am

By Dean Bilton

61st over – Bumrah gets a crack at Cummins

Still around the wicket, a couple out on the hook. Watch out, Pat.

Another cracker of a yorker. Cummins got his bat down in the absolute nick of time.

Cummins gets one on the thigh and manages to avoid the many catchers on the leg side. One run.

Again, these yorkers are incredible. I don’t know how Green and Cummins are keeping these out.

Green refuses to play a hook shot, which is probably a good plan. There’s your over.

2hours agoMonday 28 December 2020 at 6:36am

By Dean Bilton

60th over – Ashwin bowling again

DROPPED? Yes, I think there was a feather there from Cummins. It didn’t stick in Pant’s glove. A rare error from India in the field.

Australia closing in on at least making India bat again.

2hours agoMonday 28 December 2020 at 6:35am

By Dean Bilton

Some more comments

Our batting has been an issue throughout but can’t help feel we’ve bowled worse too.

Lyon vs Ashwin has been won by the latter so far with the calibre of wickets he’s got.

Our pacers on home pitches have been easier to face than Bumrah or even newcomer Shiraj

India even lost a bowler in the second innings and it’s made no difference

-Bowling battle

My XI for the 3rd test

Warner Pucovski Labuschagne Smith Wade Green Paine Cummins Starc/Pattinson Lyon Hazelwood

Wade needs to be in the middle order to shore it up. Swap Green for Swepson if it’s a turning track at SCG

-Frustrated

Head definitely has head on chopping block. I know their is talk of Harris, but why not go Henriques, Stoinis or even Maxwell. Henriques is all class and can bat all day long if needed.

-Spinners are Winners

How long to go here today?? Presume the extra 30 min will be required to get overs in?

-Percy

 

Yep, but if there are any more wickets that may be able to play a little bit longer to hunt a result. 

2hours agoMonday 28 December 2020 at 6:29am

By Dean Bilton

59th over – Bumrah to bowl to Green

He’s coming around the wicket and aiming for the big fella’s head. I’m not sure that’s a particularly useful tactic, but we’ll see. Green is ducking them well.

Ahh, there’s the trick! The big inswinging yorker, spearing in at leg stump! Green was ready for it though, and he kept it out well.

OUCH! Now a bouncer that didn’t get up! It cannoned into Green’s arm. Luckily, he looks okay.

Well played, Cam Green. He’s fighting like hell against some very good bowling.

2hours agoMonday 28 December 2020 at 6:29am

By Dean Bilton

AP
2hours agoMonday 28 December 2020 at 6:27am

By Dean Bilton

58th over – Ravi Ashwin back into the attack

Green nudges him to point for a quick single.

And then Cummins defends out the rest of the over.

2hours agoMonday 28 December 2020 at 6:27am

By Dean Bilton

What’s the state of Pucovski’s concussion?

-Robert Smart

It’s a good question, nobody is quite sure. I think CA just wants to be so incredibly careful with him, and you can understand why. I would be surprised if he is suddenly ready for the third Test.

2hours agoMonday 28 December 2020 at 6:22am

By Dean Bilton

57th over – Bumrah to have another dip

Cummins lodged on the back stool to him. He’s copping a bit of what he normally dishes out.

Bumrah even tries the sneaky slower ball yorker, but Cummins is awake to the threat.

Another over survived. Bit of fight from these two.

2hours agoMonday 28 December 2020 at 6:20am

By Dean Bilton

56th over – Jadeja to bowl again

BANG! Cummins goes big over Jadeja’s head for four! Not sure where that came from, but it was solidly hit.

BANG AGAIN! Cam Green! What a shot that is over midwicket! Bit of random circiut breaking going on here.

Nine runs off the over, that one came from nowhere.

2hours agoMonday 28 December 2020 at 6:19am

By Dean Bilton

Damien Martyn spent years in test cricketing purgatory (courtesy of the selectors) after playing a poor shot. After watching Head’s little get out shot, maybe he needs some of the same treatment? That was a seriously ordinary shot, and surely he must be on the line for replacing if/when Warner returns.

-Snichor

Wonder if Marto fancies a game now?

But yes, Warner/Harris for Burns/Head seems the move right now, even though I don’t have much faith in Marcus Harris either.

Here’s some other reaction to the state of affairs:

A big hour for Australian cricket. They need to stand up for some respect at the moment. Sub par batting all series so far. They can’t afford to capitulate here.

-Percy

A sad reminder we have not crossed 200 at all this summer in the 2 completed innings we have played, and it looks unlikely here too.

I don’t see how we’re winning back this trophy with batting like this.

-Sad fan

Now the aim is to get a lead to save embarrassment.

-Peter

 

2hours agoMonday 28 December 2020 at 6:14am

By Dean Bilton

55th over – Jasprit Bumrah tossed the ball

It doesn’t get any easier.

Solid stuff from Green. Secure in his defence.

It’s a maiden, but it’s well played from the big fella.

2hours agoMonday 28 December 2020 at 6:12am

By Dean Bilton

54th over – Jadeja continues around the wicket

Cummins uses the angle to take one to the on side.

These two are both playing the spin off the back foot, looking to read it off the pitch. It’s slow going, but it’s better than the alternative.