India ended day two at the MCG with the ascendancy and day three produced more of the same as Australia’s batting frailties were again exposed. As the hosts slumped to 99-6 midway through the evening session – marking a collapse of four wickets for just 28 runs – it looked like India might win with more than two days to spare. But Cameron Green (17 not out) and Pat Cummins (15 not out) shared in an unbroken 34-run stand for the seventh wicket to ensure Australia will have at least something to bowl at on Tuesday.
Of great concern to Australia is the form of Steve Smith, whose 1 and 1 not out in Adelaide has been followed up with scores of 0 and 8 in the second Test, and that of Joe Burns, whose return of 0 and 4 in Melbourne surely make his days in the Test team numbered. David Warner cannot return fast enough for an Australia line-up that is yet to surpass 200 this series. What made India’s decimation of Australia’s top and middle order all the more meritorious was the calf injury suffered by Umesh early in the innings. It placed the load squarely on Bumrah, Siraj, Ashwin and Jadeja, and they did not disappoint on a deck that wasn’t overly helpful to the turning or seaming ball.
Controversy will surround the dismissal of Australia captain Tim Paine, who was adjudged caught behind on review despite Hotspot suggesting the ball made no contact with the bat. But even that can’t detract from India’s dominance. All things being equal, they should wrap things up on day four and level the series.
Good point, Krish. But I’m inclined to view Adelaide as an aberration rather than an oncoming trend. But stranger things have happened.