India vs Australia, Day 4, Sydney Test Match: Australia lead by 348 runs

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Aussie stand- in skipper Steve Smith
Aussie stand-in skipper Steve Smith

Resuming at their overnight score of 342/5, India were bowled out for 475 giving Australia a first innings lead of 97.  Indian  skipper Virat Kohli could add only 7 runs to his overnight score and was out for 147. Wriddhiman Saha scored 35, Ravichandran Ashwin scored a fitting 50 and Bhuvneshwar Kumar scored  30 runs as India searched for quick runs and minimize the Aussie lead.

 The onus now was on Australia to set the target for India. And they did not get off to the start they would have wanted in their bid to score quickly. Opener  David Warner  fell for just 4. But his opening partner Chris Rogers ( 56 ) and in- form stand- in skipper Steve Smith ( 71 ) put the innings back on track . Shane Watson once again failed, cheaply dismissed for 16. With Shaun Marsh too dismissed for 1, Aussie innings lost the momentum. But Joe Burns took the attack to the Indian bowlers with a quick-fire 66 off 39 balls. When the fourth day’s play ended Australia were 251/6 and having a lead of 348 runs with four wickets in hand. Wicket-keeper Brad Haddin was batting on 31 in company of Ryan Harris.

 The Aussies could not get away in the second innings as they would have liked. For that Ravichandran Ashwin deserves kudos. Ashwin has a very poor record abroad. And even when he has taken wickets it has come after conceding lot of runs. This attribute was evident in Sydney too. In Australia’s second innings Ashwin though took 4 wickets. He gave away 105 runs off his 19 overs. India’s other wicket-takers were Bhuvneshwar Kumar  1/46 off 8 overs and Mohammed Shami 1/33 off 6 overs.

 The ball is now in Steve Smith’s court  as to when will he declare and what target he would set for India to chase. Given the flat track in Sydney , a draw looks the most likely outcome.

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