Prime Sports, International (Sydney), January 5:- India closed in on their maiden Test series triumph in Australia before bad light and rain combined to delay the inevitable, adding more hours to a wait of 71 years.
Bad light stopped play in the final session of day three of the fourth Test as the hosts, responding to India’s mammoth first-innings total of 622 for seven declared, were reduced to 236 for six in 83.3 overs on Saturday.
With two full days play left in the game and Australia still 386 runs adrift of India’s score, the visitors will fancy their chances of winning the four-match rubber 3-1.
India first went Down Under back in 1947-48 under Lala Amarnath’s captaincy, and are yet to achieve series triumph there despite eleven attempts.
At the Sydney Cricket Ground, the players went off with an hour’s play pending in the day as bad light hampered proceedings before rain intervened.
This was after Kuldeep Yadav (3-71) and Ravindra Jadeja (2-62) shared five wickets to put India in a commanding position. At stumps then, Australia were trailing by 386 runs, with Peter Handscomb (28 not out) and Pat Cummins (25 not out) at the crease.
Post tea, Yadav struck on the sixth ball as Tim Paine (5) was completely foxed by the turn he was getting. The spinner pitched the ball up and the batsman, going for a drive, failed to counter it and was bowled.
Cummins and Handscomb then put on 38 runs for the seventh wicket. India requested for the second new ball after 81 overs but were denied owing to bad light.
They kept the batsmen in the middle for only a couple more overs before the umpires stopped play altogether owing to a thunderstorm in the vicinity.
Earlier, India struck four times in the middle session as Australia were reduced to 198 for five at tea.
Post lunch, Australia made the worst start possible with Marcus Harris (79) getting out before he could settle in again. In the third over after the restart, he played on off Jadeja. (MR, Inputs: Agencies).