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India face daunting task to save fourth Test

By The Assam Tribune

SYDNEY, Jan 9 (PTI): India�s wayward bowlers today conceded a massive 213 runs in the post-tea session on the penultimate day of the fourth cricket Test against Australia, leaving their team with a daunting task of saving the match on a tricky last day track tomorrow.

After gaining a 97-run first innings lead, Australia hit a quick 251 for six in 40 overs in the second innings to be 348 runs ahead. They are likely to declare at this score, leaving India to defend on the last day on a wicket on which the ball is turning significantly.

Paceman Umesh Yadav, who has had a terrible series, conceded 45 runs in just three overs, epitomising the poor bowling by India in the face of an Australian onslaught although R Ashwin took four for 105 to record his best overseas figures.

Resuming at the overnight score of 342 for five, India lost captain Virat Kohli (147) in the fifth over of the day and the danger of the Follow-on was looming large but R Ashwin (50), Wriddhiman Saha (35) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (30) batted with lot of determination to save the blushes.

The kind of purchase Ashwin got from the SCG track, India have a tough task at hand as the pitch has already offering sharp turn and countering Australian spinner Nathan Lyon, the Indians will have to bat out of their skins to survive the entire fifth day.

The highest successful run chase at the SCG is 288 for four, achieved by the hosts against South Africa in 2006. The highest run chase by a visiting team is 194 by England and that too more than a century ago in 1903.

Their eyes firmly set on a 3-0 result, Australia launched an assault on the Indian bowlers by scoring at a brisk pace right through their second innings.

Spinner Ashwin took four wickets but it did not make much of an impact as skipper Steven Smith (71) yet again haunted the Indians with his strokeful batting and opener Chris Rogers (56) lent him good support after David Warner (3) was dismissed cheaply.

Taking the baton from Smith, Joe Burns (66) and Brad Haddin (31 not out) punished the Indian bowlers disdainfully, scoring boundaries at will.

In the final session of the day, Shane Watson (16), who was earlier given a life by keeper Wriddhiman Saha by missing a run-out chance, was bowled by Ashwin in the second over after tea as he played on to the stumps.

This brought Smith to the crease and together with Rogers he put on an 80-run stand for the third wicket in 15.4 overs as the run-rate did not dip below five-per-over.

Smith got to his fifty first, off just 44 balls, his 10th overall. In doing so he went past Sir Don Bradman�s record of 715 runs in a single Test series against India, scored way back in 1947-48.

With his 71-run knock, Smith took his tally to 769 runs in the four-match series, at an average of 128.16, the highest ever individual run-scoring in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.


Australia 1st innings: 572/7 decl

India 1st innings (overnight 342/5): M Vijay c Haddin b Starc 0, KL Rahul c & b Starc 110, R Sharma b Lyon 53, V Kohli c Rogers b Harris 147, A Rahane lbw b Watson 13, S Raina c Haddin b Watson 0, W Saha c Smith b Hazlewood 35, R Ashwin c Haddin b Starc 50, B Kumar c Watosn b Lyon 30, M Shami not out 16, U Yadav c Haddin b Harris 4. Extras: (B-4, LB-7, WD-1, NB-5) 17. Total: (all out in 162 overs) 475. Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-97, 3-238, 4-292, 5-292, 6-352, 7-383, 8-448, 9-456. Bowling: M Starc 32-7-106-3, R Harris 31-7-96-2, J Hazlewood 29-8-64-1, N Lyon 46-11-123-2, S Watson 20-4-58-2, S Smith 4-0-17-0.

Australia 2nd innings: C Rogers c Raina b Kumar 56, D Warner c Vijay b Ashwin 4, S Watson b Ashwin 16, S Smith lbw b Shami 71, S Marsh c Vijay b Ashwin 1, J Burns c Yadav b Ashwin 66, B Haddin not out 31, R Harris not out 0. Extras: (B-2, LB-2, NB-2) 6. Total: (For 6 wickets in 40 overs) 251. Fall of wickets: 1-6, 2-46, 3-126, 4-139, 5-165, 6-251. Bowling: B Kumar 8-0-46-1, R Ashwin 19-2-105-4, M Shami 6-0-33-1, U Yadav 3-0-45-0, S Raina 4-0-18-0.

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