India v Australia, 4th Test, Dharamsala, 3rd day March 27, 2017

Australia's collapse leaves India 87 away from Border-Gavaskar Trophy


India 332 (Jadeja 63, Rahul 60, Pujara 57, Lyon 5-92, Cummins 3-94) and 19 for 0 (Rahul 13*, Vijay 6*) need 87 more to beat Australia 300 and 137 (Maxwell 45, Jadeja 3-24, Umesh 3-29, Ashwin 3-29)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

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Australia's batsmen froze in the spotlight of the opportunity to press for a series-sealing victory over India, leaving the hosts needing a mere 87 to regain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy on day four in Dharamsala. The surprise for the hosts and source of regret for the visitors was that wickets to pace, not spin, dictated the course of the day.

Starting their second innings 32 runs behind, Australia lost David Warner, Steven Smith and Matt Renshaw while still in deficit and were ultimately rounded up for a measly 137. Only Glenn Maxwell offered any prolonged resistance, the rest stuck in quicksand against Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.

Umesh and Bhuvneshwar in particular made a mighty impact, making the new ball kick, jump and jag in such a way that Warner and Renshaw were utterly spooked, while Smith's series ended with an attempt to assert himself that ended with a misjudged pull shot and scattered stumps. Ashwin and Jadeja were then left to separate Maxwell and Peter Handscomb before mopping up the rest.

Jadeja and Wriddhiman Saha had earlier put together a priceless partnership to push India into the lead before Australia struck in the minutes before lunch. As had been the case in Ranchi, India's seventh-wicket stand was a thorn in Australian sides, lifting the hosts from an overnight deficit of 52 to an advantage of 18 before the visitors were able to find a wicket. Jadeja's innings maintained his up surge not only as the world's No. 1 ranked bowler, but also as a batting talent.

He had solid support from Saha, who was fortunate to still be at the crease given Matt Renshaw's drop off the bowling of Cummins on the second evening. It was ultimately Cummins who ended the stand by coaxing Jadeja to drag onto the stumps, before also claiming Saha with a spiteful bouncer that the wicketkeeper gloved into the outstretched right hand of Steven Smith at second slip.

These wickets feel either side of O'Keefe finding some turn in his first over of the session to defeat Bhuvneshwar Kumar, with Smith claiming the catch. He had refrained from using O'Keefe while Jadeja was at the crease, a measure of the respect Australia had for the left-hander's potential to score quickly.

Australia thought they had a wicket with the first ball of the morning, when Cummins angled across Jadeja and there was a noise as the ball passed the bat. The umpire Marais Erasmus raised his finger instantly, but Jadeja reviewed just as fast. Replays showed the bat had brushed his back pad rather than the ball, the decision reversed.

With the ball still new, it swung and bounced disconcertingly at times, requiring all of Jadeja's skill to keep down. Saha proved an effective partner, and the scoring rate rose dangerously for an Australian side conscious of not giving up too much of a lead. At the same time, Smith and his bowlers were straining for wickets, as evidenced by an ambitious referral for lbw against Saha by Josh Hazlewood off an inside edge, and also a preponderance of niggling chatter between bowlers and batsmen.

Not for the first time, Cummins took it upon himself to generate something, and did so by going around the wicket to Jadeja after he had hooked a pair of short balls in his previous over. Jadeja's middle stump was knocked back, and he was soon to be joined by Bhuvneshwar and then Saha.

Steven Smith's sensational series with the bat ended at 499 runs © Associated Press

Kuldeep Yadav added a pesky few runs with the last man Umesh before Nathan Lyon returned to the bowling crease. He had Kuldeep caught at deep backward square leg on the sweep with his first ball. That gave Lyon a deserved five-wicket haul, and left the touring batsmen to contemplate the best way to build a lead.

They would have expected a few difficult overs from the pacemen but not the fusillade fired down by Bhuvneshwar and Umesh that did for Warner, Smith and Renshaw. Warner was struck one stinging blow on the shoulder by a Bhuvneshwar short ball that climbed sharply, was dropped for a second time in the match by Karun Nair, and did not get far enough across his crease to avoid edging Umesh the following over.

Smith seemed intent on domination, sending his first ball to the boundary behind square leg then lining up Bhuvneshwar's short and full deliveries. But his attempt to carry on brought a miscalculation and an ugly drag onto the stumps - Smith finished the series with a laudable 499 runs but the sense of an unfinished last innings.

Renshaw's dropped catches and cheap first-innings dismissal had conveyed something of fatigue on his first overseas tour having played so maturely earlier in the series. Now he fiddled at an Umesh delivery he may have left at another time. Australia were three down and still a run in deficit.

For a time, Handscomb and Maxwell appeared capable of forging a major stand. Maxwell was the aggressor and Handscomb the accumulator, and the left-arm wristspin of Kuldeep was withdrawn by Ajinkya Rahane after being effectively neutralised. However in the final few minutes of the session, Ashwin found Handscomb's outside edge with an offbreak that jumped without turning, then Shaun Marsh - beset by a back injury - bunted lamely to short leg.

Maxwell loomed as the key to Australia's chances when the evening session began, and after Wade evaded an early lbw appeal and referral, Maxwell was given out to Ashwin when he tucked his bat behind his pad. The review showed umpire's call for both impact with the pad and projected path towards the stumps.

Cummins and Wade then tried to steady the innings, but became trapped into scorelessness in a way that meant the Australian lead did not appreciably grow relative to the time they spent at the crease. So when Cummins fell to Jadeja, the lead was still well short of 100, and it remained there through the swift dismissals of O'Keefe and Lyon.

Finally Wade showed more intent in Hazlewood's company, until the paceman was deceived twice by Ashwin. The first occasion seemingly to a catch at second slip, but replays showed M Vijay had grounded the ball and so the players returned to the middle for another two balls, this time to see the umpire Ian Gould's finger raised for an lbw.

Vijay and KL Rahul were left with six overs to the close. They negotiated them with a level of comfort that underlined not only how well Umesh and Bhuvneshwar had bowled, but also how Smith's Australians had squandered the sort of chance they had been fighting to have all series.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ABDUL ALEEM on March 30, 2017, 21:52 GMT

    India has been avoiding playing Pakistan in emirates for eight years and still the media says they have true right to be number one. Only Pakistan is unbeaten at home for 7 years. India lost to England in 2012.

  • carl on March 30, 2017, 12:04 GMT

    can have no sympathy for a team that drops catches

  • krisjo4061355 on March 28, 2017, 23:59 GMT

    It is funny when people question India's performance in away matches. How come they don't question other countries' performance outside of their home turf? For example, so many countries have toured the subcontinent recently. Aus, SAF, ENG, NZ, and WI. They all got hammered and went bruised. So how is it fair to question India when they travel? AT least India didn't get blanked in SAF, NZ, Eng and Aus when they toured last. Even Aus lost in their own turf to SAF while India has beaten everyone at home and have beaten WI, and SL away, and didn't lose that bad in Aus and Eng. So please stop questioning and make sure you at least win in your own turf first.

  • krisjo4061355 on March 28, 2017, 16:35 GMT

    @DUSTBULLIES-FLATBULLIES ON MARCH 27, 2017, 17:17 GMT "Indians are looking dog tired now after long season. They got to play IPL next week. 2 months non stop slog fest. I reckon they'll be clueless in champions trophy in England."

    It doesn't matter, you win some, you lose some. Is getting the Mace important or the CT ? In my opinion, Test Cricket is the real Test of endurance, and would rather India play well in Test Cricket than the fantasy versions. Not that India would not fare well. Even if they won't win the CT, if they could compete well, that's all matters. India didn't win the 2015 World Cup, but did qualify for the Semis. Right now India is in the top 4 of all formats. They don;t have the team that WI of the 80s or the Aussies of late 90s and 2000's, but still not bad and good enough to be on the top, and must look to improve.

  •   Abhishek Shrivastav on March 28, 2017, 15:27 GMT

    Whenever we tour away we lost series due to inexperience side or injuries of star players hope Virat and management take care of star players and make a good bench strength of Pacers

  • MS on March 28, 2017, 8:25 GMT

    Great series and a brilliant fight back from behind. Congrats on winning the Trophy. Proud of team India.

  • Global on March 28, 2017, 6:58 GMT

    Interesting stat.. Australia DRS reviews before "brain-fade"... 16 reviews, 7 right. After "brain-fade", 12 reviews, only 2 right! Go figure!!

  • suraj91843212 on March 28, 2017, 6:25 GMT

    A grand gala season came 2 n end. proud of u team india.try to win test series in south africa nd australia pitches.hope u guys can continue ur winning chariot there .thanx 2 all frnds who joined all through home season via cricinfo.see u guys take care,be back in fiery bouncing pacy proteas pitch in end of this year in test series.

  • krisjo4061355 on March 28, 2017, 6:20 GMT

    Finally, it was just one Team that scaled the Everest and had their flag flying high, and that was India. Holding all the 10 trophies from all Cricket playing nations and the Mace !!! Bravo !!!

  • ruchit on March 28, 2017, 6:18 GMT

    Good Night Mitchell Johnson !! Starc it was your batters you got scared !! Warne your prediction was spot on --NOT !!

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