As it happened – Australia vs India, 3rd Test, Sydney, 5th day


Welcome to our Live Report of the fifth day of the Australia-India Test from Sydney. Join us for updates, analysis and colour. You can find our traditional ball-by-ball commentary here

*Most recent entry will appear at the top, please refresh your page for the latest updates.

6.10pm local time/12.40pm IST: India pull off epic draw; series still level 1-1

What an absolutely epic effort this has been from India, led by Vihari and Ashwin. Bruised and battered, unable to run properly, an injured Jadeja waiting in the wings, and they were facing a relentless bowling attack that only knows one way to bowl – with accuracy. Yet, against all odds, India have produced one of the most dramatic displays of patient batting and exemplary fighting spirit to pull off a draw that hardly anyone saw coming when the fifth day started.

With an over to spare in the day, they’re shaking hands. The relief on the faces of Vihari and Ashwin is something they’ll cherish forever. What Australia won’t cherish is the four chances they put down today, especially three by their captain Tim Paine – two off Pant and one of Vihari. The two teams have actually been taking turns every match to put down catches, and Australia won’t be pleased this time.

Might I add, it’s probably fitting that the fighting spirit India showed to salvage this draw is a great tribute to the man who turns 48 today: Rahul Dravid. Nice, little birthday gift for him.

5.35pm local time/12.05pm IST: Under 10 overs left in the day, Paine drops Vihari

Mitchell Starc around the wicket, full delivery, Vihari pokes, it’s a thick edge behind, Paine dives full length to his right and gets a glove but can’t hold on! So both these batsmen have been dropped now and the drama continues. There’s also a bit of chatter going on now between Tim Paine and R Ashwin off Lyon’s bowling. Ashwin has even been withdrawing from the stance at times. Shiva Jayaraman has been digging up some numbers meanwhile to make sense of this vigil:

This has been one of the best rearguard actions by India in their Test history. At present, this is their 10th longest fourth innings effort in terms of balls faced, and their sixth longest away from home. The last time they batted out more balls in the fourth innings was at Delhi against Pakistan in 1979-80.

It’s not been just one partnership that has held the fort as has been the case often in the past in such fourth-innings spectacles. India batsmen’s have put a prize on their wickets and have been determined to make Australia bowlers toil hard. Four batsmen – Cheteshwar Pujara, Rishabh Pant, Hanuma Vihari and R Ahswin – have faced 100-plus balls. This is only the second time four of India’s batsmen have faced 100-plus balls in the fourth innings of a Test. Including Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill, Six batsmen have faced 50 or more balls in this innings, which also makes it the first instance for India when six of their batsmen have each faced at least 50 balls in the fourth innings of a Test match. (where balls-faced information is available).

There have been a few fourth-innings marathons by teams in Australia in the recent past, but a majority of these has come at venues with drop-in pitches. Such marathon efforts at the SCG – which doesn’t have a drop-in pitch – have been rare. One would have to back to the ’63-64 for a longer innings by a team in the fourth innings of a Test match at the SCG. On that occasion, South Africa batted out 117 eight-ball overs to earn a draw against the hosts.

4.45pm local time/11.15am IST: The blockathon continues

We’re down to under 20 overs for the day. A limping Vihari has faced 100 balls now for his 6 runs, Ashwin has copped a few blows in his 80-ball stay and has played the odd boundary shot too. This bruised and battered seventh-wicket stand is keeping India’s hopes of a draw alive by blocking anything that’s coming their way. And what a match it will be if India pull off a draw. It’s still a long way off though, with more than 100 balls to go, and a tail that Australia don’t take much time in wrapping up.

Mitchell Starc has not been able to produce the kind of pressure that Cummins and Hazlewood have. Lyon is still going on, with over 70 overs bowled in the match. Hazlewood is trying for reverse swing combined with some short balls, with a short leg, square leg and leg gully. Marnus Labuschagne into the attack now…

3.50pm local time/10.20am IST: The big short

We saw how Australia went short even with the second new ball in the first innings that caused a lot of trouble for the batsmen, and even hurt Pant and Jadeja physically, in the arm and thumb respectively. Right from the first ball bowled after tea, Cummins and Hazlewood have gone back to the same strategy by peppering Ashwin and Vihari with short balls. Ashwin was given caught behind first ball after tea, but saved by replays that showed he didn’t get any bat or glove. Next ball Ashwin lobbed the ball towards silly point but copped a blow on the shoulder. Ashwin is having to face most of these snorters and two of his leading edges have fallen safe, one over Cummins’ head and the other past square leg, and he has even been dropped once at square leg. Vihari, at the other end, had hurt his hamstring in the previous session and is hardly able to run for anything. Ashwin is copping one blow after another, and has an abdomen guard on now. The only respite he has got is the introduction of Lyon into the attack, but there are five fielders around apart from the wicketkeeper. Update: 25 overs left in the day now, India still have five wickets in hand.

Here are some stat alerts: where balls-faced information is available, this is the first time six (or more) India batsmen have each faced 50-plus balls in the fourth innings. And this is also India’s longest fourth innings in Australia.

3.10pm local time/9.40am IST: Another unplayable delivery to Pujara

Cheteshwar Pujara was looking solid and unfazed even after Pant departed, and struck Pat Cummins for three consecutive fours soon after the new ball was taken. Josh Hazlewood, however, can get to move the ball around almost however he wants. He bowled a beauty to Shubman Gill yesterday and now he delivers another unplayable kind of delivery to Pujara: angling in towards the stumps and then it holds its line to rattle the stumps. What a big wicket for Australia! To add to India’s woes, Hanuma Vihari has hurt his hamstring while running but batted through till tea, along with R Ashwin. We also saw Ravindra Jadeja padded up in the dressing room. So looks like he’s going to bat as well at some point. At tea:

Overs left: 36
India need: 127 runs
Australia need: Five wickets

2.20pm local time/8.50am IST: If you’re a left-hand batsman, bat at No. 5

Stats man Rajesh comes up with a great observation:

What is it with No. 5 left-hand batsmen in the fourth innings of Tests lately? In the last couple of years, that combination has been an amazing concoction, starting with Kusal Perera’s unbeaten 153 and then Ben Stokes’ 135* at Headingley in 2019. Since then, there has also been Matthew Wade’s 117 at The Oval, and Fawad Alam’s 102 in the Boxing Day Test.

Rishabh Pant got to within three runs of becoming the fifth centurion in 17 innings for left-hand batsman at No.5 in the last innings of a Test. During this period, they average 68.66, compared to 23.15 for right-hand batsmen at No. 5 in the fourth innings. The only 50-plus score by a right-hander is Roston Chase’s 102* against England in Gros Islet. While left-handers at No. 5 average thrice as much as right-handers in the fourth innings, there is little to choose between them in the first three innings: 39.81 for left-handers, and 34.61 for right-hand batsmen.

0:52

WATCH: Nathan Lyon gets Rishabh Pant for 97 - on third try

2.05pm local time/8.35am IST: Pant falls short of century; Australia take the new ball

Six balls to go for the second new ball, Nathan Lyon bowling, three sixes off him already from Rishabh Pant, and he steps out again for the big heave with five fielders at the boundary, this time he doesn’t connect well at all and splices an edge to gully. Lyon has won this battle despite conceding 49 runs off his 58 balls to Pant today, and a scintillating innings comes to an end. An innings that has given India the chance to dream about what is otherwise unthinkable. Australia take the second new ball now and it’s back to Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood. India still 157 away from the target after 80 overs and Hanuma Vihari comes out, R Ashwin is padded up.

Here’s Gnasher:

This has not been Nathan Lyon’s best Test series, but that wicket of Rishabh Pant came in the nick of time for Australia. The contest between the pair was brilliant cricket. Pant was increasingly eager to take him on ahead of the new ball, connecting with a thumping lofted drive down the ground and another inside-out through cover to move to 97. When Cheteshwar Pujara pulled the first ball of the next over from Cameron Green for four there had been 23 runs scored in 12 balls – not an insignificant chunk As the target was whittled down. Then, with one over to go before the new ball, Pant could not hold back and danced down again to Lyon, this time a thick edge skewed away to backward point. Lyon roared; Pant could hardly drag himself from the crease. It had been a brilliant innings that rattled Australia and gave India a glimmer.





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