India were trailing by 501 runs with nine wickets in hand at the end of second day’s play after Australia declared their first innings at 572/7 post tea. Building on the first day’s total, Steven Smith (117) and Shane Watson (81) extended their partnership to 196 and set-up the game for Australia. Half-centuries by Shaun Marsh and Joe Burns followed by Ryan Harris’ cameo later in the day helped the hosts set a daunting task for the visitors. Mitchell Starc then struck in the first over to leave India on 0/1, but Rohit Sharma (40*) joined forces with Lokesh Rahul (31*) to take India to stumps at 71/1. (Also Read: HIGHLIGHTS: AUSTRALIA VS INDIA - 4th TEST, DAY 1, Sydney Cricket Ground)
On the third ball of the innings, the opener nicked Starc to Brad Haddin and returned to the dressing room. With the in-form batsman back for a duck, Sharma replacing Cheteshwar Pujara in the team, joined Rahul who was opening in place of Shikhar Dhawan.
After an edgy start to the innings, Rohit bided his time and plucked the occasional boundary to keep the score card ticking. Rahul too negotiated the Australian attack, especially the barrage of short pitched deliveries from Starc with poise.
Smith introduced Nathan Lyon early into the attack and Rohit welcomed with a straight six and another over deep mid-wicket a while later.
Rahul and Rohit continued to play diligently and prodded on keeping the innings afloat. Seeking another wicket, Starc who had bowled a successful four-over first spell for 1/9 was reintroduced towards the end of day’s play. The speedster pelted Rahul with the short balls at express pace but the batsman stood his ground impressively. The pair stoically took India to stumps in an unbroken stand.
Earlier, after a quiet five overs at the start of the day, Smith smacked Mohammed Shami for a couple of fours to enter the nineties. And to bring the three-figure mark, the Australian captain slammed a full toss from Yadav to the boundary between midwicket and mid on.
Although the visitors put up an improved bowling performance on the second morning with a disciplined line on and outside the off-stump, the hosts’ batsmen patiently added to the stack of runs.
As runs began to trickle in for Australia, Ashwin created an opportunity to send back Smith. But, with the batsman on 111, an inside edge off the spinner was missed by Wriddhiman Saha down the leg-side. Fortunately for India he added only six to the tally before following Shane Watson back to the pavilion.
Watson, who had looked set for a hundred departed pulling a short ball from Shami to deep midwicket. The partnership ended four runs short of what could have been another 200-run stand for the hosts. 15 runs later, Smith nicked Yadav to the keeper and returned to the pavilion.
Marsh was then joined by Joe Burns in the middle. Having made a couple of quick dents in the flourishing Australian batting line-up, the Indian bowlers applied pressure and dried up the flow of runs. Ashwin, who has stood out in the visitors bowling attack created another opportunity but Vijay let off Marsh on nine after the spinner forced an outside edge.
Ashwin and Yadav then followed up with four maidens on the trot to maintain the pressure on the two new batsmen. However, Raina who was handed the ball an over before lunch, conceded a boundary and Marsh took Australia to Lunch at 420/4.
Burns smacked the second ball post lunch from Ashwin through covers to get off the mark. And Virat Kohli persisted with spin from both ends for seven overs before replacing Raina with Shami.
But the Australian batsmen found their bearings and runs started to flow steadily for the hosts. Driving ahead Marsh inched towards the half-century as India bowled the combination of spin and pace from both ends. Raina filled in for Ashwin from one end while Kohli bowled the pacers from the other. Cashing on the life given to him early in the innings, Marsh reached fifty just before drinks.
While the Indian bowlers continued to toil at the SCG and plugged the flow of runs, Marsh and Burns were content to bide their time as they looked to add to the total. Scoring at an unhurried pace, they took Australia past 500 runs. With the single off Yadav towards deep square-leg Marsh brought up the mark and Burns followed up with boundaries past gully and through mid-wicket to reach his 40. He whacked Ashwin down the track for four more.
With a boundary off Ashwin, Burns posted his maiden Test fifty and became the sixth Australian in the innings to reach the mark. In the following over India ended the flourishing stand for 114. After striking Shami through mid-wicket for four, Marsh edged the ball and Saha dove to his left to take the catch.
Brad Haddin then got off the mark with a six over the pacer’s head as the hosts looked to add on to the mountain of runs. The hosts were comfortably perched on 538/5 at Tea.
Australia came out in the final session looking to add quick runs to the hefty total. And Burns departed taking the aerial route off Shami on the second ball of the session. Ryan Harris then clobbered Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the next over for 19 runs which included four boundaries. He meted out similar treatment to Shami in the next but was caught at in the deep later in the over. With the fall of wicket Australia declared their innings early in the session.
End of Day 1: Australia 1st inn 348/2 in 90 overs (D Warner 101, R Rogers 95, S Smith 82, S Watson 61)
End of Day 2: