Australia had extended their lead to 348 on Day 4 and were 251/6 at stumps after bowling India out for 475 in the afternoon. (Also Read: HIGHLIGHTS: AUSTRALIA VS INDIA - 4th TEST, DAY 4, Sydney Cricket Ground)
Lasting for a little over a session and a half, the visitors added 133 runs to their overnight score. After Virat Kohli’s departure in the fifth over of the day, Ravichandran Ashwin led the lower-order in reducing the deficit with a well compiled half-century. The all-rounder then returned to pose problems for Australia with the ball. But despite his four-for, Australia finished the day on top. The Indian pacers provided little support from the other end and with Umesh Yadav being clobbered by the batsmen the hosts dominated the proceedings. Chris Rogers (56) and Steven Smith (71) milked the pacers while Joe Burns’ (66 off 56) helped Australia take the lead past 300.
Ashwin claimed David Warner and Shane Watson upfront as hosts looked to add quick runs to the tally. With the wicket offering spin and bounce, the off-spinner opened the bowling with Bhuvneshwar Kumar and accounted for Warner in his first over. He induced an edge of the dangerous opener to give India an early breakthrough.
Shane Watson launched into the attack and smacked Bhuvneshwar through gully and followed with three fours of Ashwin in the next. Playing aggressively Australia went in to tea at 38/1.
In the second over of the third session, Ashwin struck again to leave Australia on 46/2. Pitched outside off-stump the ball stayed low, took the inside edged of the bat and toppled the bails to send Watson back.
Steven Smith then joined Rogers in building on the healthy lead as Australia looked to set India a target. With the pacers conceding easy runs India struggled to restrict the flow of runs from the other end even as Ashwin tested the batsmen from one end. The Australia captain hit Yadav for three boundaries in an over, Kohli replaced him with Suresh Raina for a short spell to supplement Ashwin’s efforts to curb the flow of runs.
Rogers and Smith milked the Indian bowlers as they approached their respective fifties. The opener drove Bhuvneshwar to the ropes to post his sixth consecutive half-century but later in the over holed out to deep square-leg in an effort to accelerate.
Smith continued to plunder the Indian attack and reverse swept Ashwin to reach his fifty in the next. En route he became the record holder for most runs in a four-Test series. While the captain attacked with aplomb, the hosts lost Shaun Marsh to the off-spinner. The left-handed batsman departed edging the ball to Murali Vijay at first slip.
26 runs later, with the lead on 262, Smith was trapped lbw off Shami for 71. After Saha missed a stumping, Joe Burns then launched into the Indian attack and collected 14 runs off Ashwin in the bowler’s next and Haddin too joined in the run-fest. They cleared the ropes with ease as they padded up the total. Yadav was clobbered by the batsmen at the SCG. He prove to be the most expensive of the Indian bowlers and was slammed for four boundaries in an over by Burns. Looking to sweep Ashwin he was caught by Yadav at deep square-leg. With rain forcing the players off the field little earlier than scheduled, Haddin was not out on 31 with Ryan Harris at stumps.
Earlier, the main-stay of India’s batting lineup was the first to depart in the morning. Kohli departed after adding just seven runs to his overnight score. The Indian captain struck Ryan Harris to mid-wicket and returned for 147.
Ashwin, who then joined Wriddhiman Saha anchored the innings and kept the visitors afloat with a carefully compiled knock. The pair had stitched a 31-run stand until the wicketkeeper-batsman was sent back by Josh Hazlewood. Attempting to hook the short pitched delivery, he departed handing a catch to the slip.
But with Bhuvneshwar Kumar back in the line-up India's batting lineup was far from succumbing to the Australian attack and put up a determined resistance. Let-off by Joe Burns at short-leg, Bhuvneshwar survived to build a crucial partnership with Ashwin. The pair battled it out in the middle to take India to lunch at 407/7 and chipped away at the attack after resuming the innings post lunch.
The pair kept the Australian bowlers at bay as they added to the Indian total in a 65-run partnership. They denied and frustrated the opposition bowlers as they kept the score-board ticking. While Ashwin preferred gully to collect boundaries, Bhuvneshwar too picked a few through cover and point.
But the blossoming partnership was abruptly ended by the third umpire. Bhuvneshwar was given out for 30 off Nathan Lyon. And Ashwin followed him back eight runs later after reaching his fifty. The all-rounder reached his half century with a single to gully off Mitchell Starc, however, on the last ball off the over the speedster forced an edge from the batsman to give the hosts an vital breakthrough.
Shami clobbered Lyon for 15 runs in the next from it. He slammed the off-spinner over long on for six and two fours over mid-on and mid-wicket. But, Harris wrapped-up the Indian innings with the third new-ball with the wicket of Yadav.
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: Australia 1st inn 572/7 decl. in 152.3 overs (S Smith 117, S Watson 81, S Marsh 73, M Shami 5/112); India 1st inn 71/1 in 25 overs (RG Sharma 40*, KL Rahul 31, M Starc 1/17)
End of Day 3: India 1st inn 342/4 in 115 overs (V Kohli 140*, KL Rahul 110, RG Sharma 53, S Watson 2/49, M Starc 2/77)
End of Day 4: