Siraj's 5-for gives India a foxy 338-run target to chase!
By MKV | Galatta | Jan 18, 2021, 03:06 pm
The 4th Test between India and Australia has been see-sawing between the two sides, from Day 1! Despite having none of their first-choice bowlers for this match and a number of their batsmen also being on the injury list, India have been putting up a tough fight against an almost full-strength Australia! After yet another rearguard effort from the Indian players, with debutant Washington Sundar and bowler Shardul Thakur hitting their maiden half-centuries, India had allowed Australia to gain a very marginal lead of just 33, before the Australian openers put up a solid show. However, Thakur got Harris gloving a short ball to the keeper to break the stand and Sundar trapped Warner LBW to take Australia to 91/2! Just as Labuschagne and Smith were looking highly threatening, Siraj got his first Wicket of the innings to send back Labuschagne!
Three balls later, Siraj got his next Wicket, bagging Matthew Wade for a Duck. Smith and Green put up a solid partnership, with Smith being adventurous and Green being defensive. The pair added 73 runs in over 23 Overs, taking Australia's lead past 200! Siraj dropped a catch off Sundar's bowling, when Smith mistimed a shot while on 42. However, Siraj made up for it soon afterwards, getting Smith as soon as he crossed his 50. Rohit Sharma took his 5th catch of this match, to dismiss Cameron Green off Thakur's bowling. The widening cracks on the crease, created a lot of inconsistent bounce, making it very difficult for the batsmen. A minor rain interruption notwithstanding, the Aussie batsmen continued to rack up the runs, despite Siraj and Thakur chipping away at the wickets.
Pat Cummins went on to make 28 runs, his highest Test score so far. The last four Australian Wickets added 67 runs as Australia were bowled out for 294. Siraj, who had not even returned home for his father's demise which happened as soon as he landed in Australia, bagged his maiden Test 5-Wicket haul, smashing a number of records along the way. One of the two batting stars for India in their first innings - Shardul Thakur, went on to pick up 4 wickets in the second innings. T Natarajan was very erratic in his line and length and remained wicketless. However, the deteriorating wicket is sure to make it very difficult for the Indian batsmen. The rain gods decided to make their presence felt again and poured down in torrents. The Indian openers had gotten to 4/0 after 1.5 Overs, before the day's play was called off! India need a further 324 to win this match and the series but with the uneven bounce of the pitch, it would be quite a challenge with the quality of the Australian attack. The Aussies would be eyeing a victory themselves, to pick up the Border-Gavaskar Trophy but the weather forecast says the rains will have the final say! Stay tuned for the match report!