Australia were on course for a series-levelling win in the second Test after another below-par batting performance from India undid the good work done by their bowlers on day four in Perth on Monday.
Chasing 287 on a testing surface, India were 112/5 at stumps with skipper Virat Kohli’s (17) dismissal in the 20th over of the second innings dealing a massive blow to the away team’s hopes.
The last specialist batting pair of Hanuma Vihari (24) and Rishabh Pant (9) were in the middle when stumps were drawn and they will have to bat well in the first session on day five for India to have any chance of scoring the remaining 175 runs.
The ordinary batting effort came after a sensational performance from pacer Mohammad Shami, who took a career best six for 56 in Australia’s second innings to bring India back into the contest.
Shami removed the set Usman Khawaja (72) and Tim Paine (37) to trigger a batting collapse that saw Australia being all out for 243 after the duo batted out the entire morning session.
At tea, India were reeling at 15/2 and following the break it got worse for the visitors as they lost wickets in a bunch. Murali Vijay (20) and Virat Kohli (17) added 35 runs for the third wicket before things went into a downward spiral.
Kohli was the first to go, with Lyon inducing him forward and the batsman edged it to slip as the Australian players broke into celebration. Two overs later, Lyon (2/30) got an off break to jump off the rough and Vijay was bowled going for a drive as India were reduced to 55/4.
Ajinkya Rahane (30) came out playing his shots and took on the bowling with two fours as well as a six. He put on 43 runs for the fifth wicket with Vihari as India started thinking of at least taking the fight into day five.
But it was not to be, as Rahane hit a drive straight to point off Josh Hazlewood (2/24) and India plunged to 98/5.
Here’s a look at some of the key stats from day four, starting with ‘second-innings’ Shami of course.
- With his stellar effort, Shami surpassed Anil Kumble’s record of most wickets taken by an Indian bowler in away Tests during a calendar year. Shami has taken 42 wickets to Kumble’s 41.
- Shami’s effort was the first six-wicket haul by an Indian pacer in Australia since Ajit Agarkar’s dream spell in Adelaide in 2003.
- The spell reiterated the moniker he goes by these days among Indian cricket fans — ‘second-innings’ Shami.
- Despite Shami’s spell, India’s problem against the lower-order batsmen was at the forefront again with the last-wicket partnership lasting more than 30 runs.
- It was a day to remember for Nathan Lyon as the spinner once again stepped up when his team needed him to. His dismissal of Kohli is the reason many feel day five is a mere formality. For the record, this was the seventh time Lyon has dismissed Kohli in Tests.
- It was another top-order failure for India. But the opening combination has been a problem area for almost all teams.
- We’ll leave you with this quirky stat as we look forward to the final day on Tuesday.