3rd Test: Australia lose openers in chase of 399 at lunch on Day 4

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Melbourne, Dec 29 (IANS) Australia lost both the openers before reaching 44 in their chase of 399 at lunch on a cloudy Day 4 of the third Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) here on Saturday.

At the breather, Usman Khawaja (26 batting) and Shaun Marsh (2 batting) survived a hostile spell from the Indian bowlers, especially pacer Jasprit Bumrah, who struck early to remove opener Aaron Finch (3).

Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja doubled India’s joy with the wicket of the other opener Marcus Harris (13), caught beautifully by Mayank Agarwal at forward short leg.

New man Khawaja started aggressively, already belting Jadaja for a six while Marsh started settling in when the umpires called for the end of the first session.

Earlier, India declared their second innings at 106 for eight after an hour of batting on Day 4. Australia paceman Pat Cummins finished with career-best figures of 6-27, with opening batsman Mayank Agarwal top-scoring for India with 42.

Resuming the day at 54/5, the overnight duo of Agarwal and stumper Rishabh Pant (33) started well before Cummins, who took four wickets on Day 3, broke through the defences of Agarwal to claim his fifth victim.

Cummins also saw the back of new man Jadeja (5) before Josh Hazlewood dismissed Pant, prompting India skipper Virat Kohli to declare the second essay at 106/8.

The four-Test series is tied at 1-1, with the final Test to be played in Sydney. Brief Scores: India 443/7 and 106/8 (Mayank Agarwal 42, Rishabh Pant 33; Pat Cummins 6/27) vs Australia 151 and 44/2 (Usman Khawaja 26 batting, Marcus Harris 13; Jasprit Bumrah 1/12, Ravindra Jadeja 1/20) at lunch on Day 4.

–IANS

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