India vs Australia: India Win Third Test By 137 Runs, Retain Border-Gavaskar Trophy
India are now eyeing their first-ever Test series win in Australia.
- India secure an unbeatable 2-1 lead in the four-Test series
- India retain Border-Gavaskar Trophy after winning in Melbourne
- India won the first Test in Adelaide by 31 runs
India thrashed Australia by 137 runs to win the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) and secure an unbeatable 2-1 lead in the four-match series on Sunday. Skipper Virat Kohli had declared India's second innings at 106 for eight, leaving the hosts to chase what would have been a record fourth innings total of 399 in Melbourne. Rain wiped out the morning session and Australia resumed post-lunch on 258 for eight, with Pat Cummins not out 61. Cummins managed to add only two more runs before falling to Jasprit Bumrah. Ishant Sharma snared Nathan Lyon as the home team were all out for 261, securing an emphatic win for the visiting side.
The win in Melbourne leaves India, the world's top-ranked nation, zeroing in on their first-ever Test series win in Australia with just the Sydney Test to go.
It is a feat that Kohli has publicly coveted since his team arrived in Australia last month.
Cummins, who is rapidly proving himself to a very capable all-rounder, had kept his side in the hunt with an impressive 61 not out on Saturday.
But he only added two more to be out for a career-best 63 to follow his career-best 6/27 with the ball and be one of the few successes for Australia.
Cummins aside, no other Australian passed 50 in Melbourne, exposing their lack of batting depth and reinforcing how much they are missing the banned Steve Smith and David Warner.
The pair's year-long suspensions for ball-tampering run out in late March and it is widely believed that they will be reintegrated quickly into the team.
In contrast, India were disciplined with the rock solid number three Cheteshwar Pujara scoring another century in the first innings and Kohli showing restraint and composure, while debutant Mayank Agarwal impressed at the top of the order with 76 in his first Test knock.
The bedrock for India's victory was their 443 for seven declared in the first innings, built on the back of Pujara's 106 and Kohli's 82.
Kohli declared India's second innings on 106 for eight, leaving Australia the virtual mission impossible of scoring 399 to win or surviving almost two days for a draw.
Aaron Finch again flopped at the top of the order, throwing his role as a Test opener under more scrutiny with growing speculation that he will be axed.
He played a poor shot to Bumrah and was caught by Kohli for three.
Fellow opener Marcus Harris followed him back to the pavilion for 13 with Usman Khawaja the next to go after a lively 33.
When Shaun Marsh was also trapped leg before by Bumrah for a brisk 44 and his brother Mitch - another candidate for the Sydney chop - fell for 10, Australia's faint survival hopes were fading fast.
Travis Head put up some resistance with a battling 34 before his stumps were knocked over by Ishant Sharma and when skipper Tim Paine went for 26 it appeared all but over - until Cummins dug in to take the game into a fifth day.
(With AFP Inputs)