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3rd Test, Day 4: Australia 261 for 7 at close to lead India by 326​

Melbourne: It was an eventful and entertaining day of cricket as both the teams have had their moments. After Johnson moped up the Indian tail early in the morning, Australian openers one again gave their team a good start. But after the fall of David Warner's wicket, India bowlers made an excellent comeback and provided breakthroughs at regular intervals to keep Oz at bay. Especially, Ishant Sharma bowled outstandingly well to keep the pressure from one end. For Australia, opener Rogers and middle-order batsman Marsh played crucial knocks. Marsh was unbeaten on 62 alongside Harris who was on eight as Australia reached 261 for seven at stumps. Match is evenly poised and it can still be anyone's game. But the hosts have a slight edge over the tourists, as they have a tricky lead of 326 runs and still have three wickets at their disposal. One can expect another eventful day of Test cricket when both the teams come to play on the fifth and final day of 3rd Test.      

 SCORECARD

Australia 2nd Innings

That's all for the day as umpires take the bails off. 

Over 75 || Score 261/7

Slowly India are losing the grip on the match. Now Australia have a decent lead of 326 and more importantly they still have three wickets at their disposal. On the fifth and final day its always difficult to chase a tricky total of 300 plus. However, Indian vice-captain stated yesterday that they will go for a win if they get the target of anywhere between near 300 to 350.         

Over 70 || Score 255/7

In the 69th over, Marsh hits offie Ashwin for a six to complete his fifty in style. The southpaw hit six boundaries and a six to reach the mark. India have to pick these three wickets quickly so that they have enough time to chase the target. Marsh starts scoring swiftly after completing his fifty as he smashes two more boundaries off Shami in the next over.           

Over 68 || Score 236/7

Shami has been brought back into the attack. He should try some yorkers, especially against Marsh, who is still looking shaky. Mitchell welcomes the speedster with a boundary. Johnson Out! Short ball by Shami and Johnson goes for a pull, couldn't connect it well and gives a simple catch to short leg fielder. Indian bowlers are dictating terms at the moment. However, the lead of Australia now swells over 300 runs.             

MG Johnson c Rahane b Mohammed Shami 15 (47m 27b) 

Over 63 || Score 221/6

Still 17 overs left in the day. India have to mope up the Australian tail quickly. Ashwin and Ishant are bowling well in tandem. Especially, Ishant who has bowled some excellent spells today. After winning the first two Tests, the hosts would not mind to go for a draw in this match and clinch the series.           

TEA BREAK

Over 58 || Score 208/6 

Yadav picks up his second wicket. Haddin poor run with the bat continues, as he once again fails to put up a good show. Haddin tries to flick the ball which pitches on the leg stump but gets the outside edge and Dhoni takes a another catch behind the stumps. Mitchell Johnson is the new man in. Australia have a lead of 273 runs. This match is evenly poised at the moment and it can still be any one's game.         

BJ Haddin c Dhoni b Yadav 13 (41m)

Over 55 || Score 200/5 

India can't afford to let this moment slip from their hands. They have to keep the pressure up and that can only be possible by stopping runs and picking wickets. Marsh and Haddin haven't had a good series thus far, at least with the bat. Some close-in fielders can create pressure on them.            

Over 47 || Score 178/5 

Another failure for Joe Burns as he edges Ishant and Dhoni takes a sharp catch behind the wicket. Half of the Australian team is back to the pavilion. India have a chance here to turn things into their favour and keep the series alive. Ishant is looking dangerous at the moment. Veteran Brad Haddin is the new batsman in. Australia are 178 for five as their lead swells to 244.    

JA Burns c Dhoni b Sharma 9 (17b)

Over 41 || Score 165/4

Ashwin Strikes! After Rogers collected two consecutive boundaries off Ishant Sharma in the 40th over, offie Ashwin got the better of him in the next over. A flighted delivery, Rogers got a bit unlucky there, as an inside edge from his bat rolled on to the stumps after hitting his pads. Joe Burns is the new man in.   

CJL Rogers b Ashwin 69 (123b)   

Over 37 || Score 150/3

Opener Rogers certainly has luck on his side today. As after being dropped at slips immediately after lunch, another edge from his bat fell just shot of Dhoni. Shaun Marsh has joined Rogers in the middle after the fall of Australia's third wicket. Meanwhile, the hosts have touched the 150-run mark, as their lead swell to 215.      

Over 34 || Score 135/3

Bowling change works for India as Umesh Yadav gets the priced wicket of skipper Steven Smith. A length ball, pitched on the leg stump, Smith plays it fine but Dhoni had recruited a fielder for they shot only and Ajinkya Rahane at leg slip takes a fine catch. India must be relived as in-form Oz skipper is back in the hut.      

SPD Smith c Rahane b Yadav 14 (47m 27b)

Over 31 || Score 119/2

Umesh Yadav has replaced Shami. A good move by MS Dhoni. He has a bit of extra pace, which might help him. But India desperately need a couple of wickets here in quick succession. Ishant Sharma is trying hard, experimenting with his pace, line and length. Trying short pitch stuff. Here India need a fiery spell from Yadav from the other end to unsettle the batsmen, who are looking quite comfortable in the middle.            

Over 28 || Score 112/2

Consecutive fifties for veteran Chris Rogers. He punches Shami through covers to reach the fifty-run mark. He used 81 balls to reach the mark with the help of six boundaries. Newly appointed Australian Test skipper Steven Smith is on the other end.         

Over 26 || Score 106/2 

Southpaw Rogers collects two boundaries off Shami's over. First comes off the edge and the second via crunchy cover drive. The opener is four runs shy of another fifty. Meanwhile, Australia have crossed the 100 run-mark in their 2nd Innings as the home side has a lead of 171 runs.    

Over 25 || Score 98/2 

Ishant provides a breakthrough. Length ball, shaping away and out-of-form Shane Watson edges the ball to wicket-keeper Dhoni, who takes a nice low catch. It would certainly be a long walk back for the Australian all-rounder. For the records, Ishant picked up the wicket of Watson for the seventh time.        

Over 24 || Score 98/1 

Mohammed Shami is sharing the ball with Ishant. Decent over as the speedster as he conceded mere a single. But India need wickets here.  

Over 23 || Score 97/1 

Ishant Sharma to start the proceedings after the rain halt. OHHH Shikhar Dhawan dropped opener Chris Rogers at slips, off the second ball. India's sloppy fielding at slip cordon continues. After getting the lifeline, Rogers whipped the lanky speedster towards mid-wicket for a boundary. Seven runs came from the over.     

Finally good news coming from MCG. Match will resume within 15 minutes. But we have lost one-and-a-half hour of play due to strong wind and slight drizzle. MCG Ground staff has done a wonderful job. Indian seamers are stretching on the sidelines.

 If the tourists want to keep the four-match Test series alive, they have to win this game -- even a draw won't work as they are already trailing 2-0 in the series.  

Match has been stopped due to rain. But be hopeful as weather changes quickly in Australia. Till then have a cup of coffee or may be tea.   

Match Report till Lunch

Australia lost explosive opener David Warner as they built a lead of 155 runs over India by lunch on the fourth day of the third Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Monday.

Warner hit a boundary and an all-run four off his opening two balls and was driving Australia`s total before he fell in Ravi Ashwin`s fourth over.

He played forward but was struck on the back pad and was given out leg before wicket for 40 off 42 balls with six fours.

The home side were 90 for one with Chris Rogers unbeaten on 33 and Shane Watson not out 15 when lunch was taken.

Australia quickly mopped up India`s first innings for 465 to lead by 65 with Mitchell Johnson snaring both wickets of Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami for the addition of just three runs to the overnight score.

Johnson had Yadav caught behind off the second ball of the day and in his next over had Shami caught by Steve Smith at second slip for 12. Johnson finished with three for 135.

India lost their last seven wickets for 56 after Virat Kohli (169) and Ajinkya Rahane`s (147) ground record 262-run partnership for the fourth wicket.

It was yet again another lower order collapse to highlight one of the main differences between the two sides.

The tourists lost six for 77 and eight for 73 in Adelaide and six for 87 and nine for 148 in Brisbane.

Australia`s lower order from the sixth wicket on have put on 784 runs in the series compared to India`s 389.

Australia only need a draw to lift the Border-Gavaskar Trophy after winning the opening two Tests of the four-match series in Adelaide and Brisbane.

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