Border-Gavaskar Trophy, 2018/19
Venue: Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), Melbourne
Date & Time: 25 December 2018
RR: 2.91 | India beat Australia by 137 runs
So that is it from this game. The Indians have taken an unassailable lead and have also retained the Border-Gavaskar trophy. They now, however, head to Sydney to do something no Indian team has done - win a Test series Down Under. Will they do so or will Australia bounce back? Join us to find out on the 3rd of January 1030 local (2330 GMT, previous day). Till then, take care and goodbye!
Man of the Match, Jasprit Bumrah, starts by saying, be it boxing day or be it any other day, it is special to play Test cricket and he is happy to contribute to the team's success. Mentions he always focuses on consistency and he always tries to contribute to the team's success. Further adds he now wants to focus on the next game. States it was always a dream to play Test cricket and he was very happy when he made his debut in South Africa. Ends by saying the start has been good and he would want to continue in the same manner.
Indian skipper, Virat Kohli, says they are not going to stop here, they are very confident now and they would look to play positive cricket in Sydney. States they will be looking for a win in Sydney and that is what their mind-set is. Mentions what the people outside say does not matter, what is being discussed in the dressing is what matters. Further adds the wicket was getting difficult to bat on as the game progressed. Credits the way Bumrah bowled. Appreciates the record-breaking effort by his pacers this year. Adds their first class cricket is amazing and reckons they were brilliant with the old ball. Acknowledges the effort by Mayank Agarwal and Cheteshwar Pujara and also the other batsmen to fulfill their role. Ends by saying they will try and play good cricket and nothing good or bad can distract them from trying to win the next game.
Australian skipper, Tim Paine, says it is very disappointing, he felt they made some strides forward in Perth but failed to continue the good work in this game. Further adds they are trying to get better and now they are looking forward to the game in Sydney. Mentions there is always some discussion about the batting line up, the conditions in Sydney will be different and they will once again have a chat about who should bat where. Reckons the wicket was a good one but he felt it would deteriorate as the match progressed. Credits Pat Cummins for his effort in this game. Ends by saying it has been a difficult year but in the coming months they will have some world class players available and it will probably get better for them.
Australia were rocked again, and everyone did their part to get the job done. They had to wait a bit on the final day, but even the rain gods weren't going to stop them from a famous win. It was a good win for them. Australia's batting once again falls into the limelight. It's something they would like to focus on and better in the final Test in Sydney.
There was talk of maybe the tourists batting too slow on a surface which wasn't doing much, but everything changed on Day 3 when suddenly the surface offered assistance to the bowlers. 15 wickets in total fell on that day, and Australia were bowled out for 151 where Bumrah led the charge with his 6-fer. Despite having a lead of 292, the follow-on wasn't enforced and a target of 399 was set. More could have been achieved, if it wasn't for Cummins, who finished with career-best figures and took a 6-wicket haul of his own.
It was a collective performance from the Indians and that's the thing which will please them the most. Debutant Mayank Agarwal and Hanuma Vihari, who replaced Vijay and Rahul at the top of the order, did a fine job with Mayank scoring a confident 76. It set the platform for Pujara and Kohli who largely took the game away from the Aussies by really digging in there. Rohit later came in with a fifty of his own which enabled India to post 443 on the board.
The start of the day was marred by rain, but after a stop-start and a relative long-ish break, play began and it took the visitors less than 5 overs to wrap things up. Bumrah got the set Cummins first and then soon after, Sharma got Lyon to get his side over the line. It wasn't easy by any means though, India were made to work hard. India should have won the game on Day 4 itself after running through the Australian batting line-up, but Cummins and Lyon stood firm and took the game into the final day. Rain did threaten, but eventually it couldn't save the hosts.
A handsome victory for the Indians. They retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with this win. It's also their 150th win in Test cricket. Smiles all around as the away side celebrates. Kohli is pumped, his teammates are pumped and his team's supporters in the crowd give out a loud cheer. The decision from the skipper and the management to not enforce the follow-on did eventually pay off, but not without a few nails being bitten for sure.
Josh Hazlewood is the last man in.
A short leg comes in place.
Jasprit Bumrah to bowl from the other end.
The groundsmen were coming out on the ground, but then were sent back. Maybe some sawdust was required. Okay, he's come back out with it now. Ishant wants some sprinkled around the landing area of his run up.
We are ready to begin now. Finally! The Indian team spread across the field and it will want to wrap things up ASAP, before the rain intervenes again. Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon take their places in the middle, with the former on strike. Ishant Sharma will take the new ball first up. Here we go...
Update 1154 local - EARLY LUNCH WILL BE TAKEN AT 1215 LOCAL. The forecast is said to clear up around 1300 local time, let's hope the radar is a reliable one. The rain has stopped, so play should resume at 1255 local if there are no further interruptions. And if that is the case, then we will lose 11 overs. Add the 8 bowled on Day 4 in the extra time taken and we will have a minimum of 71 overs in the day.
Update 1056 - Frustration for everyone as the rain has really picked up now. It's coming down quite heavily. The wait continues...
Update 1055 local - And.... the covers are back off.
Update 1054 local - Scratch the last update. The covers are back on as there's a slight drizzle. Doesn't look as bad though.
Update 1045 local - The rain has stopped and the covers are coming off. Play will begin at 1100 local. The players are warming up. Guess we'll have some action soon.
Update 1022 local - The covers are on and the start to the final day will be a bit delayed. Should just be a passing shower, hopefully. Quite dark out there right now on account of the misty clouds. The floodlights are already on.
There is another factor today, the rain. There is a forecast of some rain today and this will bring a smile on the faces of the Australian supporters. So far, slight rain has been there and the pitch had been covered. The covers are off now though and nothing alarming as yet. Play should begin on time provided there's no further rain. The action awaits, let's keep our fingers crossed.
Welcome to the last day of the Third Test in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. India are on the brink of victory, needing just two wickets but there is a certain Pat Cummins in between them and the win. He has been nothing less of a warrior in this game. While the rest of the batsmen crumbled against a potent Indian attack, the all-rounder stood tall and provided stern resistance, scoring a fine fifty along the way and showing the rest how to bat on this surface. Can he do the unthinkable and take the Aussies to an improbable win? Or will India nip off the last two in quick time?
... Fifth Day, Morning Session ...
Anyway, as things stand, this is definitely India's game to lose. They should win too, unless the rain intervenes, or the remaining three batsmen pull off something miraculous. And there is a good chance of the rain coming down on the final day as well, about a 90 percent chance. Whether India's decision on the follow-on and this slightly defensive strategy come back to haunt them or not, remains to be seen. Join us on Sunday at 1030 local (2330 GMT, previous day) for all the action from Day 5. Cheers!
India did well for the most part. Got rid of the top and middle order without much trouble, but as it has been the case for them on most occasions, failed to run through the tail. Actually, you could argue that they could have plucked those wickets earlier too had Virat Kohli been a little more brave and kept an attacking field. There were a few edges which flew through vacant catching positions. All did well for the most part, with everyone chipping in with the wickets barring Vihari.
A fine, fine performance from Pat Cummins. He's ensured that this Boxing Day Test goes into the final day. He put on two partnerships of substance - the first with Starc worth 39 and the next with Lyon, unbeaten on 43. It says a lot about the Australian side that Pat Cummins of all of them is the one to score their first fifty in this Test. Had the others stuck around and showed the same kind of temperament and application as Cummins, then things might have been much different right now.
Ravindra Jadeja to bowl.
Mohammed Shami on now.
Ishant Sharma is called back on to share the new cherry.
The second new ball is available and has been taken. Bumrah wastes no time in having a go with it.
Jasprit Bumrah back for a quick burst. We are hearing that India have taken the extra half an hour to try and bowl out the last two wickets.
Ravindra Jadeja back on.
Ishant Sharma returns to the attack.
Nathan Lyon to bat next.
Mohammed Shami comes back on to bowl.
Probably the last Drinks break of the game. Also, Mitchell Starc in at number 9, replacing his skipper.
Ravindra Jadeja is back into the attack.
Jasprit Bumrah is called back on.
Hanuma Vihari to roll his arm over.
Pat Cummins in at number 8, replacing Travis Head.
Ishant Sharma comes on for a spell of bowling.
Ravindra Jadeja to bowl from the other end.
We are back for the final session of Day 4. Could possibly be the final session of the game too if things go India's way. Australia have their hopes pinned on Travis Head and Tim Paine who are making their way to the middle. The latter will take strike on the first ball. Mohammed Shami to bowl. A very straight short mid on in place, almost on the pitch.
... Fourth Day, Evening Session ...
Much like the spinning ball, it's been a gripping session of Test cricket. In 28 overs, 94 runs were scored for the loss of 3 wickets. The Indians have gone about their business in a rather professional manner. They did face some resistance, but eventually they got what they desired. Khawaja went first, followed by both the Marsh brothers. Shami, Bumrah and Jadeja all got one apiece, and they are now against the last recognized batting pair of Head and Paine. There's a bit on banter going in the middle between Pant and Paine, there even came a time when the umpire had to intervene, but nothing's gone out of hand so far. So, is it just a matter of time now? No sign of any rain either to help out the hosts. This evening session could be the last one of this game, if more of the same follows. Don't go anywhere, it will begin shortly.
So here's the deal. In the previous over, while Paine was on strike, Pant was heard on the stump mic sledging Paine. Now, umpire Ian Gould is seen talking to the Indian keeper about it. Maybe he heard something unsavoury and is giving him a word of caution? Good contest and banter out there so far, hope everyone keeps it clean (enough).
Tim Paine walks into the middle now.
Ravindra Jadeja is back on.
Mohammed Shami returns to the attack.
Ishant Sharma is brought back into the attack.
Mitchell Marsh comes in now, replacing his brother.
Review! This could be the turning point in the game. Shaun Marsh is caught leg before and he's immediately reviewed it. Let's see what happens. It looks close.
Drinks are on the field. India steadily building towards that win. Shami got rid of Khawaja, but since then the elder Marsh and Head have somewhat steadied things up and look solid. Still 304 to win, but pretty sure they're not thinking about it right now. No sign of rain yet, which is a good thing.
Jasprit Bumrah to have a go now.
Travis Head walks into the middle next.
Big moment in the game. Usman Khawaja has been caught leg before by Mohammed Shami and the umpire has adjudged him as out. The batsman has decided to review it. Over to the TV umpire now...
Agarwal is receiving medical treatment from the physio now. Slight halt in play as a result. He's gone off the field and KL Rahul comes on as a substitute.
We are back for the post-Lunch session. Usman Khawaja and Shaun Marsh walk out to the middle, followed by the Indian fielders and the umpires. SOS to take first strike. Mohammed Shami to bowl.
... Fourth Day, Afternoon Session ...
India well and truly on top. After scoring 52 runs today, finishing on 106/8, they set a target of 399 in front of the Australians and blew them away with the ball early. Bumrah once again delivered the goods as he got rid of Finch early and then, Jadeja dismissed Harris soon after. Khawaja and Marsh safely negotiated the remainder of the session, but you can sense India will try to capitalize in the afternoon session with the wicket deteriorating further. It's still quite overcast out there, with the rain expected to interfere, so it's both good and bad news if it happens, depending on which side you support. The second session should be an exciting one, provided it happens. Join us on the other side of the break.
One more over left before Lunch.
Just an update - Virat Kohli has come back out on the field.
Mohammed Shami into the attack now.
Shaun Marsh is the new man in.
Virat Kohli is seen going off the field. Maybe to get some treatment for his still somewhat stiff back? KL Rahul takes his place on the field.
Change of ends for Jasprit Bumrah.
Review time. India have decided to go upstairs. They feel they've got Khawaja caught at slip. Let's see here.
Ravindra Jadeja into the attack now.
Usman Khawaja is in at number 3.
Jasprit Bumrah to share the new ball.