And, they were bang on target. With initiatives by Chris Rogers (69) and Shaun Marsh (batting 62), the Australian team avoided any sort of glitches to comfortably march ahead, scoring 261-7. Even after losing the top three batsmen early, Rogers and Marsh played their parts significantly to put their team in the driver’s seat.
But then, even after crossing the 300-run mark, Australia decided to continue, raising a few eyebrows. Perhaps, their strategy was to go for the attack on the final day, in order to keep the opponents under psychological pressure. So, when India take the field, they would be required to play a game of patience in order to earn a draw. Or else, they need to fit into their ODI avatars. History shows that chasing a target on the last day hasn’t been an easy job for teams. And perhaps, that’s one of the reasons behind Australia’s not withdrawing the innings on Monday.
Earlier, despite Ajinkya Rahane and Virat Kohli scoring centuries, India conceded a first innings lead. Starting at 462-8, India lost their last two wickets for just 2 runs. Umesh Yadav went back to pavilion in the second ball of the day. Trying to prove his batting prowess, Umesh was caught behind by Haddin off Mitchell Johnson for a duck. Mohammad Shami too followed suit, falling for 12.
And, that's how the fourth day of the Melbourne Test swung in Australia's favour. While, Australian tail-enders created a new record in the first innings, India's lower-order put up a shoddy show, proving to be tale-enders!
Also read: HIGHLIGHTS: India-Australia Third Test: Day Four