India 462-8 at stumps on day 3 chasing Australia’s 530
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Australia’s Nathan Lyon and Ryan Harris each claimed two vital late wickets to leave India on 462-8 at stumps on day three of the third test, after Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane shared a 262-run partnership on Sunday.
India trails Australia’s first-innings 530 by 68 runs after starting the day on 103-1.
Kohli and Rahane made the most of a placed pitch at the Melbourne Cricket Ground to put together a fluent partnership that looked like turning the test in India’s favor.
“Before coming here, I told myself I’m going to be positive against these bowlers and these conditions,” Kohli said.
“You saw Ajinkya today ... at no point did I tell him to back off and not play his game. That’s what is working for us as a batting unit, that intent, that positivity.”
They brought up India’s first fourth-wicket century partnership at the MCG off 138 balls and went on to build India’s highest partnership outside Asia in 10 years.
Lyon (2-108) ended their stand when he trapped Rahane lbw attempting a sweep on 147.
The offspinner then dismissed Lokesh Rahul, caught at deep backward square off a top-edged sweep, dismissing him on debut for 3.
Rahul’s wicket came much to the relief of substitute field Peter Siddle, who dropped Rahul at mid-wicket two balls earlier.
Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was caught behind for 11 off Harris (4-69), who caught and bowled Ravichandran Ashwin for a duck in the next over.
On the last ball of the day, Kohli’s impressive innings came to an end on 169, fishing at a wide ball from Mitchell Johnson and edging it to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, who produced his second diving catch of the day.
“They batted really well to get that many, but now we’ve got eight wickets down leading into tomorrow and we got Kohli which was a big wicket,” Harris said. “The quicker we get them in the morning the better and hopefully have a bit of lead and bat and see where we go from there.”
India will resume day 4 with Mohammed Shami on 9 joined by Ishant Sharma.
Harris gave Australia a perfect start on Sunday by dismissing Cheteshwar Pujara for his overnight score of 25 off the second ball of the day, thanks to an athletic, one-handed catch by Haddin.
Shane Watson (1-65) soon after claimed opener Murali Vijay for 68, caught at backward point by Shaun Marsh.
Kohli, who scored two centuries in the first test at Adelaide, got two reprieves in the second session when Lyon missed a clear caught and bowled opportunity with the batsman on 84, and then on 88 when Watson dropped an edge at slip.
“If we had taken our chances it could have been entirely different,” Harris said. “We have pretty high standards in our fielding and that was disappointing how we fielded today.”
Tempers flared before tea when Johnson threw the ball toward Kohli’s wicket while the batsman was out of his crease, only to hit him in the back, sending him to the ground. Johnson apologized, but at the end of the over, they had a heated exchange before the umpires intervened.
“I was really annoyed with him hitting me with the ball and I told him ‘that’s not on try to hit the stumps next time, not my body,’” Kohli said.
“You’ve got to send the right message across. I’m not going to out there to take unnecessary words or chat from someone. I’m going out there to play cricket.”
India needs to win the third test to stay alive in the four-match series. Australia can reclaim the Border-Gavaskar trophy with a win or draw in Melbourne after a 48-run win in the first test and a four-wicket victory last week in the second test at Brisbane