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India on course for victory at MCG





India's bowlers have put their side in a dominant position in the second Test, Australia leading by just two runs with only four wickets in hand at stumps on day three at the MCG.


Australia's batsmen again struggled to cope with India's relentless bowling and field positions, only Matthew Wade (40) able to resist for any length of time as the visitors look to level the series at one Test apiece.


Resuming the day at 5-277 with a lead of 82 the final five wickets fell for the addition of only 49 runs on day three, captain Ajinkya Rahane's superb knock ending on 112 when he was run out in a mix-up with Ravindra Jadeja, ending the stand at 121.


Jadeja reached 50 but fell to a Mitch Starc short ball, splicing a pull shot to Pat Cummins at deep midwicket having made a vital 57.


The rest of the batting order didnt last long, Ravichandran Ashwin (14) and Umesh Yadav (9) the only batsmen to contribute to the total before the innings was wrapped up on 326.


Nathan Lyon cleaned up the tail to finish with three wickets, Mitch Starc with 3-78 of his own and Cummins two in a bowling display that lasted 115.1 overs.


India's lead was 131 on the first innings as Australia set out to eradicate the deficit as quickly and safely as possible, Joe Burns desperately seeking some form as doubts continue over his spot in the Test side.


It was an unconvincing stay for the Queenslander, who was nearly run out in trying to avoid a pair, survived an LBW referral on one before edging behind off Umesh Yadav, compounding his woes by wasting a review that showed a clear deviation from his bat, out for four.


Matthew Wade and Marnus Labuschagne fought hard for a time, Labuschagne making 28 before edging an Ashwin off-break to Rahane at slip.


Steve Smith's troubles continued when he was bowled behind his legs by Jasprit Bumrah for 8, his fourth single figure score of the series in a rare form slump for the star Australian batsman.


Having resisted for more than three hours and 137 balls Wade was trapped in front by Jadeja for 40, Travis Head edging the first ball of the next over from Mohammed Siraj to Mayank Agarwa at second slip to depart for 17.


There was more DRS controversy when Australian captain Tim Paine was adjudged caught behind after an Indian review on a not out verdict from Paul Reiffel, no hot spot overruled by a spike on snicko despite evidence the noise came from Paine's front foot scraping the pitch rather than bat on ball.


Cameron Green and Pat Cummins batted through until stumps to take Australia to the lead having been at one stage 6-99, Green (17*) and Cummins (15*) back to fight another day but with India well on top.


The only blight on the day for India was a calf injury suffered by paceman Yadav after only 3.3 overs at the bowling crease, with scans set to reveal the extent of the damage.


Only a miracle will stop India squaring the series on day four, Australia under pressure to make changes heading in to the third Test.


A decision on the venue for that match is set to be made on Tuesday, with Cricket Australia to make a call on the viability of the Sydney Cricket Ground after a recent spike in coronavirus cases in Sydney's Northern Beaches.


IMAGE: ESPN Cricinfo.



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