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India square series

India has levelled the Border-Gavaskar series at 1-1, defeating Australia by eight wickets at the MCG on Tuesday.

Young gun Cameron Green fought hard to top score with 45, but once he departed there was little resistance from the Australian lower order, all out for 200 to set India just 70 for victory.

Australia resumed the day at 6-133, leading by just two runs as the visitors looked to clean up the tail and wrap up the match.

Overnight batsmen Green and Pat Cummins batted sedately through most of the opening hour, Cummins surviving two LBW referrals padding up to Ravichandran Ashwin.

Having added 57 Cummins was bounced out by Jasprit Bumrah for a 103 ball 22, the ball looping off his glove to Mayank Agarwal at second slip.

Green grew in confidence as his innings progressed, striking five fours with his back foot play in particular a feature, as well as a solid defence as part of his compact batting technique.

Australia's hopes of a miraculous win were dashed when Green spliced a pull shot to Ravindra Jadeja at midwicket, falling to debutant Mohammed Siraj for the second time in the match having made 45.

Last pair Mitch Starc (14*) and Josh Hazlewood (11) took the home side's total to 200 for the first time in the series, before Ashwin bowled the number eleven offering no stroke, the ball clattering in to the off-stump.

India's small chase got off to a shaky start as Starc removed Mayank Agarwal (5) for the second time in the match, Cheteshwar Pujara falling to Pat Cummins for a third straight innings as he edged the speedster to Green at gully having made just 3.

At 2-19 Australia were daring to dream, but captain Ajinkya Rahane and youngster Shubman Gill steadied things with an unbroken 51 run stand, victory arriving in just 15.5 overs.

Gill capped off a solid debut with an unbeaten 35, Rahane winning the inaugural Johnny Mullagh Medal as player of the match, named in honour of the best indigenous Australian player in 1868 part of the first national team to tour internationally.

The result levels the series ahead of the third Test match, still without a venue as Cricket Australia mulls over whether to play in Sydney with a recent outbreak of coronavirus cases.

Should the Test not be able to be played at the SCG it is expected that the MCG will host a second straight Test, scheduled to commence on January 7th.

IMAGE: Deccan Herald.


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