Pat Cummins kept the Indian bowlers at bay with an unbeaten 61, as Australia managed to take the MCG test into the fifth day after finishing day 4 at 258/8.
Resuming at overnight score at 54/5, the Indian pair of Mayank Agarwal and Rishabh Pant started the proceedings solidly by adding 29 more runs, before the 27 year old opener was bowled by Cummins for a well made 42.
Ravindra Jadeja and Pant in quest for some quick runs were dismissed by Cummins and Hazlewood respectively and the tourists declared their second innings at 106 for eight, leaving the home side an improbable target of 399 runs to chase in the fourth innings.
Cummins was Australia’s best bowler as he finished with best figures of 6/27, while Josh Hazlewood bagged 2 wickets.
Chasing a target of 399 in the second innings, Australia started disastrously as they lost out of form opener Aaron Finch in the second over, caught at second slip by Virat Kohli off Jasprit Bumrah for just 3.
The hosts suffered yet another set back when Marcus Harris was dismissed for 13, getting an inside edge from left arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja that was snapped up by Agarwal.
Usman Khawaja looked good in his innings of 33, until he fell leg before wicket by Mohammed Shami after the lunch break to leave the home side in trouble at 63 for 3.
Shaun Marsh and Travis Head batted sensibly by adding 51 runs for the fourth wicket stand, before the former was dismissed LBW by Bumrah for a well made 44. It was perhaps not a decision that would’ve been given in the pre-DRS era, with the ball appearing to slide down leg to the naked eye, but Marais Erasmus raised his finger, and Marsh had to go after the review showed it was umpire’s call.
Marsh’s younger brother Mitchell was the next to fall, with an expansive cover drive off Jadeja proving to be his undoing, leaving the Aussies in wobble at 135 for 5.
Travis Head provided some resistance for a well made 34, before he chopped on- another dismissal which exemplified the poor technique for some of the home side’s batsmen.
Skipper Tim Paine made 26 before he edged Jadeja to Pant. Cummins and Mitchell Starc frustrated the Indian bowlers by adding 39 runs for the eight wicket before the latter was dismissed by Shami for 18 runs.
Cummins and Nathan Lyon then showed dogged resistance with the bat. India took the extra half an hour on offer, but the duo remained firm as Australia ended Day 4 at 258/8, leaving another 141 runs for an unlikely victory going into Day 5.
India at Stumps on Day 4 Second innings- 106/8 declared – Mayank Agarwal 42, Rishabh Pant 33. (Cummins 6/27, Hazlewood 2/22). Australia second innings 258/8- Pat Cummins 61* Shaun Marsh 44. ( Ravindra Jadeja 3/82, Jasprit Bumrah 2/53 and Mohammed Shami 2/71)