Category Archive: India Cricket

India Cricket News

May 07

BCCI ends lingering doubt over India’s Champions Trophy involvement

• Board has ‘unanimously decided’ India will participate in England
• Squad will be selected on Monday after initial deadline of 25 April was missed

India have belatedly confirmed their participation in the Champions Trophy in June. There were concerns that the Board of Control for Cricket in India would decide at a special general meeting in Delhi on Sunday to keep Virat Kohli’s team at home instead of travelling to England.

The uncertainty stemmed from India’s evident dissatisfaction with the new power and revenue-sharing model agreed by the International Cricket Council last month. But in a short statement attributed to the BCCI secretary, Amitabh Choudhary, those fears were allayed – and India will therefore defend the trophy they won four years ago, also in England.

Related: India a doubt for Champions Trophy after ICC vote slashes income

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/may/07/bcci-ends-doubts-over-india-champions-trophy-involvement

Apr 27

India a doubt for Champions Trophy after ICC vote slashes income

• ICC votes 13-1 to cut India’s share of global events’ cash
• India’s $293m still more than double England’s $143m

India’s participation in the Champions Trophy is in doubt following a landmark vote by the International Cricket Council that went against the sport’s most powerful nation and means their share of the financial pot from global events will suffer a significant cut.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India had already missed Tuesday’s deadline to submit their squad for the eight-team tournament, which begins in England on 1 June, and reports in the country are now claiming a boycott is being considered by factions within the embattled governing body. India’s delay in naming a 15-man party for their title defence had been flagged up in advance as being down to “operational reasons” but it comes in the same week they were outvoted 13 to one at the ICC board meeting in Dubai on a new financial model in which their share of revenues from 2016 to 2023 is slashed from $570m (£440m) to $293m in a scaling back of the so-called Big Three reforms of 2014.

Related: Cricket is fierce in Mumbai’s field of dreams

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/apr/27/india-champions-trophy-icc-vote-bcci-income-cricket

Apr 06

Cricket is fierce in Mumbai’s field of dreams

At the Oval Maidan recreation ground in Mumbai young cricketers can imagine they are the next MS Dhoni or Virat Kohli

India is home to many religions: Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, Christian and more. But they say the No 1 religion is cricket. And a trip to the Oval Maidan, a nine-hectare recreation ground in Mumbai, seems to confirm this. On a Sunday afternoon here there are so many games going on at once – perhaps 100 – that it’s almost impossible to work out who is playing in which one.

The game is played fast and furiously. It is a dusty surface on which a bowler ought to be able to spin the ball but, despite the heat, all the bowlers steam in and propel the rubber ball as fast as they can. The first delivery will be a bouncer at the batsman’s head to keep him back in his crease. The next will be just as quick but this time at his feet, and if he misses it his stumps will be sent cartwheeling.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/05/cricket-mumbai-oval-maidan-ms-dhoni-virat-kholi-india

Mar 28

Virat Kohli says he is no longer friends with Australian opponents

  • Indian skipper says relationship with opponents ‘has changed for sure’
  • Kohli was absent from the series-deciding fourth Test due to injury

Indian captain Virat Kohli says he is no longer friends with Australian players and never will be following his side’s triumph in a heated Border-Gavaskar Trophy series.

Kohli declared before the start of the series that he was “really good friends” with some of his Australian opponents, with whom he often shares a dressing room during the Indian Premier League season.

Related: India knock off runs to secure victory and claim series win over Australia

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/mar/28/virat-kohli-says-he-is-no-longer-friends-with-australian-opponents

Mar 28

India blaze their way to 2-1 Border-Gavaskar series win – as it happened

  • India defeat Australia by eight wickets to take four-Test series 2-1
  • Home side claims back Border-Gavaskar Trophy as KL Rahul dominates

7.16am BST

That is a wrap from me

But thank you for stopping by on what has been a disappointing day for Australia, who conceded the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Thank you also for your company throughout this series, which has been claimed 2-1 by India. Want more? Here is the latest from the ground thanks to Adam Collins:

Related: India knock off runs to secure victory and claim series win over Australia

7.14am BST

Actually, Virat Kohli will have the final word

And he’s donned his whites! Look out John Terry! “Unbelievable,” he says. “I think this is our best series win so far. The Australian team gave us a fight throughout the series. The way the guys kept bouncing back showed the spirit of this team. The maturity and the responsibility shown by all of the guys was very pleasing.”

7.09am BST

The final word comes from the winning captain Ajinkya Rahane

“I really enjoyed it,” says the stand-in captain. “I thought our bowlers, batsmen and fielders all did well. Everyone did well.”

7.03am BST

No huge surprises there, at least not at first. Smith made 499 runs for the series, including three centuries, and deserves his trophy and cheque. But then Jadeja gets the “man of the series” award, so I’m really not sure what they’ve given Smith.

Update: Smith is merely “player of the series”. He’s apparently not quite the man Jadeja is. Jadeja certainly shaded him for half-century celebrations with his sword-work.

Virat Kohli “I think this was our best series win so far.” #INDvAUS

7.01am BST

Four wickets and a valuable 63 in the first innings were crucial for India, though they don’t let him stop by for a chat. His performances did all the talking.

7.00am BST

Steve Smith steps forward now for a word

“It was a maginficent series, and one of the best I’ve been part of so far,” the Aussie skipper says. “We played some good cricket in this series and had our opportunities at time… Credit to India for winning the series 2-1.”

6.48am BST

Sachin Tendulkar is reasonably happy

…and we’ll have the presentation ceremony shortly.

Indiaaa Indiaaa Indiaaa Indiaaa!!!! #IndVAus pic.twitter.com/legRgX9JSk

6.42am BST

No word from Steve Smith just yet, but it can’t be far away. First we wait for a kind of ‘This is your Life’ starring every figure in Indian cricket. What happened to interviewing the losing captain first?

6.39am BST

A final reader email

It comes from Robert McLiam Wilson, OBO favourite. He’s a bit full of himself, mind you. “It’s painful to admit it, as your regular ‘funny’ emailer (always a ready quip and a sick burn), but there’s no comedy here,” he writes. “Because this may well have been the perfect series. Stunning cricket. There wasn’t a bad quarter of an hour. Well done everyone (OBO included).” Cheers Bob.

Most Runs #INDvAUS Series:

Steve Smith 499
Cheteshwar Pujara 405
Lokesh Rahul 393
Matt Renshaw 232
Ajinkya Rahane 198
Peter Handscomb 198

6.38am BST

Che Pujara and KL Rahul stop by for a word with Ravi Shastri

“We wanted to win it 3-1,” says Pujara, not quite content with 2-1. “We are very happy. We wanted to be number one in the Test rankings and the way we’ve played has been fantastic.”

6.33am BST

We’re waiting for word from the captains

…but in the meantime, here’s the match report:

Related: India knock off runs to secure victory and claim series win over Australia

6.32am BST

India’s last Test series v all teams:

Aus – Won
Ban – Won
Eng – Won
NZ – Won
Pak – Won
SL – Won
SA – Won
WI – Won
Zim – Won#IndvAus

6.27am BST

All smiles as Virat Kohli and his men shake hands with the tourists

It’s been a spiteful series at times, but also offered genuinely compelling cricket. On balance India deserve this 2-1 series win. When it’s mattered they’ve been that little bit better, and they took their opportunities when they came to recover from a 1-0 deficit early in the series. Three first-time Test venues perhaps brought Australia into the series more than they might have been at grounds more familiar to the Indian side, but in a difficult series for batsmen India’s were just that little bit better. How sad it is that it had to end.

6.25am BST

Rahul gets his half-century and hits the inning runs!

24th over: India 106-2 (Rahul 52, Rahane 38) – India win by eight wickets

6.21am BST

23rd over: India 102-2 (Rahul 48, Rahane 37) – India require four runs to win

Steve Smith decides against a comedy bowling change and continues with Lyon, so we’ll probably see a bit of nudging and nurdling until India reach their target. Lyon has an enthusiastic LBW shout against Rahane but Marais Erasmus turns it down and the ball tumbles away for four leg byes beyond a diving David Warner. As Lyon bowls his final delivery of the over India need four, but Rahane doesn’t chance his arm, so Rahul will have a chance to reach that sixth 50 of the tour.

6.17am BST

22nd over: India 95-2 (Rahul 46, Rahane 36) – India require 11 runs to win

One last roll of the dice for Steve O’Keefe, who has been a mostly solid and occasionally spectacular contributor for Australia on this tour. Rahane gives him slightly more deferential treatment than that meted out to Pat Cummins, but when the Indian skipper gets one down the leg side he feathers a glance down to the fence at fine leg. It’s all over bar the shouting in Dharamsala.

6.13am BST

21st over: India 89-2 (Rahul 46, Rahane 30) – India require 17 runs to win

A rather beleaguered Nathan Lyon gets another over, and it’s a calm one compared to the pyrotechnics of the last, but Rahul gets a boundary with a more conventional stroke when he cuts hard forward of point. He’s within one blow of his sixth half-century of the series, which has been a mighty effort in a tough month for batsmen. Whatever the circumstances or conditions he’s stood tall for India.

6.10am BST

20th over: India 84-2 (Rahul 42, Rahane 29) – India require 22 runs to win

Bang! Says Brett Lee: “What a ball!” (incorrect) “But what a shot!” (correct). Cummins sends down a 148kmph half-tracker and the Indian skipper belts it over cow corner with a mighty pull shot. Next up he shuffles down leg and absolutely creams another one over the ropes at deep extra cover. Oh boy, this is some kind of display from Ajinkya Rahane. He’s turned into Chris Lynn in the last few minutes. Virat Kohli – the man he replaced as leader for this game – has only lead by example with respect to his spiky persona. Rahane is doing it with his bat. His assault on Cummins suspended with a single, he looks around the arena and notes his side requires only 22 more to win. What a cameo this is turning into. Rahane is 29 from 16. Australia are cooked.

6.02am BST

19th over: India 71-2 (Rahul 42, Rahane 16) – India require 35 runs to win

Nathan Lyon continues. He’s got a slip and a short leg for Rahul, so pursues a leg stump line. Rahul sneaks a single, but the bowling approach doesn’t change much, and Rahane also gets one to the leg side. An inside edge from Rahul as he drives brings leg gully David Warner into play, though not to the extent Lyon was hoping. This is slipping away from Australia as play stops for drinks.

5.58am BST

18th over: India 67-2 (Rahul 39, Rahane 15) – India require 39 runs to win

Glenn Maxwell strikes again! What a weapon he is for Australia patrolling thew inner ring. Another direct hit from him has KL Rahul in trouble at the non-striker’s end but the Indian batsman just made his ground. Not so good is a half-tracker outside the line of leg stump from Cummins, who is belted around the corner for another Ajinkya Rahane boundary. The Indian skipper has all the energy of this match coursing through him but he’s channelling it to his side’s advantage. This target is being whittled away rapidly.

5.53am BST

17th over: India 62-2 (Rahul 38, Rahane 11) – India require 44 runs to win

Lyon has full control of his repertoire early in this spell but Rahane looks to get after him immediately, sweeping with intent to pick up a single. KL Rahul then gets luck, pushing forward hard and sending a thick but some would say controlled outside edge flying away through the vacant gully region for a boundary. Michael Clarke is still on about the number of men out on the boundary. He’s certainly not shy about criticising Steve Smith’s captaincy, which is welcome in these days of soft serve punditry.

5.49am BST

16th over: India 56-2 (Rahul 33, Rahane 10) – India require 50 runs to win

Pat Cummins continues with three slips and a gully in place for Ajinkya Rahane, but they’re unlikely to come into play while he’s bowling half-volleys. The Indian skipper gets forward with a straight bat and hammers the Australian paceman down the ground with exquisite timing. That’s four, and so is the next delivery, to which he steps back smartly to pick off a lofted pull shot. That second delivery was 148kmph and he didn’t quite nail the shot, but it fizzes away to the fence.

5.43am BST

15th over: India 47-2 (Rahul 33, Rahane 1) – India require 59 runs to win

“What is going on out here?” asks Michael Clarke as Indian skipper Ajinkya Rahane gets off the mark with a single from the new bowler, Nathan Lyon. He refers not to the wicket-taking carnage of last over, but the fact Steve Smith has three men posted on the boundary. Everyone is a bit tense, it’s fair to say. Lyon beats the outside edge with a jaffa to finish his first over. People: breathe. I repeat: breathe.

5.40am BST

Chaos! Maxwell runs Pujara out with a direct hit! Oh my word, what were the batsmen thinking? Pujara bunts Cummins into the covers, where Maxwell is on his toes and moves in quickly, and after a mid-pitch stutter and conflicting calls, Pujara eventually agrees to run though. A problem there: he’s still only halfway down the pitch as Maxwell gathers, takes deliberate aim and throws down the stumps with an emphatic direct hit. Holy moly.

5.34am BST

Cummins gets the breakthrough! And it was a beauty – slightly short of a length, plenty of bounce and nipping away from Vijay, who was stuck on the crease and pushing forward with hard hands. Wade accepts the simple chance and things are now at least a little bit interesting. India require 60 runs to win and have nine wickets in hand.

5.32am BST

13th over: India 46-0 (Vijay 8, Rahul 33) – India require 60 runs to win

Steve Smith has now seen the replay of last over’s non-appeal but for all his eye-rolling, it’s kind of his and his team’s job to be going up for half-chances at this point in the game. Adding insult to injury, Rahul rocks back to Hazlewood and creams a pull shot to the fence at deep mid wicket. An existential question re Australia’s missed chance: what is the point of Matthew Wade if not to go up maniacally for half-chances like that?

Glove? Not much of an appeal from the Aussies and no review either: https://t.co/1HG79qHddv #INDvAUS pic.twitter.com/HswAGzaXFg

5.28am BST

12th over: India 42-0 (Vijay 8, Rahul 29) – India require 64 runs to win

With the momentum ebbing away at O’Keefe’s end, the spinner is replaced by paceman Pat Cummins. That might have been the go from the start, to be honest. Immediately he gets a short one fizzing past Murali Vijay’s rib cage and Matthew Wade needs to scramble to his right to avoid any more byes. Singles come easily enough from there, and Vijay also unfurls a pretty cover drive for no run.

KL Rahul hasn’t got a big score in the series, but has looked India’s best batsman. No longer all or nothing.

5.21am BST

11th over: India 40-0 (Vijay 7, Rahul 29) – India require 66 runs to win

Mmmmm it’s crack time. Josh Hazlewood hits one now to send a horror delivery thumping into Lokesh Rahul’s thigh pad. Then the Australian paceman squares his man up beautifully with one that goes on straight. Rahul is neither forward nor back, but will have a couple of nasty bruises as a result of this spell. Hazlewood also sends a snorter of a short ball rearing up past the outside edge and shaping away towards first slip. Rahul does well just to survive this over. There is one game happening at this end of the ground and an entirely different one at the other.

5.18am BST

10th over: India 40-0 (Vijay 7, Rahul 29) – India require 66 runs to win

Steve Smith doesn’t have many runs to play with but he’s prepared to give O’Keefe at least one more over, and Rahul makes the most of it by slashing a square drive to the boundary off the first delivery. The only helmeted player in danger here is Peter Handscomb at silly point, though not when Rahul forcefully sweeps another boundary through square leg. He might finish this off by drinks. His analysis this series: 64, 10, 90, 51, 67, 60, 29*

5.14am BST

9th over: India 31-0 (Vijay 7, Rahul 20) – India require 75 runs to win

It’s no real fault of O’Keefe’s (I’m not even sure why he’s bowling) but you feel Hazlewood is the man here. He’s getting the ball to swing in late and appreciably to the right handers, so attacks their stumps constantly. When he drops short Rahul plays a risky late cut and bisects the men at gully and third slip perfectly to pick up another boundary. A pained Hazlewood throws his head back in frustration, and he’s even more shirty when Rahul bunts a quick single to cover from the next delivery. Ravi Shastri is positing the theory that Matt Renshaw “dropped” the Border-Gavaskar trophy, then has the temerity to wish him happy birthday. With friends like these…

5.09am BST

8th over: India 26-0 (Vijay 7, Rahul 15) – India require 80 runs to win

Somewhat surprisingly it’s Steve O’Keefe pairing with the paceman from the pavilion end, and Rahul gets going by turning his first delivery to leg for a single. Vijay does similar, stroking an attractive drive to the man at long off. With Rahul on strike O’Keefe has a slip and a silly point, and also some sharp turn; so sharp he beats both Rahul’s edge and the gloves of a badly-positioned Matthew Wade to concede four byes. That was horrible keeping work by Wade. It’s only the second over of the day and he’s already hopping around to his left with his leg in the air, completely off balance. Don Tallon would turn in his grave.

5.05am BST

7th over: India 19-0 (Vijay 6, Rahul 13) – India require 87 runs to win

Josh Hazlewood gets us started on what will be denouement of this compelling series. His first ball is arrowed down the leg side, but Vijay misses the chance to flick it down towards the fence at fine leg. The Australian has changed ends from where he was bowling last night, and hopefully for his sake it’ll bring him the same sort of luck he had there in the first innings. He has two very enthusiastic LBW shouts when he has the ball tailing in to Vijay. Marais Erasmus turns both down, apparently believing they’ve hit the batsman’s pad outside the line, and that the second featured an inside edge. Very sloppy from the Indian opener, and perhaps a bit lucky. A promising start from Hazlewood.

4.52am BST

The pitch

“I think the first half an hour is going to be crucial,” says Sunil Gavaskar, hardly causing an earthquake with his initial take. Of more interest is the pitch. There is still a fair bit of grass coverage, and decent sized cracks just short of a length. That is where Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins will be focusing their energies, and hopefully landing the ball.

4.49am BST

A bit on Glenn Maxwell’s reemergence as a Test cricketer

“While he was at the crease we looked like we could build some kind of lead,” Allan Border says. Should he stay at No6 for Australia? “He’s showed enough that he should be,” says Brad Haddin. “He can move the game forward so quick. I think he needs to be given an extended run like we did with David Warner.”

4.42am BST

A Sheffield Shield final update while we have time…

South Australia are in all sorts of trouble in Alice Springs. In reply to Victoria’s first innings score of 487 they’re 132-6 with Joe Mennie and keeper Alex Carey at the crease. Jon Holland has been the chief destroyer for the Bushrangers. He has 4-39 from 13.1 overs having dismissed South Australian batting stars Callum Ferguson, Travis Head and Jake Lehmann. James Pattinson has 2-28 from 13 overs to do the rest of the damage. The Vics only needed a draw to win their third Shield on the trot, but they’re on track for an outright win at this rate.

4.21am BST

Preamble

Hello all and welcome to day four of the fourth Test in Dharamsala, where Australia are staring down the barrel of a Border-Gavaskar Trophy series loss. The task ahead for India: 87 runs to tick off with all 10 wickets in hand. Perhaps a few early scalps to Pat Cummins or Josh Hazlewood could throw the Kohli among the seagulls, but you doubt it. Since 1969 Australia have won just the single Test series in India, back in 2004. If they repeat the feat today it’ll be a minor miracle.

1.34am BST

Russell will be here soon. Here’s yesterday’s match report:

Related: India close to Border-Gavaskar Trophy victory after Australia collapse

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/mar/28/india-v-australia-fourth-test-day-four-live

Mar 28

India knock off runs to secure victory and claim series win over Australia

  • Australia 300 & 137; India 332 & 107-2
  • India win fourth Test by eight wickets and four-match series 2-1

A series that banged and crashed its way around India through a month of pulsating struggle drifted away in less than a session as India cruised to an eight-wicket victory on the fourth morning in Dharamsala, reclaiming the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in the process.

Australia’s meek collapse the previous afternoon ensured there would be no grandstand finish, the hosts left 106 for victory on a surface that was always going to stay true. Returning with 87 more to get, the hosts did the rest in 18 overs. KL Rahul was not out when the triumph came, giving him 403 series runs, alongside his acting captain Ajinkya Ranahe who finished with a dashing 38.

Related: India v Australia: fourth Test, day four – live!

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/mar/28/india-australia-fourth-test-match-report

Mar 27

India move closer to Border-Gavaskar Trophy victory – as it happened

  • India 19-0 at stumps on day four, requiring 87 more runs to win
  • Home side on brink of Border-Gavaskar Trophy win in Dharamsala

12.45pm BST

One final thing: here is the report from a dramatic day in Dharamsala.

Related: India close to Border-Gavaskar Trophy victory after Australia collapse

12.28pm BST

One of the great Test series of modern times will end tomorrow, mostly likely with an Indian victory. The home side took a stranglehold on this match by dismissing Australia for just 137 in their second innings, leaving them just 106 for victory. They cruised to 19-0 at stumps.

The damage was done in the afternoon and evening sessions by an accomplished team bowling performance. Umesh Yadav, R. Ashwin, and Ravindra Jadeja each took three wickets at dreamy economy rates to deny Australia any momentum.

12.19pm BST

6th over: India 19-0 (Rahul 13, Vijay 6) – Target 106

First change of bowling and it’s O’Keefe with the final over of the day. Blimey! His first delivery explodes out of the surface, belching dust and ripping past Rahul’s outside edge. The rest of the over is more predictable enabling Rahul to see out play from the crease with a straight blade.

12.16pm BST

5th over: India 19-0 (Rahul 13, Vijay 6) – Target 106

Better rhythm and pace from Cummins first up and he almost kisses Viyay’s outside edge as a result. The rest of the over isn’t too threatening until the final delivery thuds into Vijay’s front pad. An optimistic REVIEW follows and DRS confirms the ball was bouncing well over leg stump. Steve Smith is unhappy about something, not quite sure what, but umpire Erasmus is doing his best to mollify him.

12.10pm BST

4th over: India 19-0 (Rahul 13, Vijay 6) – Target 106

India’s openers are up for this challenge, defending with purpose and running with intent; Vijay’s scampered three an excellent example.

12.05pm BST

3rd over: India 16-0 (Rahul 13, Vijay 3) – Target 106

Cummins seems caught between bowling for away swing and the outside edge and attacking Rahul’s body, the outcome of which is neither nowt nor summat, as Yorkshire-folk would say. Everything looks a touch mechanical and out of sync compared to the rhythmical spells we’ve become accustomed to.

Overwhelmed, thank you to everyone for the kind words. pic.twitter.com/C2Ije0Upww

12.00pm BST

2nd over: India 14-0 (Rahul 12, Vijay 2) – Target 106

Vijay is off the mark early as well, driving Hazlewood behind point for two.

11.56am BST

1st over: India 12-0 (Rahul 12, Vijay 0) – Target 106

India are off to a flyer! Three boundaries of varying quality from KL Rahul against the bowling of Cummins: an edge along the ground through gully, a glorious straight drive and a wristy flick, all earn four runs to power India off the start line.

11.51am BST

11.48am BST

Some correspondence during the innings break.

Vijay BG emails in a helpful guide for Tamil naming conventions. “As per Tamil naming tradition, the first name is the father’s name and the last name is your name. While Rest of India uses surnames, Tamilians don’t. Instead, we prefix our names with the first letter of the father’s name: eg. M Vijay and R Ashwin.”

@JPHowcroft if a test match elsewhere in the world was almost over inside 3 days, the curator would have some serious questions to answer..

11.45am BST

Phew! That last half hour or so was hard to keep track of.

India will have six overs to bat tonight in their pursuit of 106.

11.42am BST

Ashwin beats the inside edge of Hazlewood’s defensive push, hits the front pad in front of middle and umpire Gould raises the finger. A tactical DRS confirms ball tracking as umpire’s call.

After a chaotic final over, Australia are all out for 137, setting India 106 runs to win.

11.40am BST

54th over: Australia 137-9 (Wade 25, Hazlewood 0)

Ashwin coming from around the wicket to Hazlewood and the third delivery is edged solidly to second slip who takes a sharp low catch. But, hang on, despite everyone jogging off the pitch, the umpires are stopping everyone. The TV umpire has overruled the soft on-field dismissal of out – with scant evidence in my opinion – and play continues.

11.35am BST

53rd over: Australia 137-9 (Wade 25, Hazlewood 0)

What’s happened here? Wade has edged a sitter to first slip but Ashwin’s there, for some reason and he shells it like a novice. Poor cricket from India. Australia should be all out for a lead under 100 but Wade survives and punishes Rahane’s captaincy with a cut four and then a pulled two.

11.30am BST

52nd over: Australia 131-9 (Wade 19, Hazlewood 0)

Ashwin returns with two left-handers at the crease. Wade realises it’s now or never and tries to smash every delivery. He picks up six over extra cover, two through midwicket, and accepts a single from the fifth ball. Hazlewood defends his solitary delivery.

11.28am BST

51st over: Australia 122-9 (Wade 10, Hazlewood 0)

Yadav’s return to the attack has been the catalyst for this latest collapse. Excellent wholehearted fast bowler.

@JPHowcroft what has been a wonderfully compelling series looks in danger of finishing in slightly disappointing manner.

11.24am BST

Wade takes the single off the first delivery of Yadav’s over. The second ball whistles past the top of Lyon’s off stump. The third is edged to second slip. Hook, line and sinker.

11.21am BST

50th over: Australia 121-8 (Wade 9, Lyon 0)

Terrific bowling from Jadeja, he picks up his third – and 25th of the series – and Australia are staring at something ugly. They lead by just 89.

11.19am BST

One brings two. O’Keefe can’t get to the pitch of the ball and his push to a textbook Jadeja delivery flies straight to silly point. Sharp catch by Pujara. India rampant.

11.17am BST

49th over: Australia 121-7 (Wade 9, O’Keefe 0)

Wade, now nine from 78 deliveries, sees off a maiden from Yadav.

11.13am BST

48th over: Australia 121-7 (Wade 9, O’Keefe 0)

Cummins dug in but for all his application the scoreboard failed to move much while he was at the crease.

11.11am BST

Jadeja continues and Cummins finally mistimes a drive, edging a regulation catch to Rahane at slip.

11.08am BST

47th over: Australia 120-6 (Wade 8, Cummins 12)

Umesh Yadav to mix things up after drinks. He begins beautifully, nipping one through Cummins and just over middle stump. The batsman survives though with the bowler failing to force Australia’s number 8 to play often enough.

Rahane’s catch … #INDvAUS pic.twitter.com/HrByS2yezs

11.03am BST

Gervase Greene has his right of reply during drinks. “Apologies all. If Ian Forth (OBO-34) is right, and my quoting of Churchill disenfranchised the original brilliant dictioner who said it, I regret. Fair call, oops and all that. Great that a Maxwell quote indirectly referenced his equally oddball but brilliant literary equivalent, Dr J.”

11.02am BST

11.00am BST

46th over: Australia 120-6 (Wade 8, Cummins 12)

That’s more like it. Wade sees out a maiden off Jadeja. The Indian bowler things every delivery is a chance. None are. The stifled cries and not-so-stifled appeals really seem to bear no reflection to the action. It must be irritating to bat against. Especially when you look up to see how great his hair is too.

10.58am BST

45th over: Australia 120-6 (Wade 8, Cummins 12)

BOUNDARY! A legit one too! Smoothly driven from Cummins through extra cover to a loopy one from Ashwin. Roll out the bunting and strike up the band.

10.55am BST

44th over: Australia 115-6 (Wade 7, Cummins 8)

Another maiden, but a couple of oohs and ahhs this over as Jadeja first beats Cummins’ outside edge and then finds it, but only enough to see it reach a diving slip on the bounce.

10.52am BST

43rd over: Australia 115-6 (Wade 7, Cummins 8)

Ashwin thinks he has Wade LBW after beating the bat from around the wicket but the batsman had got far enough across to present doubt in umpire Erasmus’ mind that he was struck outside the line.

10.50am BST

42nd over: Australia 115-6 (Wade 7, Cummins 8)

Cummins is playing like a man leaning over a pond transfixed by his own reflection, only to be jerked from his impending doom by an invisible bungy cord strapped to his waist. Most of this over he leans, prods a defensive push, and then rebounds back to his full height only to return to the same dance a moment later.

10.47am BST

41st over: Australia 113-6 (Wade 7, Cummins 6)

Cummins nicks another single as the TV camera pans to some spectators in a very maroon-ish shade of purple, bringing about appreciative noises from Queenslander Matthew Hayden. You can take the boy out of Bundaberg etc…

10.44am BST

40th over: Australia 110-6 (Wade 6, Cummins 4)

Cummins inside edges an early single off Jadeja leaving Wade to handle most of the over. A bat-pad catch appeal is turned down as Australia’s keeper continues to stand firm at the crease.

S Marsh’s series average of 18.87 is the third lowest of his career; however his 517 balls faced is the second most of his career. #IndvAus

10.41am BST

39th over: Australia 109-6 (Wade 6, Cummins 3)

Ashwin inviting Cummins to drive outside his off stump for three deliveries before switching around the wicket to test his pads. Australia’s spearhead is up to the task, playing with a straight bat to work a single to long on and keep India at bay.

10.39am BST

38th over: Australia 108-6 (Wade 6, Cummins 2)

Wade getting forward and across to Jadeja, smothering any turn and bounce that might be on offer. The bowler responds with a variety of speeds and trajectories to keep the batsman guessing as much as possible. Wade uses his quick hands to adjust smartly. Another maiden.

10.37am BST

37th over: Australia 108-6 (Wade 6, Cummins 2)

Cummins appears to be losing patience, driving loosely at the first delivery of Ashwin’s over. A thick inside edge for two next delivery calms him down enough to see out the rest of the over without much fanfare.

10.34am BST

36th over: Australia 106-6 (Wade 6, Cummins 0)

Wade’s trying his best to rotate the strike but he can’t nurdle Jadeja wide enough of a fielder to complete the single. The last run was 23 balls ago as another rapid maiden comes and goes in the blink of an eye.

10.33am BST

35th over: Australia 106-6 (Wade 6, Cummins 0)

Ashwin throwing them up to Cummins, waiting for the pitch to do the rest. The surface is not as dangerous to the right hander though and the handy lower order batsman props forward and nudges six regulation deliveries away.

10.30am BST

34th over: Australia 106-6 (Wade 6, Cummins 0)

Jadeja cranks out a maiden to Wade, who, it’s fair to say is receiving his fair share of polite encouragement from the close-in fielders.

10.28am BST

33rd over: Australia 106-6 (Wade 6, Cummins 0)

Australia’s lead just 74 as the first of the bowlers comes out to bat.

The thing I like most about Jadeja, and there is so much to like, is there is no correlation between him appealing and someone being out

10.26am BST

Maxwell has fallen. He’s looked assured all innings but his attempt to pad up to Ashwin has proven his undoing. The ball spun more than he expected, failed to get outside the line enough to convince Ian Gould he deserved the benefit of the doubt for not playing a shot and the finger goes up. He reviews but DRS reveals ‘umpire’s call’ orange on impact and ball tracking. A timid end to a positive innings.

10.23am BST

32nd over: Australia 104-5 (Maxwell 43, Wade 6)

Wade looks much happier against Jadeja, moving his feet freely, surer of the bounce. Until the final delivery of the over that is that pins him on his crease and has the bowler celebrappealing like a Zoolander extra l in a wraparound shades commercial. Erasmus keeps his finger down. Saved – just – by being on the umpire’s call of the line of off stump.

10.19am BST

31st over: Australia 103-5 (Maxwell 42, Wade 6)

Ashwin to Wade is a contest that strongly favours the bowler at the moment. The batsman is surviving like a mole popping its head above the whacking line with his eyes screwed tightly shut and his shoulders hunched.

10.17am BST

30th over: Australia 99-5 (Maxwell 42, Wade 2)

Maxwell sweeps Jadeja for four. Jadeja bowling around the wicket, Maxwell batting in a baggy green with the proud jaw and sunken cheekbones of a matinee idol.

10.13am BST

29th over: Australia 95-5 (Maxwell 38, Wade 2)

Ashwin coming around the wicket to Wade and he’s found his crack, just outside the left-hander’s off stump on a decent length. He hits it early and rips one past the edge, and from thereon it’s a lottery for the batsman. Some jag, others don’t, somehow Wade escapes.

10.11am BST

28th over: Australia 95-5 (Maxwell 38, Wade 2)

It seems like Umpire’s Call decisions annoy a lot of people, I’m not one of them. DRS was introduced to address the howler. There has to be a legitimate margin for error to retain the on-field umpire’s authority. If teams try to game the system and fail, so be it, it’s their choice to review.

10.08am BST

27th over: Australia 93-5 (Maxwell 37, Wade 1)

REVIEW to the first delivery of Ashwin’s over to Wade. From around the wicket the one that Ashwin flicks from his fingers beats Wade’s inside edge, crashes into the flap of his pad and India appeal. Umpire Erasmus is unmoved but Rahane reviews. Height will be the decisive factor – and DRS indicates Umpire’s Call – Wade survives.

10.03am BST

26th over: Australia 93-5 (Maxwell 37, Wade 1)

So, the series-defining session begins with Jadeja completing the over interrupted by the Tea interval following Shaun Marsh’s dismissal. Matthew Wade negotiates it smartly and gets off the mark with a single.

Yo, 2001, I’m really happy for you, I’ma let you finish, but 2017 was one of the best series of all time. Of all time.

The first 4 eras of Aus cricket history:
1. The Golden Age
2. The Bradman era
3. The Border years
4. The Marsh experiment

9.54am BST

Just a reminder, Australia lead by 60 with five wickets remaining.

9.53am BST

Gervase Greene has emailed in some sage words.

“Can I just say (and I paraphrase Churchill with my nose pinched) that he who is tired of Maxwell is tired of cricket. I have a UK mate who plays bight-grade cricket who says everyone – yes, everyone – considers him the batting equivalent of Shane Warne. A slight overstatement, sure, but in fair weather or foul he is utterly compulsive, compulsory viewing.”

9.50am BST

So more poetry to accompany your tea drinking. This one from Phil Withall:

“I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the works of William McGonagall, the famed Scottish poet https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_McGonagall . His is often cited as the worst poet ever to have graced the art. I’ll hold my hand up and challenge him.”

The Lyon of Young, a goat in disguise, uses his guile to mesmerise.

With ball in his hand and pride in his heart.

9.49am BST

Thank you very much Russell.

This modern classic of a series continues to deliver. Like Hagler v Hearns both teams keep throwing punches only to wear a smack or two in return for their troubles.

9.45am BST

And that is the session. It started badly for Australia with the early dismissal of David Warner and got worse as the Indian bowlers dominated for all bar a half-century partnership between Peter Handscomb and Glenn Maxwell. Umesh Yadav (two wickets) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (the vital wicket of Steve Smith) did the damage early and now it’s the spinners coming into the fold. Australia lead by 60 and will hope to push that past 100 at the very least, but their chances of setting India an imposing chase are reducing by the minute. Taking you through the rest of it will be JP Howcroft, the lucky bleeder.

9.43am BST

Australia in disarray now! Shaun MArsh has been off the field all day with a bad back and now he’s out on the stroke of tea. He attempted to turn a rising off break around the corner but gloves it straight to the man at short leg. Umpires call tea and Glenn Maxwell looks miffed. He’s fast running out of partners.

9.41am BST

25th over: Australia 92-4 (Maxwell 37, Marsh 1)

The word out of the Australian sheds is that Shaun Marsh has a “jarred back”, and is far from his physical best, but he’s out there in the middle with a Test match on the line, and could make himself a hero for his country. Ashwin has three slips for the new man. I think he fancies a wicket here. Of note from earlier in the over: Pujara copped a nasty one in the shoulder while fielding at short leg when Maxwell swept powerfully. Much has been made of the spite in this series but the Australian was straight over to check on his opponent. Good stuff.

9.38am BST

Ashwin strikes! That is a gem of a delivery from the spinner, who gets one to jump up out of the rough and the outside edge from Handscomb is very well held by the Indian captain at first slip.

9.35am BST

24th over: Australia 86-3 (Handscomb 18, Maxwell 36)

More runs from the bowling of Jadeja, who doesn’t look any great threat until he keeps one lower than the bottom of Handscomb’s bat and almost castles him. The rest of Australia’s batsmen will be watching that with mild concern, but Nathan Lyon will have at least half a grin.

9.32am BST

23rd over: Australia 83-3 (Handscomb 18, Maxwell 33)

Rahane concurs with my ramblings, it appears, because Ravichandran Ashwin is on for his first spell of the innings. He’s got a slip and a short leg for Maxwell, so the latter skips down the track and looks to play to the off side, where he is relatively safe. It’s a promising over from Aswhin, featuring bounce, turn, and a few big puffs of dust.

9.28am BST

22nd over: Australia 82-3 (Handscomb 18, Maxwell 32)

With tea approaching, perhaps it is time for Ajinkya Rahane to give Ravichandran Ashwin a bowl. The Maxwell-Handscomb partnership is worth 51 from 76 deliveries once Handscomb essays a gorgeous cover drive to the fence off Kuldeep, and India’s captain would have to be concerned about this stand inflating further at its present rate.

9.25am BST

21st over: Australia 77-3 (Handscomb 14, Maxwell 31)

With half an hour to go in the second session, both Australian batsmen have now found their feet, but Ravindra Jadeja is extracting some sharp turn outside the off stump. Good for Australia: he’s actually spinning it too much to take a wicket unless Glenn Maxwell does something really funky. Four singles from the Jadeja over. You rarely see him milked like that.

9.22am BST

20th over: Australia 73-3 (Handscomb 12, Maxwell 29)

Two runs from the Kuldeep over, but more pertinently, an insight into the divine intervention that played a role in Steve Smith’s dismissal earlier:

Matty Hayden: “I’m a strong believer at the moment India has no idea how to get Steve Smith out”
Next bloody ball…

9.20am BST

19th over: Australia 71-3 (Handscomb 11, Maxwell 28)

As well as being a potent wicket-taking option, Ravindra Jadeja also sprints through his overs and rarely costs much in the way of scoreboard damage. In that light, Peter Handscomb gets lucky here when he loses control of an attempt to cut and the ball balloons away through the vacant gully region for four. Jadeja’s final delivery is even better: it goes the other way to pass between bat and pad, then sails a few inches over the top of the stumps. Too good. Australia lead by 39. Any target over 175 will be challenging, I reckon.

9.16am BST

18th over: Australia 67-3 (Handscomb 7, Maxwell 28)

Maxwell actually looks vulnerable to Kuldeep’s bosey, but in between times he continues to dominate the spinner. This over it’s another back foot stroke in the form of a cut, which Maxwell uses to expertly bypass point and pick himself up another boundary. Maxwell gets a little lucky from the penultimate delivery of the over, which is a straighter one he nearly pulls into the hands of Jadeja at a shortish mid-on. Another half a foot of carry and the Indian fielder would have snaffled that.

9.13am BST

17th over: Australia 63-3 (Handscomb 7, Maxwell 24)

Jadeja has a slip and a silly point for Handscomb but the Australian defends with utmost confidence, so there is not even a thought of bringing anyone else in close to the bat. Well, at least until the final delivery of the over, which bobs up off the shoulder of the bat and flies wide of the silly point. That is encouraging for Jadeja.

9.10am BST

16th over: Australia 63-3 (Handscomb 7, Maxwell 24)

Glenn Maxwell is going mad now. He drives Kuldeep for a boundary through cover and then, with his baggy green nestled jauntily, plants his front foot and hammers a towering six over long on. Welcome to Test cricket, Kuldeep. Earlier today I appealed for terrible poetry about Nathan Lyon and reader Adrian Holmes has delivered:

9.06am BST

15th over: Australia 52-3 (Handscomb 6, Maxwell 14)

Spin from both ends now as Ravindra Jadeja appears for his first overs of the innings. Peter Handscomb leaves one that is angling in towards his off stump, which seems unnecessarily risky, but we should probably trust his methods given the way he batted in the second innings in Ranchi. He drives a single from the final delivery to retain the strike.

9.03am BST

14th over: Australia 51-3 (Handscomb 5, Maxwell 14)

Kuldeep is on for a bowl now with his left-arm leg spin. He did Maxwell in with a gem of a wrongun in the first innings, so expect the Australian to be a little more circumspect this time around. An hour from tea Australia lead by 19 runs and the game hangs in the balance.

9.00am BST

13th over: Australia 50-3 (Handscomb 4, Maxwell 14)

Hooley dooley! Glenn Maxwell has just played one of the crispest, most ridiculous back foot drives you will ever see, especially given the stakes. Kumar is the bowler and he’s a little short on a fourth stump line. Maxwell is back and across quickly and lifts his left elbow high before running his bat through a textbook stroke for four. Two balls late he repeats the feat, though this time squarer through point. It might be time for a rest for Kumar, but both Maxwell strokes are just sublime. Perhaps now the doubters are starting to realise what the Australian is capable of; in this over his defence is equally convincing.

8.54am BST

12th over: Australia 42-3 (Handscomb 4, Maxwell 6)

After a brief break for drinks, Glenn Maxwell resumes with patient application before getting a lose one outside off stump from Umesh Yadav. The Victorian shuffles half a step towards the pitch of the ball and unfurls a confident drive to have it humming away past the rope at deep cover, then works an awkward one away from his ribs for a single to short mid-wicket. The drinks break will have helped him, but Umesh might be spent. He’s bowled a mighty spell so far, one that could prove match-turning.

8.47am BST

11th over: Australia 37-3 (Handscomb 4, Maxwell 1)

Maxwell gets off the mark by flicking Kumar to deep mid-wicket for a single. “By my count this is the third time in a row Renshaw has been dismissed after being pegged back the previous few balls and then staying back too much,” writes Kabir Sethi. Not a bad call. It’s quite easy from the sofa, mind you. Speaking of easy, Peter Handscomb has just played a wonderful late cut off Kumar to pick up four. That can’t be as simple as he makes it look.

8.42am BST

10th over: Australia 32-3 (Handscomb 0, Maxwell 0)

What a situation Glenn Maxwell confronts here: his team in dire straits, Umesh Yadav running rampant and the first delivery he faces cannoning into his shoulder as he tries to keep his bat away from it. “Test match cricket at its best,” says Sunil Gavaskar. It’s a cliche but it’s also true. Scores are now level but Australia have only seven wickets in hand. Not ideal.

8.38am BST

Now Renshaw goes! Good news: my TV is now working. Bad news: Australia are collapsing to a remarkable degree. Now it’s Matt Renshaw who goes, poking around at Umesh and sending another edge through to Wriddhiman Saha. A ball earlier he’d been roughed up with another bouncer, now he’s on his way. Oh dear.

8.34am BST

9th over: Australia 31-2 (Renshaw 8, Handscomb 0)

Now Australia have two first-time tourists at the crease in Matt Renshaw and the new man Peter Handscomb. With a big partnership they could make lifelong heroes of themselves, but their work is cut out for them. Right now Australia are staring down the barrel of a 7-10 wicket defeat, don’t you think?

8.32am BST

Steve Smith departs! That is disastrous for Australia! He’d just hit Kumar for consecutive boundaries but now he’s gone – bowled for 17! Australia still trail by one run and their batting ace is gone. It was a shortish ball outside the line of off stump and Smith shaped to pull it, but in playing that stroke he drags an inside edge onto his timber and loses his off stump. He cannot believe it but one of the least threatening deliveries of a hostile opening bowling partnership has got him.

8.29am BST

8th over: Australia 23-1 (Renshaw 8, Smith 9)

Never before have I been so aware of the fragile miracle that is satellite sports coverage. I still can’t see anything, but trust that what is happening is good. Please Mr Mudoch, please give me my ball back sir. Maybe we can reverse the normal process, and I’ll have the readers describe the game to me. Here’s Rowan Sweeney: “Enjoying the OBO and some Indonesian Cuisine, but David “Bats in the Wrong Kind of Bubble” Warner drives me crazy. Does anyone bother coaching him? I want whoever came up with the “Play your natural game” rubbish flogged!” I want the CEO of Foxtel flogged, personally.

8.24am BST

7th over: Australia 18-1 (Renshaw 4, Smith 8)

I won’t lie, this isn’t an ideal time for the Australian broadcast of this game to cut out, but that is exactly the fate I’ve suffered in this over, so please bear with me. A good point from reader Scott Lowe as Kumar apparently produces a maiden over: “So why exactly did Warner play all four Tests, despite being useless outside Australia, and Khawaja did not play one?”

8.19am BST

6th over: Australia 18-1 (Renshaw 4, Smith 8)

I don’t want to overstate it until the threat has genuinely passed, but already there is a sense of calm in Australia’s innings due to the presence of Steve Smith. Also, no doubt, Umesh isn’t quite producing the barnstorming deliveries that had Warner hopping around. Smith tucks him around the corner for two, and there is something worth mentioning at this point: no Australian can complain about this pitch. It’s carrying like a mid-80s WACA strip.

8.16am BST

5th over: Australia 16-1 (Renshaw 4, Smith 6)

Kumar has three slips and a gully for Steve Smith, and India know they need to get the Australian skipper early. If not he’ll settle in for the rest of the day. Kumar is hanging them a good foot and a half outside off stump, which has been among India’s many unsuccessful strategies to Smith in this series. A fourth stump line, maybe, but not a sixth. Smith eventually gets one on his pads and turns it for a single with ease. Not much else about Australia’s start has been so straightforward.

8.11am BST

4th over: Australia 15-1 (Renshaw 4, Smith 5)

Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Steve Smith is a living legend at the moment, and only he would take the manic energy of this game and calmly turn his first delivery through backward square leg for a boundary. First ball. Incredible. I mean, it wasn’t Umesh’s best (on the pads, in Smith’s zone), but you still have to possess the wherewithal to put it away so ruthlessly without so much as a sighter. The last delivery of Umesh’s over crunches Renshaw on the shoulder as he loses track of it and ducks. Is anyone else a bit flushed and warm? I feel like it’s about 45 degrees and I’m sitting on a sofa 10,533km away from Dharamsala.

8.06am BST

Umesh gets Warner! It’s not the paceman’s best delivery, but Warner is perhaps a little spooked by what’s going on and pushes hard towards a ball decking away from him, feathering an edge through to Saha. Review? Not in your life. Warner knows he’s gone, and drops his head as begins the slow march back to the pavilion. India’s pacemen are on fire.

8.04am BST

3rd over: Australia 10-0 (Renshaw 4, Warner 6)

Get near a TV. This is spellbinding stuff. Did I say Umesh bowled the best bouncer of the series? Kumar has just topped it, fizzling down a nasty one to hit a startled Warner in the left shoulder. Ouch. That would have been painful. The Aussie didn’t have a clue, and the threat doesn’t pass. A ball later Warner edges thickly and Karun Nair dives to his left, dropping a very gettable chance at third slip but doing so in a way that almost brings Rahane into play at gully. The latter also dives to get the rebound, but can’t quite grasp it. How badly will that cost India? Sheesh. Warner gets a single in the process. This is brilliant cricket. Gripping.

7.58am BST

2nd over: Australia 9-0 (Renshaw 4, Warner 5)

Holy moly. If you were wondering what David Warn’er approach would be, he’s just slashed Umesh Yadav’s first delivery of the innings for a Sehwagesque boundary over gully. A metre or so more and it would have been six. Ridiculous. Warner follows that with a single, which seems smart. No need to drown in honey at this point. Umesh sends a snorter past the outside edge of Renshaw – a ball too good to get anybody out. The ball is carrying through to Wriddhiman Saha with such bounce and pace that his keeping technique is closer to the Matrix than the MCC coaching manual. Umesh bowls probably the best bouncer of the series, whistling the ball so narrowly past the coat of arms on Renshaw’s helmet you suspect the Emu might have suffered a heart attack. Great over.

7.53am BST

1st over: Australia 4-0 (Renshaw 4, Warner 0)

OK, we’re off in Australia’s second innings and it’s Matt Renshaw facing the first delivery of Australia’s second innings. Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowls it with three slips and a gully in place and Renshaw confidently defends it towards gully from high on his bat. Thereafter Kumar is getting nice carry and Renshaw gets lucky when he’s squared up, but with soft hands manages to angle the ball between third slip and gully to pick up four.

7.47am BST

We’re moments away from Australia’s second innings now

…with David Warner and Matt Renshaw about to trot out to the middle. In the meantime, James Pattinson is having a fair old day in Alice Springs. He’s just claimed the early breakthrough for the Bushrangers and South Australia are off to a disastrous start.

Woah! In the #ShieldFinal, Pattinson has sent Dalton’s off-stump flying. SA 1-0!

WATCH LIVE: https://t.co/aVItdenu5a

7.38am BST

Score update from the Sheffield Shield final

Victoria have been bowled out for 487 and need only a draw to claim the Shield. In addition to Travis Dean’s 94, the 120 Marcus Harris made on day one and Rob Quiney’s 48, James Pattinson stepped up with 80 and keeper Seb Gotch 52 in a very patient partnership. Victoria lost 4-3 to finish off, and Chadd Sayers took 7-84 from 34.2 overs, taking his season tally to 61. He’s a marvel.

Caught Carey, bowled Sayers and that’s it!

No. 7️⃣ for Chadd and Vic all out for 487. Great finish boys. #ShieldFinal

7.22am BST

What will we get from David Warner when Australia resume?

“Now it’s up to Davey Warne to knock off that lead and go from there,” says his former team-mate Brad Haddin, but how far beyond knocking off those 32 runs Warner goes is the real question. The Australian opener played his best knock of the series with 56 in the first innings. Yes, that is damning him with faint praise, I know. Will it be a cavalier 18 here, or will he knuckle down and prove all the doubters wrong? His record in India is poor but a game-winning innings here would wipe the slate clean.

Once again @NathLyon421 picks up 5 wickets for . Another 5 in the 2nd innings please Gary.

7.11am BST

We’ll take a break now, but it was another absorbing session of cricket. Ravindra Jadeja threatened to take the game out of Australia’s grasp, but his dismissal for 63 sparked a collapse of 4-15 as India’s tail stopped wagging. Wriddhiman Saha made a patient 31 from 102 deliveries but there was nothing much else to write home about. Pat Cummins finished with 3-94 from 30 overs of high quality fast bowling, while Nathan Lyon bagged 5-92 from 34.1 overs and deserved nothing less. More in a bit.

7.09am BST

Lyon gets the final wicket! And that is yet another five-for for him. Kuldeep goes for a slog sweep but holes out to Hazlewood in the deep, meaning that India are all out for 332, a 32-run lead on the first innings. Lyon has his ninth five-wicket haul and we’re off for lunch after all.

7.07am BST

118th over: India 332-9 (Kuldeep 7, Umesh 2)

Kuldeep looks genuinely good, in actual fact. Maybe he can do some damage in this little pre-lunch session, but Umesh will need to stick around for him, which is no certainty. It being Monday, Matthew Wade is straight into the latter, reminding him of his shortcomings as a batsman.

7.05am BST

117th over: India 331-9 (Kuldeep 6, Umesh 2)

Hmm, we’re staying out there then? Umesh had no idea for the better part of what should have been the last over before lunch, shoving his bat in the path of the ball but rarely find luck in the way of making contact. But the umpires decide we’ll wait until the final wicket is taken before going off. We’ll have an extra half-hour.

6.59am BST

116th over: India 329-9 (Kuldeep 5, Umesh 1)

Boomshakala! Kuldeep gets down on one knee to O’Keefe’s first delivery and sweeps confidently to pick up four handy runs. That was a batsman’s shot. Where he’s not so smart is in letting O’Keefe rush him to face up, and with 59 seconds remaining in the session as over is called, we will indeed have another from Cummins. Buckle in.

6.57am BST

115th over: India 325-9 (Kuldeep 1, Umesh 1)

The Yadavs are both at the crease now, so I’ll go with Kuldeep and Umesh if that’s OK. The latter faces the music first up and works a single off his hip, trotting down the other end very slowly to ensure he’s off strike to the fire-breathing paceman. It’s been yet another superb spell of hostile fast bowling from Cummins. Now he even beats Matthew Wade when he whangs down a quite ridiculous bouncer to concede four wides. Personally I like it, but in a tight match his captain mightn’t. Cummins has 3-92 from 29 overs and India lead by 25 runs. With four minutes left before lunch, expect Steve O’Keefe to sprint through his next over and make sure Cummins has the last say.

6.52am BST

Cummins gets another! Oof, that was a brute of a ball too. He hammers in a nasty bouncer and in the act of protecting his face, Saha gloves it skyward and towards the cordon, where Steve Smith moves around to take another catch. This is all a bit chaotic from India. They were bossing the morning 15 minutes ago. Now they might be all out before lunch.

6.50am BST

114th over: India 318-8 (Saha 31, Yadav 0)

Debutant Kuldeep Yadav is the new man at the crease and keeps out the final delivery of the O’Keefe over. India did so well for 85% of this session but it’s falling away badly now.

6.49am BST

Steve O’Keefe strikes in his first over of the day! Well that is a decent strike rate. It’s Kumar who goes, driving lavishly when he should be having a good look. The thick edge flies to the right of Steve Smith at first slip and he dives in the direction well to take a very smart catch. There was an amusing moment a delivery earlier when Matthew Wade greeted O’Keefe’s wares with this assessment: “Nice stock bowling!” He’s even sledging his own team-mates now.

6.44am BST

113th over: India 317-7 (Saha 30, Kumar 0)

Bhuvneshwar Kumar is the new batsman at the crease for India and he’s no mug, averaging 22.63 in Tests and boasting a first-class century. He’s got a decent task ahead of him. If he can hang around for an hour with Saha, India could take this game away for Australia. If he nicks off early, who knows? Cummins has a decent head of steam up in this over but Kumar defends stoutly.

6.41am BST

Cummins strikes! And it’s the danger man who goes as Jadeja gets forward with another attacking stroke but chops it onto his stumps to give the paceman a well-earned breakthrough. Finally! Thus ends an enterprising stand of 96 between Jadeja and Saha, who have India 17 runs ahead in the first innings. Game on.

6.38am BST

112th over: India 317-6 (Jadeja 63, Saha 30)

Saha and Jadeja have added 94 runs in this stand as another Maxwell over begins. It’s a tight one, which is about the best Australia can hope for at the moment. As all that is happening, Daniel McDonald has kindly stopped by with some more cricket-themed Oscar nominations, as per below:

6.35am BST

111th over: India 315-6 (Jadeja 62, Saha 29)

Crack! Jadeja gets hit in the helmet now, though it’s not quite as nasty as that sounds. He gets a short one from the returning Pat Cummins and shapes to hook it, but it deflects from his forearm into his helmet grille. Matthew Wade might be available for immediate comment, but he’s too far away from the stump microphone.

6.30am BST

110th over: India 305-6 (Jadeja 52, Saha 29)

Matthew Wade is very unhappy about Jadeja’s half-century celebration, and demands that the batsman explain it to him. All that distracts from another exotic sight: Glenn Maxwell is on for a bowl! Sad times when you have to bury a lede like that. Nothing in the over can quite match the sword. I’m afraid the day might have peaked.

If India win this series Saha or Jadeja is player of series. If Australia win, Smith no contest – still might get it with a loss #INDvAUS

6.27am BST

109th over: India 302-6 (Jadeja 50, Saha 28)

The singles continue to accrue off the bowling of Lyon, and replays of that LBW review are no kinder on the Australians. For one thing, the inside edge sound was very loud. I guess they’re contending with crowd noises too when they’re out in the middle, but it was an absolute doozy. As is a misfield from David Warner in this over, which hands India the lead and gets the home fans up on their feet.

6.22am BST

108th over: India 297-6 (Jadeja 46, Saha 27)

Even the normally miserly Josh Hazlewood is being worked around for singles now. Mahendra Killedar arrives now via email with a question. “So at what point does this partnership officially migrate from ‘irritating’ territory to ‘annoying’ territory for the Aussies?” I reckon we’re about 15 minutes into annoying territroy, Mahendra. Josh Halzewood is bothering to sledge Wriddhiman Saha, so all is not well.

6.17am BST

107th over: India 295-6 (Jadeja 45, Saha 26)

Nathan Lyon was all over the home side yesterday, but the momentum has swung against him now, and Steve Smith might even consider a change soon. Saha works a single to leg and Jadeja does so too. It’s all a bit too easy for the Indian pair. Time for some Steve O’Keefe I reckon. Or another burst of Cummins.

6.14am BST

106th over: India 291-6 (Jadeja 43, Saha 24)

Hazlewood is down to a single slip now because Steve Smith is becoming concerned by the number of easy runs the Australians are bleeding. India could have been seven down with their tail exposed at the start of the day. Now they’re on the verge of passing Australia’s first innings total. Apparently Wade earlier told Gunner Gould to watch out for Jadeja’s sword as he approaches 50. Not exactly Dave Chappelle’s first HBO special, but the internet seems to believe that it was funny.

Again, annoying lower order runs.
Jadeja vu.#INDvAUS

6.09am BST

105th over: India 290-6 (Jadeja 42, Saha 24)

Nathan Lyon has a slip and a silly point as he bowls to Jadeja, but he hasn’t really looked like taking a wicket so far because Jadeja and Saha are really warming to their task. Jadeja moves into the 40s by sweating on some width from Lyon and opening the face glide him to the fence at third man. This is quite a reversal of fortunes for the batsman; he was given out LBW to Pat Cummins from the first delivery of the day, but a review saved his skin and he’s making the most of it.

6.02am BST

104th over: India 285-6 (Jadeja 37, Saha 24)

Australia are getting a little desperate for a wicket now, so the broadcasters cruelly hark back to Matt Renshaw’s dropped catch from late last night. As Matthew Hayden points out, it was as much Matthew Wade’s fault for standing too close and drawing the cordon in with him than the man who actually dropped it. Live, Hazlewood keeps loping in and hammering the ball down into the deck, from which he is extracting decent pace and bounce. The cordon are much deeper than yesterday but so far they haven’t had an edge to deal with.

5.58am BST

103rd over: India 285-6 (Jadeja 37, Saha 24)

Moments before Nathan Lyon works his way in for the first delivery of the over, there is a real verbal skirmish between Australian keeper Matthew Wade and both batsmen, forcing Ian Gould to step in and tell Wade to pipe down. He doesn’t, of course. Only a pair of Josh Hazlewood’s socks would do the job there. Wade is like a drill sergeant taunting new recruits. Amazing what a half-century does for a man’s confidence. Jadeja keeps his concentration well enough to see off the rest of the over.

5.53am BST

102nd over: India 284-6 (Jadeja 37, Saha 23)

Josh Hazlewood is back on to replace Pat Cummins and has another very enthusiastic shout from his first delivery, but the ball pitches well outside leg before rapping Ravindra Jadeja on the front pad. No dice. Soon after Jadeja slaps a late cut to deposit a rare Hazlewood half-tracker to the fence. The frustration continues for Australia a ball later when Hazlewood cuts the batsman in half. How did that miss the stumps?

5.49am BST

101st over: India 280-6 (Jadeja 33, Saha 23)

Peter Handscomb does some very smart work diving to his right to snare a close-in chance, but there is no prolonged appeal from the Australians because it’s flown off the thigh pad without contact from the bat. Handscomb has really added a new dimension to Australia’s fielding in there at short leg. Add in Glenn Maxwell’s ground fielding and throwing and the tourists have lifted from quite dreary and pedestrian in the field to something above adequate. Surprising: this is now the second-highest partnership of the innings.

5.44am BST

100th over: India 279-6 (Jadeja 32, Saha 23)

Wriddhiman Saha has three Test centuries this year and when he glides Cummins down to third man at the start of the over he also passes 1,000 Test runs and brings up the 50-run partnership with Jadeja. Soon after Jadeja gets three with a wristy drive through cover, and suddenly runs are a lot easier to come by for the Indian pair. Saha opens the face to the final delivery and gets a streaky four, though a deliberate one. Steve Smith has a bit of a headache here. This partnership is really blossoming on day three.

5.40am BST

99th over: India 269-6 (Jadeja 29, Saha 16)

“Change of bowler. Right arm over,” says Gunner Gould, signalling the return of Nathan Lyon with some spin. A full toss first up allows Saha to pat a single down to long leg, then Jadeja drives to deep extra cover for the same result. Both of them are comfortable against spin, though Ravi Jadeja’s stats have always told us this isn’t quite so. After a few sighters Jadeja frees his arms and spanks Lyon over long-on for a big six. Bang!

5.35am BST

98th over: India 260-6 (Jadeja 22, Saha 14)

Another LBW shout from Cummins, but Marais Erasmus shakes his head. It wasn’t the worst shout, but Australia have no reviews left. A little peeved, Cummins whistles a brute of a bouncer past Jadeja’s elbow but again the Indian swivels out of the way beautifully. Sunny Gavaskar is so happy with that leave he almost dies from the sheer ecstasy of it all. In among all that frothing, Cummins is putting in a helluva shift of fast bowling. Health permitting, he could be the answer to Australia’s wishes for a Ryan Harris replacement; both strike bowler and master of containment.

5.30am BST

97th over: India 260-6 (Jadeja 22, Saha 14)

Hazlewood goes after Jadeja’s rib cage now but the Indian all-rounder shuffles back and swivels, both judging and executing his leave perfectly to get body and bat out of the path of the ball. He’s even smarter a delivery later when he opens the face of the bat for what looks like a single, but hares back for a well-read second run. Glenn Maxwell is thus forced to throw to the bowler’s end, and there is no chance of a run-out there. Hazlewood has a forlorn LBW shout to end the over, but it was surely sailing well past leg. The ump is having none of it. Leg bye.

5.25am BST

96th over: India 257-6 (Jadeja 20, Saha 14)

Pat Cummins has been very sharp so far this morning. Saha picks up two runs by guiding the paceman through point, but a ball later he’s beaten all ends up and almost feathers an edge behind to Matthew Wade. At the risk of annoying people who don’t like hearing about commentary, I think even they will appreciate this gem from Sanjay Manjrekar: the former Indian batsman takes one look into the distance at the snow-topped cedar forests at the edge of the Himalayas – which provide such a stunning backdrop to cricket matches in Dharamsala – and says: “What a great movie it was, Cliffhanger.”

5.20am BST

95th over: India 255-6 (Jadeja 20, Saha 12)

Hazlewood’s been right on the button, as per usual, but he strays onto Saha’s pads to concede a leg bye with his fourth delivery. Otherwise you can set your watch to his line and length. Or maybe your measuring tape. Anyway, you know what I mean. Jadeja finishes the over by cracking another straight drive but being a little bit closer to mid-on, David Warner is able to scramble across, dive and pull off the stop.

5.15am BST

94th over: India 254-6 (Jadeja 20, Saha 12)

It mightn’t be the last laugh, but Jadeja gets back on track against Cummins when he cracks the paceman straight down the wicket and inches past the stumps at the non-striker’s end to pick up four. “As a pace bowler that is the biggest insult you can be given,” says Sunil Gavaskar, insult expert. I’m not sold on that. He over-pitched and got put away. Nothing more, nothing less. What Jadeja has done in this over is reacquaint himself with the concept of the leave. Not a bad idea.

5.10am BST

93rd over: India 250-6 (Jadeja 16, Saha 12)

Wriddhiman Saha enjoys a far more convincing start than his partner, letting go a sighter from Hazlewood and then confidently driving to deep cover for two runs. Otherwise Hazlewood is digging it in short and forcing Saha to duck and weave, but there is no hint he’ll fend one to the cordon, which is currently two slips and a gully.

5.06am BST

92nd over: India 248-6 (Jadeja 16, Saha 10)

The noise – and there definitely was one – was Jadeja’s bat clipping his pad as he attempted a loose drive. A few balls later Cummins has another throaty shout. LBW is the hope this time, but it pitched well outside the line of leg stump. Still…Jadeja is groping about like a rookie in the early stages. He takes another rusty swing at the fourth delivery, but misses by a mile. The Australian slips cordon coos as one, then Cummins cuts the Indian batsman in half with his next. What an over that was. It wasn’t until the final delivery that Jadeja finally got bat on one.

Jadeja’s version of the leave is easily my favourite. #INDvAUS

5.02am BST

Erasmus has botched this one. Easy mistake to make first up. A lot of air between bat and ball. As you were.

5.01am BST

The Indian has barely had time to wipe the sleep from his eyes and he’s already been given out! He reviews it, but Pat Cummins is very happy with himself.

4.59am BST

We’re a few minutes from play now…and before anybody angrily writes in, yes I understand that Lyon and Ashwin have the same wicket tallies in this series, but I still think Lyon has bowled better. He’s taken his at at seven runs less per wicket than Ashwin, for one thing. Anyway, let’s do this.

4.55am BST

Meanwhile, in New Zealand..

Kane Williamson has levelled the late, great Martin Crowe for Test centuries. But I bet he can’t rock a Reebok headband and wide-brimmed beige hat quite like the latter.

Most Test hundreds for NZ

Martin Crowe – 17
Kane Williamson – 17
Ross Taylor – 16
B McCullum – 12
J Wright – 12#NZvSA

4.46am BST

Che Pujara’s ridiculous form…has stretched to 1,316 runs in 13 Tests this season. They’ve come at an average of 65.8, and taken in four centuries and eight 50s. He’s stopped by now for an interview now and rues the dismissal of KL Rahul late yesterday, which sparked India’s mini collapse. “It was a shame he got out after tea, otherwise things could be different for us,” Pujara says. “Nathan Lyon bowled well yesterday, but we still should have negotiated it…There was one session where we didn’t bat well.” You can say that again.

4.39am BST

The local sights

I’m a hack with a camera, but this gives you a small taste of Dharamshala – the extraordinary town which will decide the series. #AUSvIND pic.twitter.com/5JosUpy1PU

4.37am BST

Preamble

Hello all and welcome to day three of the fourth Test in Dharamsala, which promises to be a match-turning one. If so, it could prove series-deciding. As you well know, THIS. IS. IT. The decider. “This is a huuuuge day,” says Allan Border on the TV now. He’s said that every day of the series, to be honest, but he hasn’t been wrong by doing so. Each of these four Tests has been played at fever pitch. The pressure has been relentless, each twist and turn a doozy. Australia are now in with a shot of pulling off a remarkable Border-Gavaskar Trophy win. Nobody expected them to get close in this series. I certainly didn’t. I thought it would be a 4-0 sweep for the home side. So stick around, but also…don’t listen to me.

2.59am BST

Russell will be here shortly, giving you just enough time to read how Nathan Lyon spun a web to trap the Indians in Dharamsala yesterday.

Related: Fourth Test: Lyon bags four wickets for Australia as India stagger in reply

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/mar/27/india-v-australia-fourth-test-day-three-live

Mar 22

Virat Kohli falls down ICC batting rankings with Steve Smith still top

  • Kohli no longer top-ranked Indian as Cheteshwar Pujara passes him
  • Australia captain Smith remains world’s best batsman according to ICC

Captain Virat Kohli is no longer the most important wicket in India’s Test side, at least according to the International Cricket Council’s rankings.

Kohli has slipped below team-mate Cheteshwar Pujara in the latest table released by the ICC. Australia skipper Steve Smith remains the top-ranked batsman in the world with 941 rating points out of a possible 1000.

Related: Handscomb and Marsh guide Australia to draw and keep India series alive

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/mar/22/virat-kohli-falls-down-icc-batting-rankings-with-steve-smith-still-top

Mar 20

Handscomb and Marsh guide Australia to draw and keep India series alive

  • Australia 451 & 204-6; India 603-9 dec | Australia secure draw in Ranchi
  • Peter Handscomb and Shaun Marsh’s half-centuries save the game

Defying lowly expectations derived from modern history in this part of the world, Australian batsmen Shaun Marsh and Peter Handscomb skilfully navigated their side to the safety of a crucial draw with India on the final day at Ranchi, maintaining the series ledger at one apiece.

The reward for Steve Smith’s gallant tourists is a blockbuster, winner-takes-all series decider in Dharamshala from Saturday. Common wisdom is that Tests in India speed up at their conclusion, and that if you find yourself batting on the final day, well, best of luck. When Australia lost two late wickets on the penultimate evening – including opener David Warner – the final script threatened to read that way.

Related: Australia keep Border-Gavaskar series alive in Ranchi – as it happened

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/mar/20/handscomb-and-marsh-guide-australia-to-draw-and-keep-india-series-alive

Mar 20

Australia keep Border-Gavaskar series alive in Ranchi – as it happened

  • Australia (240-6) bat out entire final day to secure third Test draw
  • Peter Handscomb and Shaun Marsh keep Border-Gavaskar series alive

11.27am GMT

And one final thing: here’s the match report from Adam Collins in Ranchi.

Related: Handscomb and Marsh guide Australia to draw and keep India series alive

11.07am GMT

It all started for Australia on day one with Matthew Renshaw and David Warner. Another 50 partnership. Then Steve Smith, batting forever and ever. Then Glenn Maxwell, the good news story, grinding out an atypical ton and reaching that milestone for the first time in Tests. The second Australian to do it in all three international formats. Smith’s 19th ton, 361 balls, unbeaten.

Then India. Runs from everywhere, bar their captain. Doing it without him, unworried. Grinding Australia into the dirt. Rahul and Vijay opening with fifties, then Pujara’s long-haul double hundred, and Saha’s down-the-order century addition. O’Keefe bowled 77 goddamn overs in the one innings. Maxwell bowled four. You do the maths.

10.58am GMT

What a performance from Australia. No touring side has batted out a fifth day draw in India since 2010/11, I’m reliably informed, but this sometimes fragile batting team has done it here. At four wickets down before lunch, with Smith and Renshaw done within four balls of one another, surely that must have been game over? But no. The erratic Shaun Marsh and the new boy Peter Handscomb batted through 62.1 overs to run down the clock, soak up the balls, and push Australia into the lead. Not a big one, but enough that India wouldn’t be able to chase it down. And even when Marsh fell, and Maxwell went quickly, there was not enough time left for India to force the result.

10.57am GMT

100th over: Australia 204-6 (Handscomb 72, Wade 9)

Wide by Jadeja, and Handscomb punches another four. Takes his score into the 70s. They face out the over, then finally Kohli signals for the draw. The batsmen accept, and Australia have escaped.

10.54am GMT

99th over: Australia 200-6 (Handscomb 68, Wade 9)

Smith lurks on the balcony. I don’t know why. Kohli is concentrating on the field. Ashwin is bowling. Wade is driving him through cover for four. The 200 is up. Starting to grasp the significance of this Australian performance, from where it began before lunch on this final day.

10.51am GMT

98th over: Australia 196-6 (Handscomb 68, Wade 5)

Handscomb is remaining oh-so-sensible and mature in the circumstances. No silly shots. Just another defensive over. Another Jadeja maiden. Apparently if Australia declared now India would need 44 from 2 overs. Or something.

10.46am GMT

97th over: Australia 196-6 (Handscomb 68, Wade 5)

Kohli has given up. I speculate. Watching him out there, his shoulders have finally slumped. Ashwin bowls on the pads and Wade punches four through midwicket. The lead is 44. Meaning that even if India ran through four more wickets in an over, they’d only have a couple of overs left to chase those runs.

10.44am GMT

96th over: Australia 192-6 (Handscomb 68, Wade 1)

Jadeja working away. Two singles, no real danger. “Let’s hope some of the England players are watching Handscomb and Marsh bat, eh?” emails Kevin Wilson. That seems like a turning of the tables, looking to Australians for tips on batting out a draw.

10.41am GMT

95th over: Australia 190-6 (Handscomb 67, Wade 0)

Wade in to weigh in. Defends two. Wicket maiden for Ashwin. His first from 28 overs.

10.39am GMT

Not that comfortable, ok then. Ashwin fires one in, Maxwell si trying to defend but goes with hard hands, gets an inside edge into his pad, it skips up to Vijay in close on the off side. Australia 38 in front with seven overs to play.

10.37am GMT

94th over: Australia 190-5 (Handscomb 67, Maxwell 2)

Jadeja. Handscomb edges into his pad. Then puches a single. Maxwell works another, he’s comfortable enough so far.

10.33am GMT

93rd over: Australia 188-5 (Handscomb 66, Maxwell 1)

Another appeal as Ashwin bowls, but Maxwell has been hit outside the line. Sees out the over competently enough, using his feet. He’s in the baggy green now, classic stuff.

10.30am GMT

92nd over: Australia 188-5 (Handscomb 66, Maxwell 1)

Maxwellball. It’s that time. An appeal against Maxwell first ball as the contact may have been pad first. India’s players think about it but don’t review. Tension. He flicks a single to end the over.

10.28am GMT

Finally, India break a 124-run partnership that has saved a match for Australia. Floated down, Marsh plays yet another forward defence, edges to short leg and Vijay snaps it up. Australia 35 ahead with five in hand and 10 overs after this.

10.26am GMT

91st over: Australia 187-4 (Marsh 53, Handscomb 66)

That’s more like it! Spanked through square leg by Handscomb, as Sharma drops short and the in-touch batsman gets every bit of it, airborne but safe. Clunked.

10.21am GMT

90th over: Australia 183-4 (Marsh 53, Handscomb 62)

Another quick over from Jadeja, just the single from a Handscomb straight drive. That’s not going to get you to a hundred, feller.

10.16am GMT

89th over: Australia 182-4 (Marsh 53, Handscomb 61)

Finally, some pace. With an eight-over-old ball. Ishant Sharma hasn’t bowled for so long that he trips over his front leg and commando-rolls down the pitch in his follow-through. The Australians know this style of bowling better though. A Marsh glide to third man, a Handscomb flick to turn a dangerous full ball on the pads into a single to fine leg. With 13 overs left, should Handscomb hit out and go for a ton? Australia only 30 ahead. Risk-reward.

10.11am GMT

88th over: Australia 180-4 (Marsh 52, Handscomb 60)

Jadeja keeps wheeling away. Left-arm round the wicket to the right-handed Handscomb. Defending, then driving hard through cover. but there’s a man back there, no run. Nearly nicks the final ball as it spins away. But this isn’t India’s day. It ends up as another maiden. I’ll revise my 11 overs, this is actually the first of the last 15 overs required in the last hour. Should Australia declare and set India 60 from four overs? It would be pointless but fun. Like most limited-overs cricket.

10.07am GMT

87th over: Australia 180-4 (Marsh 52, Handscomb 60)

That warms the heart. Shaun Marsh gets a round of applause from Virat Kohli. Gets an equally unexpected round from various members of the Australian public. He’s done a job this series, first in Bengaluru and again here. Another long and determined innings. Raises the fifty with a straight drive after skipping down at Ashwin, finally choosing his preferred ball after seeing so many of them. 11 overs left at drinks, the last hour called by Gaffer Gaffaney, and Australia 28 runs to the good.

10.02am GMT

86th over: Australia 175-4 (Marsh 48, Handscomb 59)

Jadeja, another maiden. Gets one to bounce and rip and beat the outside edge of Marsh’s bat. But that’s it. For the last two sessions India’s bowlers have been all threat, no execution. Which is how you want your relationship with the Mafia to be.

9.59am GMT

85th over: Australia 174-4 (Marsh 48, Handscomb 58)

Another one-run over from Ashwin. 13 remaining. No sign of India’s quicks.

9.58am GMT

84th over: Australia 173-4 (Marsh 48, Handscomb 57)

“Gidday Geoff,” writes Roman from Thailand. “Following your posts on the Guardian website. Sounds like gripping & thrilling Test match cricket from two of cricket’s most combative & proud cricketing nations. Great to see! Should be an enthralling end to this Test.”

9.53am GMT

83rd over: Australia 172-4 (Marsh 48, Handscomb 56)

Ashwin round the wicket, bowling flat and full at the left-handed Marsh. Gets through him, strikes him on the pad. India go for another wasted review. They love this stuff. Clearly that was going down leg. Gould the umpire again. Somehow, HawkEye is claiming that was clipping leg stump, when it looked like it would go six inches wide. But clipping is not enough to overturn the umpire’s correct call. Another maiden, but that’s just fine for Australia. Their lead is only 20, but they have only 15 overs to survive.

9.50am GMT

82nd over: Australia 172-4 (Marsh 48, Handscomb 56)

Marsh drives a single first ball, Jadeja into the covers. Handscomb isn’t exactly defending the rest, he nails one on the off side and one on the leg, but straight to the field.

9.47am GMT

81st over: Australia 171-4 (Marsh 47, Handscomb 56)

Except it won’t be India’s quicks with the new ball. It will be Ashwin at first. Inside edge from Marsh immediately. A couple of defensive strokes. Drives a quick single wide of mid on. Handscomb is struck from the last ball, almost in the stomach as he lunged forward in a crouching defensive position. Umpire Gould isn’t interested. Handscomb eschews the helmet at the end of the over for the baggy cap.

9.43am GMT

80th over: Australia 170-4 (Marsh 46, Handscomb 56)

Jadeja bowls the 80th. A maiden to Handscomb. A new ball will be available now, if India’s quicks want to use it. That might just help the Australians score more quickly though. The lead is up to 18. More importantly perhaps, the 80th over sees India get their reviews back. Get ready to burn, baby, burn.

9.40am GMT

79th over: Australia 170-4 (Marsh 46, Handscomb 56)

Ashwin. Marsh. Maiden.

9.40am GMT

78th over: Australia 170-4 (Marsh 46, Handscomb 56)

Handscomb finally living up to his billing as a good player of spin. He’s looked very comfortable out here today, and never more so than against a rare short ball from Jadeja. Crash. Cut shot. Four.

9.36am GMT

77th over: Australia 166-4 (Marsh 46, Handscomb 52)

Outlive. Outlast. Outmarsh. That is the Marsh motto, and he soaks up a Ravi Ashwin over like a washcloth on a kitchen spill.

9.34am GMT

76th over: Australia 166-4 (Marsh 46, Handscomb 52)

Marsh versus Jadeja. Defends, defends, defends. Gets a run when one ball keeps low and is edged on the bounce behind point. Fielded in the deep. Handscomb comes on strike, and gets a ball a bit like the Smith one. Except that Handscomb gets enough pad in the way. Jadeja appeals madly. But he’s bowling over the wicket, so he’s appealing madly for a ball that has pitched well outside leg. As he’s been appealing madly all day. It’s… kind of embarrassing. I don’t necessarily agree with the lbw law the way it’s written, but there’s no value in ignoring it completely.

9.30am GMT

75th over: Australia 165-4 (Marsh 45, Handscomb 52)

Yadav continues. There’s that scent of desperation just starting to creep in. It’s like burning hair, distinctive and cuts through everything else. You never have to ask if it is what you think it is. He’s hammering the stumps, bowling yorkers to Handscomb, but the batsman is playing these ripping deliveries well, and when Yadav slips a bit too far towards leg stump, Handscomb works him through fine leg for four for the milestone. Handscomb has had a brief sojourn from making half-centuries, but now he’s back.

9.25am GMT

74th over: Australia 159-4 (Marsh 45, Handscomb 46)

Marsh is finding his way off strike easily enough now, working Jadeja to leg again. Handscomb immediately swaps back with a push to cover. Two runs from the over make it an expensive one by Jadeja’s standards.

9.22am GMT

73rd over: Australia 157-4 (Marsh 44, Handscomb 45)

Four! And Australia surge ahead. Yadav bowls straight, Marsh flicks behind square. That’s one of his best strokes, and he’s been very good today. Times it well enough to beat a weary Ashwin running around from a finer fine leg position. Marsh flicks a single towards Ashwin, straighter.

9.18am GMT

72nd over: Australia 151-4 (Marsh 39, Handscomb 45)

Jadeja will just attack the stumps all day. He has 3 for 34 from 29 overs. Marsh scrambles a leg bye after one hits him on the thigh, Handscomb was sharp to the chance for a run, and scores are level. Whatever Australia scores now, India has to knock off. That’s the only score, so its’ another maiden for the bowler. His 15th from what is now 30 overs. Absurd.

9.14am GMT

71st over: Australia 151-4 (Marsh 39, Handscomb 45)

Yadav to Handscomb and that is out. Except it isn’t. Isn’t given, that is. A fast fullish ball that cuts in off the pitch, beats the inside edge of the defensive stroke, and nails Handscomb on the back pad in front of middle. That is out, live, every single minute of every day. But Umpire Gould doesn’t give it. Thinks that the height may have spared Handscomb. Hit just above the knee roll, but he was way back on his stumps and it was his back leg. Kohli reviews, as you should, and misses out by about a millimetre. DRS shows it as umpire’s call, even though most of the ball is hitting most of the top of middle stump. Bad call for mine. A couple of balls later, Yadav gets one to keep low, and Handscomb jams down for a single. How close these margins. Marsh works a single from the last. The 150 is up.

9.08am GMT

70th over: Australia 149-4 (Marsh 38, Handscomb 44)

Ashwin to start things off. Nearly has Marsh stumped second ball, but the batsman just shoves the toe back behind the line before Saha gets the bails off. Just a leaning defensive stroke that dragged the batsman forward. Marsh faces out a maiden. The pitch is beginning to puff up.

9.05am GMT

Let’s have a look at the options. Australia could bat India out of the match. Australia could lose 6 for 11 again and India could knock off a few token runs. Australia could be bowled out after an hour at 60 or 70 ahead and leave India a tricky chase. Australia could be bowled out after an hour and a half at 60 ahead and leave India to make a crash-bash attempt to win. Australia could send Maxwell out to make a hundred from nine overs and then run through 10 Indian wickets in the last 20. Some of these things are more likely than others. But everything is on the table. Some things more on the table than others.

8.45am GMT

Hello friends, hello foes, hello family. Hello fingers, hello toes, hello ramblings. What a tasty scenario ahead of us. Thanks Russell, Geoff here, let’s do some cricketing. Drop me a line via the email on the left of screen, or the top if you’re on a phone, or twitter at me via @GeoffLemonSport.

8.43am GMT

69th over: Australia 149-4 (Marsh 38, Handscomb 44)

And that is tea on day five. Australia’s Shaun Marsh and Peter Handscomb have survived the entire second session on a day-five pitch in India, which is a feat worthy of applause. The final over featured a flick to leg by Marsh, who trotted through for one, and Handscomb handled the rest with characteristic excellence, turning two runs to deep square leg and defending stoutly otherwise.

8.39am GMT

68th over: Australia 146-4 (Marsh 37, Handscomb 42)

Some minor drama here as Handscomb skips down the track and misses an attempted flick to leg. It hit him in line but would have spun past leg stump, and the home side knew it. There is plenty of noise and puffs of dust in the Ashwin over, but no breakthrough. A positive for India: he got through it quick enough for Jadeja to bowl one more.

8.36am GMT

67th over: Australia 145-4 (Marsh 36, Handscomb 42)

If Jadeja and Ashwin play their cards right here this could be the first of three overs before tea, though it’s a moot point anyway with the Australian pair handling things so well. My worry, for Australia: a break in the momentum they’ve built in this session favours India and India alone. Another maiden for Jadeja. He’s collected those at will today.

8.33am GMT

66th over: Australia 145-4 (Marsh 36, Handscomb 42)

With no offence to his dear Mum, Robert Lewis drops by now with a craptacular Ranchi anecdote in keeping with India’s bowling efforts in this session. “Just thought I’d drop by at this tense moment to tell you – apropos of nothing at all – that my Mum was born in Ranchi in 1923,” he writes. “She’s still going strong at 93. I visited the city in 1975, on my way back from Australia. I can remember almost nothing about it. Pretty dull place, really. Good bung lassi though.”

8.29am GMT

65th over: Australia 144-4 (Marsh 36, Handscomb 41)

Vis a vis Michael Clarke’s soft ball insights of earlier, India now request a harder one. Ian Gould tells them to turn it up, and well he might. He also says no to a Ravindra Jadeja LBW appeal against Marsh, which wouldn’t have hit Wriddhiman Saha in his protective box if he was doing a star jump. India are getting a bit desperate now. Australia trail by just eight runs.

8.26am GMT

64th over: Australia 143-4 (Marsh 36, Handscomb 40)

Ashwin continues, and the Australians have 15 minutes to see off the pre-Tea threat. So often in this series a wicket has fallen with the end of a session in sight. Both batsmen will be desperate to avoid that fate. Another thing: I can’t help but feel as though denying Ashwin any wickets today could be a symbolic blow for the likes of Handscomb when he and his younger cohorts return for other Indian trips. Right now they’re blunting India’s spin spearhead on his own decks. Australia don’t have a history of doing that.

8.23am GMT

63rd over: Australia 141-4 (Marsh 35, Handscomb 39)

Scrap everything I said before: Jadeja has merely changed ends, so Ashwin might have been a fill-in. Or he’ll keep bowling and Ishant is gone from the attack. Kohli might as well throw Wriddhiman Saha the ball, to be frank. Handscomb is defending with aplomb and ever-alert to runs. Jadeja was jumping around like John Lydon earlier, and bowling with venom. Now he’s just another trundler.

8.20am GMT

62nd over: Australia 139-4 (Marsh 35, Handscomb 37)

Interesting. Ashwin didn’t set the world on fire earlier but now he replaces Jadeja – India’s biggest threat. KL Rahul is the man in Virat Kohli’s crosshairs in this over. He fields a ball at deep mid-wicket and sends in a woeful through to Wriddhiman Saha. It sails straight over the keeper’s head and runs away for four overthrows. Not great.

8.17am GMT

61st over: Australia 134-4 (Marsh 35, Handscomb 32)

Like a faithful basset hound, Ishant’s long and longing face tell the tale of a bowler not being rewarded for his wholehearted efforts. He removed Matt Renshaw earlier in the day with a low skidder, but Handscomb does his Handscomb thing here and gets a single from the second delivery of the over. That forces the bowler to adjust for the left-handed Marsh. The Australian batsmen are settled, but the bowler is not. One thing Ishant does have going for him is reverse swing, and he bowls a gem of an in-swinger to Marsh, who is nevertheless solid in defending it. With 25 minutes left in this second session, Australia trail by 18 runs and the Marsh-Handscomb partnership is worth 71 from 31.5 overs.

8.10am GMT

60th over: Australia 133-4 (Marsh 35, Handscomb 31)

There is a little bit of a pattern developing here, and it works perfectly for Australia: Handscomb gets a single early in the over and Shaun Marsh absorbs the rest. He has two slightly hairy moments in this over, moving back and across to defend Jadeja and then getting a leading edge to a forward defence. Neither goes close to doing him in though, so wotevs, as the kids probably don’t even say anymore.

8.08am GMT

59th over: Australia 132-4 (Marsh 35, Handscomb 30)

Ashwin’s nightmare over a few minutes ago comes with repercussions; he’s banished from the attack and Ishant returns with some pace. With Marsh on strike the big quick has two slips and a short mid-wicket, and soon a short leg moves in too. None troubles Marsh too much, because he’s moving through this final day in determined silence, like Alain Delon’s ice-cold hitman Jef Costello in Le Samourai.

8.01am GMT

58th over: Australia 131-4 (Marsh 35, Handscomb 29)

There is a layer of comedy underlying this Australian effort, it has to be said. Remember a week ago when the travelling press was claiming skullduggery at their first sight of this pitch? How surreal it would be if Australia confidently bats out a final day spin onslaught in India. Maiden for Jadeja, though it’s not as pregnant with possibilities as his pre-lunch efforts.

7.58am GMT

57th over: Australia 131-4 (Marsh 35, Handscomb 29)

Ashwin errs too, offering up a full toss for Handscomb as the batsman advances down the wicket and batters the ball through mid-wicket for four. A few balls later Handscomb shuffles back and cuts hard through cover to get four more, then makes it three boundaries in the over with an imperious on-drive. Ashwin is bowling like a drain. Australia trail by only 21 now; only 40 minutes from tea they’re look increasingly capable of forcing a draw to keep themselves in the series. Let’s be honest: a winner-takes-all fourth Test is a dream scenario for all concerned.

7.55am GMT

56th over: Australia 117-4 (Marsh 34, Handscomb 16)

Marsh puts his foot down now, latching onto a rare bit of flight from Jadeja and driving square on the half-volley to claim a boundary from the spinner; they’ve been as rare as hen’s teeth today. I tell you what else is rare: Australians actually making things. A friend has just sent me a rather depressing video from inside the old R.M. Crockett cricket equipment factory in Melbourne’s west. It’s been converted into “warehouse-style” apartments. Of course it has.

7.52am GMT

55th over: Australia 113-4 (Marsh 30, Handscomb 16)

Marsh has an opportunity to hammer an Ashwin full toss into the heavens here but he’s set on defence, so merely pats it along the ground for a single to mid-on. A few more singles are handy runs, pushing Australia along to trail by just 39 runs. With that the partnership between Handscomb and Marsh is worth 50 from 156 deliveries.

7.48am GMT

54th over: Australia 109-4 (Marsh 28, Handscomb 14)

Jadeja welcomes Handscomb back from the drinks break with a straight and not entirely penetrating over, and the batsman punches a back-foot drive out to deep points to finish the over and retain the strike.

7.41am GMT

53rd over: Australia 108-4 (Marsh 28, Handscomb 13)

Ashwin has a slip, a leg slip and a short leg for Shaun Marsh, who continues with his reverse-Gooch pad work. I wouldn’t say he’s making batting look easy, but for Australia’s sake there is certainly a comforting level of security in his defence. Another maiden, and that is drinks.

7.40am GMT

52nd over: Australia 108-4 (Marsh 28, Handscomb 13)

It’s been an enigmatic series for Handscomb so far; he’s never looked significantly troubled by the bowling but he just keeps getting himself out once he’s in. On that note, he’s now in the danger period – 13 from 67 deliveries as Jadeja spins one past his outside edge. No nick. Maiden. Eleven maidens for Jadeja. The outfielders could have a stretch while he’s bowling.

7.38am GMT

51st over: Australia 108-4 (Marsh 28, Handscomb 13)

I spend a fair bit of time laying into Brett Lee and Matthew Hayden, so it is only fair to point out that Michael Clarke is growing into a quite shrewd analyst early in his TV career, because he offers insights beyond the bleeding obvious. In this over he’s talking about the softening of the ball, which is a step up from pizza toppings. It’s a maiden for Ashwin and continues a period of intense pressure, though Jadeja remains the real threat.

7.35am GMT

50th over: Australia 108-4 (Marsh 28, Handscomb 13)

With the pace threat gone, Peter Handscomb calls for his baggy green cap. At the risk of labouring the point, this manoeuvre hasn’t always come up trumps for his team-mates in this series. Jadeja has a slip, a silly point and a short leg, but no luck drawing a rash stroke from the Victorian. Maiden. Jadeja now has 10 of those in his 3-22 from 20 overs.

7.33am GMT

49th over: Australia 108-4 (Marsh 28, Handscomb 13)

Michael Clarke’s mooted Umesh-Ashwin switcheroo finally happens, and the batsmen have about ten minutes to get through before they stop for a drink, which is among many mini-milestones they’ll hope to tick off. Handscomb advances to the off-spinner and turns a single through mid-wicket, and there was one earlier in the over for Marsh.

7.30am GMT

48th over: Australia 106-4 (Marsh 27, Handscomb 12)

First delivery of this over from the returning Ravindra Jadeja draws an unhinged celebr-appeal from the bowler when Handscomb bends his front leg forward to pad up. It was a very hopeful shout, but Jadeja carries on as though he’s watching Shane Warne’s Gatting ball for the first time. If he actually takes a wicket he might combust. We’re half an hour and ten minutes from tea now, and Australia are set to face spin from both ends for the first time today.

7.26am GMT

47th over: Australia 106-4 (Marsh 27, Handscomb 12)

So yes, it was more Umesh in this over, and more of the same from him. The partnership is now worth 43 runs from 108 deliveries, which is putting Australia in a far better position to secure a draw than many of us expected two hours ago. In Marsh we trust? Australia trail by 46 runs, and India desperately need a wicket.

7.24am GMT

Not only was it hitting him outside the line of off stump, but it also pitched outside leg stump. Kohli chuckles and raises an apologetic hand to his bowler, who wasn’t entirely committed himself. A terrible review, really.

7.23am GMT

But he shrugs those infamous shoulders as his as he calls for it, which doesn’t fill India with hope. This is a speculative review at best. Marsh shouldered arms but it appeared to hit him outside the line of off stump.

7.21am GMT

46th over: Australia 105-4 (Marsh 27, Handscomb 11)

Ashwin continues with a maiden at the same end, so Michael Clarke will not get his wish just yet. As that is happening Ruth Purdue arrives with a question, which is so wide in its scope I have trouble offering much in the way of a coherent response. “Is Brett Lee the antithesis of Matthew Hayden?” she writes. They’re both the antithesis of informative commentators, I know that.

7.18am GMT

45th over: Australia 105-4 (Marsh 27, Handscomb 11)

The law of diminishing Yadavs continue to be proven here, with Umesh groaning his way through an unimposing over. Michael Clarke reckons Ashwin should be bowling from Umesh’s end, and Jadeja from Ashwin’s. Virat Kohli had a word to Ashwin at the end of the last over, so that may well happen. Australia trail by 47 runs now, so Kohli has some thinking to do. A 60-run chase in the third session is far from ideal for India.

7.13am GMT

44th over: Australia 101-4 (Marsh 27, Handscomb 8)

Wonderful stuff here by the newly-confident Marsh, who takes half a little shimmy-step down the track to Ashwin and then cracks a quite sublime on drive to the rope to take Australia past 100. You don’t say this often, but I reckon it’s time to give Ashwin a rest. Ravindra Jadeja is the man for the occasion here.

7.10am GMT

43rd over: Australia 97-4 (Marsh 23, Handscomb 8)

Umesh continues to Marsh, who I’ve been describing in slightly unflattering terms of late. In actual fact, he’s starting to look a bit more comfortable against the paceman now, mainly I think because Umesh is angling it too far across him towards the slips. “He’s a very, very nice fella, Shaun Marsh,” says Brett Lee with typically searing insight. Marsh gets a very, very nice single, and that’s about it for the over.

7.05am GMT

42nd over: Australia 96-4 (Marsh 22, Handscomb 8)

Holy moly. Handscomb advances down the pitch to a full toss but he almost cracks it straight into the hands of the man at short mid-wicket, and the Indians around the bat are really whooping it up at the prospect of a wicket. Still, had he timed it, Handscomb would have just as easily smoked that for a boundary.

7.02am GMT

41st over: Australia 96-4 (Marsh 22, Handscomb 8)

Much like Steve Smith earlier, Handscomb leads India to believe he’s an LBW candidate with that shuffle across in front of his stumps. He almost refuses to use his front foot to the quicks, so Umesh is looking to send a low shooter into his stumps and almost succeeds but for an inside edge. To fuller balls outside off stump, Marsh is swishing his way through that lovely Trescothickesque leave of his. It’s a stylish leave, though not as stylish as the straight drives he cannons past Umesh when the paceman over-pitches. That’s four bits. Australia now trail by 56. Maybe they can make India bat again.

6.58am GMT

40th over: Australia 91-4 (Marsh 18, Handscomb 7)

A drop! It was a tough but very gettable chance for Karun Nair at short leg. Handscomb was forward and flicking it towards the man under the lid. Nair keeps low enough, and shifts his hands to the right quickly enough, but the ball doesn’t stick in either mitt. Ashwin is a little cheesed but he knows it was no fait accompli. A single to Handscomb to finish the over relieves Marsh of his ongoing ordeal at the hands of Umesh Yadav.

6.55am GMT

39th over: Australia 90-4 (Marsh 18, Handscomb 6)

Umesh is coming around the wicket to Marsh and first up this over he tails one away from the left-hander’s outside edge. The other arresting sight early in the over is the neat queue of three helmets strategically placed behind wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha. They act as a warning for what’s to come in the next over. But to matters present: Umesh is bowling a treat in this over, and Marsh is doing nothing more positive than squirming his way through a thorough examination from the paceman. You wouldn’t be surprised if Umesh walked down the pitch and asked him to cough. Marsh survives the over without having to claim his Medicare rebate.

6.51am GMT

38th over: Australia 90-4 (Marsh 18, Handscomb 6)

Ashwin appears now for his second over, which means Ravindra Jadeja is taking his first break of the day after that sublime spell in the first session. Handscomb squirts one down the leg side and Rahane almost cleans up his mess at leg gully, diving athletically to his left but narrowly missing purchase on the ball. Marsh turns three through mid-wicket to finish the over, and looks far less jittery against the spinner.

6.47am GMT

37th over: Australia 86-4 (Marsh 15, Handscomb 5)

OK, we’re off and away in the session which may or may not seal Australia’s fate in this Border-Gavaskar Trophy series. Umesh Yadav is the bowler and Peter Handscomb the Australian batsman on strike. He neatly deposits one down to third man to pick up one, and Yadav soon has Marsh hopping in the air like he’s defending a corner. Two leg byes around the corner finish an over of odds and ends.

6.38am GMT

Signs of life? “Is it cowardly to pray for a monsoon?” asks reader Gervase Greene. No Gervase, no it’s not.

Here is #WinViz at the start of the afternoon session in Ranchi. Can Australia salvage a draw? #IndvAus pic.twitter.com/aSWj840Gp7

6.24am GMT

Australia complete a third of the day having lost only a quarter of their remaining batsmen. Massively on top. #INDvAUS

6.07am GMT

What’s happening in the cricket? Haven’t had the chance to watch today #INDvAUS

6.03am GMT

36th over: Australia 83-4 (Marsh 15, Handscomb 4)

And that is lunch on day five in Ranchi, ending a session in which Australia lost Matt Renshaw and Steve Smith in quick succession after they’d looked good to bat out the day. The last over of the session was not Jadeja’s best and Handcomb sent a compact drive through cover to finish it with three runs, but the Indian spinner has bowled his side into a commanding position here. His 3-22 from 18 overs has featured nine maidens and he might well bowl India to victory after lunch.

5.59am GMT

35th over: Australia 79-4 (Marsh 14, Handscomb 1)

Ravichandran Ashwin finally gets his first bowl of the morning, which is perhaps a bit harsh on India’s most prolific bowler of the decade. He has a throaty LBW shout against Marsh, but Ian Gould deems it to be hitting the batsman’s pad slightly outside the line of off stump. Marsh knows the danger here; Ashwin has nipped him out four times in Test, but he survives. We’ll have one more over from Jadeja.

5.56am GMT

34th over: Australia 78-4 (Marsh 13, Handscomb 1)

BREAKING: RAVINDRA JADEJA BOWLS BAD BALL. Incredible, I know. It’s short, straight, and Shaun Marsh recovers well enough from his surprise to whip it through mid-wicket for a boundary. That means Jadeja has 3-18 from 17 overs by the end of this one, which features a fast arm-ball that nearly does Handscomb in. He’s been a real handful for the Australians bowling unchanged throughout this session, the left-armer.

5.53am GMT

33rd over: Australia 73-4 (Marsh 8, Handscomb 1)

Kabir Sethi has a question. “Renshaw and now Smith – how much of this was because of the fracas at the start of Ishant’s last over? Did they get unsettled with all the chatter?” I think it definitely ruffled Renshaw, but then the ball that got him did keep very low, now that I see replays. Smith’s was just a minor lapse in concentration of the type we didn’t see from Pujara yesterday. Back in the moment, Ishant is now bowling a seventh over in the spell, so the best Ashwin can hope for is one speculative over before lunch. Four byes in this over are handy for Australia, because they’re still hoping to push past India’s total today and make them bat again. Right now they’re 79 runs away from that.

5.46am GMT

32nd over: Australia 65-4 (Marsh 6, Handscomb 0)

Handscomb is mindful of what happened to his skipper moments ago, so all of his forward movements to Jadeja are exaggerated, perhaps even a little too much so. His main intention, like Marsh’s, seems to be removing his bat from the path of the ball. That carries its own dangers. This is a torrid little spell to endure before lunch. Jadeja is looking a million bucks.

5.42am GMT

31st over: Australia 64-4 (Marsh 5, Handscomb 0)

Not surprisingly given the way he bowled in his last, Ishant is granted a sixth over in this spell. In truth it can only be a let-down given the theatrics of his last, and so it proves; Marsh has one eye on the clock and only plays when he really needs to, pushing a single towards gully from the final delivery but otherwise making sure ball doesn’t meet bat. With just under 20 minutes to go until lunch, survival is the name of the game.

5.37am GMT

30th over: Australia 63-4 (Marsh 4, Handscomb 0)

What a task Shaun Marsh and Peter Handscomb have ahead of them here. Handscomb is encircled by close-in fieldsmen for the final five deliveries of the Jadeja over but survives some nervy times.

5.35am GMT

Jadeja clean bowls Steve Smith! Oh my word, that is a hammer blow for Australia’s chances, and their hero has departed shouldering arms, of all things. Mindful of the huge spin Jadeja was getting in the last over, Smith moves forward to one that angles in to about a leg stump line, but it spins across in front of his pad a little less than the outrageous turner of the last over and subsequently uproots Smith’s off stump. Australia are in disarray here, and Jadeja finally gets reward for a superb spell.

5.33am GMT

29th over: Australia 63-3 (Smith 21, Marsh 4)

Shaun Marsh gets an edgy boundary from the first ball he faces, but Ishant finishes a barnstorming over by angling a nasty one into the left-hander’s hip and he’s really hopping about as it thuds into him.

5.31am GMT

Ishant strikes! What a wicket this is for India as Ishant traps Matt Renshaw in front, and Ian Gould has no hesitation raising the finger. The prelude to that one was fascinating; Renshaw pulled away from the first delivery of the over, citing some kind of distraction near the sight screen. At the time, Ishant was almost into his delivery stride, so angrily piffed the ball down the pitch and Umpire Ian Gould to come in and settle a few tempers. Virat Kohli was in the thick of it, of course, and Steve Smith too when Ishant Sharma gave the Australian skipper a mouthful. Renshaw blocked the next ball and faced plenty of hostility from the big paceman in the aftermath, but Ishant then undid him with an absolute beauty.

5.23am GMT

28th over: Australia 59-2 (Renshaw 15, Smith 21)

Jadeja has 2-12 to his name as he enters his 14th over, and he rips an absolute peach of a delivery past the outside edge of Smith. To do that he came around the wicket, imparted untold revolutions on the ball to get it drifting in towards leg, and it just came screaming its way past Smith’s blade. No wicket, no run. Another maiden.

5.21am GMT

27th over: Australia 59-2 (Renshaw 15, Smith 21)

Virat Kohli stands cleaning his sunglasses now. Perhaps the sudden glare of the sun accounts for his sizeable frown, but he’s also got a worry or two as this session enters its final 40 minutes. Ravindra Jadeja has been a constant threat this morning but neither he nor the quicks have taken a wicket. The two Australian batsmen are entrenched, and very set in their disciplined approach. They’re not going to hand this to India. Time for some Ravichandran Ashwin? I think it might be.

5.14am GMT

26th over: Australia 58-2 (Renshaw 15, Smith 20)

Renshaw is really surrounded now. There is a slip, a short leg, a leg gully and a leg slip. Neither him, them, nor Wriddhiman Saha get near a vicious turner from Jadeja; the ball rears up out of the rough and flashes past the batsman’s hip for four byes. Nightmarish.

5.11am GMT

25th over: Australia 54-2 (Renshaw 15, Smith 20)

We’re back now with more Ishant and as he steams in towards Renshaw, I’ve just realised an email has arrived from the Wisden Collectors Club (yes, I am a member of the Wisden Collectors Club, and you should be too). Good news: only 18 sleeps until the new one hits the shelves. I have a custom-built shelf for all mine. It runs the length of my office, which is only slightly less sad than the collector who apparently had one built into the foot of his bed, so his precious Wisdens were never far from reach. 50 Shades of Yellow? A no-ball from Ishant takes Australia to 50, then Smith rolls his wrists over a sublime on drive to pick up four.

5.01am GMT

24th over: Australia 48-2 (Renshaw 14, Smith 16)

Kohli offers up a more regulation field with Smith on strike, which is to say there are men actually posted on the leg side, including a shortish mid-wicket and a short leg. Jadeja still aims for the rough outside Smith’s leg stump, so the Aussie skipper is content thrusting his pad at the ball in the Graham Gooch sense, as opposed to the Shane Watson sense. It works well enough in this maiden, and we’ll stop for a moment now for drinks.

4.58am GMT

23rd over: Australia 48-2 (Renshaw 14, Smith 16)

This is an absolute masterclass from Steve Smith. Any half-decent ball outside off stump he’s leaving, but when Ishant over-pitches he has no problem cracking a cover drive for two. Maybe this will go the distance after all. Smith rifles a straight drive from Ishant’s penultimate delivery, and if not for an excellent stop from the bowler it would have raced away to the rope. Renshaw defends the final delivery and avoids being on strike to Jadeja.

4.53am GMT

22nd over: Australia 45-2 (Renshaw 14, Smith 13)

One thing Matt Renshaw is doing right against Jadeja (aside from not getting out, which is obviously the optimal result) is playing with soft hands. Doing so here he’s able to angle a couple of runs to the left of Kohli at slip, but Jadeja is a nightmare to deal with on account of the footmarks outside off stump to the left-hander. Shaun Marsh will not be liking the look of this, nor Matthew Wade.

Renshaw’s faced many tests since he debuted.Doesn’t get much bigger than surviving Jadeja at that end on day 5 to try save a match. #INDvAUS

4.49am GMT

21st over: Australia 43-2 (Renshaw 12, Smith 13)

Ishant trots out to his marker now and replaces Umesh. In a lovely moment, Brett Lee reads out his Test stats under the apparent expectation that he’ll be wowed, which he is until he gets to the bowling average of 36. That’ll happen when you play more than half your Tests on the subcontinent. Smith is handling the Indian paceman first up, and continues to leave everything outside off stump, which is almost everything India bowl to him. Like Umesh before, Ishant is sending them down from wide on the crease. Unlike Umesh, he goes so wide he’s called for a no-ball. Smith finally plays at one, caressing a square drive between gully and point for two.

4.43am GMT

20th over: Australia 40-2 (Renshaw 12, Smith 11)

Renshaw continues to battle with Jadeja’s devilish wares, shuffling across to cover his off stump and then lunging forward outside the line to counter the spinner. It’s another maiden, and Renshaw continues to look like a sitting duck. Kohli has three men in close, but I’d honestly be tempted to bring in one or two more and go for the kill.

4.40am GMT

19th over: Australia 40-2 (Renshaw 12, Smith 11)

In fact Yadav gets another go, and Smith runs him down towards third man by twirling the face of his bat open and picking up two. Yadav has three slips; first, second and fourth, and keeps hanging it outside off stump, but the approach has changed a little. In a reverse tactic to that employed for Renshaw, Kohli has stacked the off side field and dared Smith to blaze away. He won’t. He’d rather bat without pads than lose out to Kohli in this game.

4.36am GMT

18th over: Australia 38-2 (Renshaw 12, Smith 9)

Wowsers. Sharp turn here for Jadeja, who rips a few out of the rough to trouble the Queenslander. “Renshaw is finding a way,” says Michael Clarke, being very kind. India are expecting a breakthrough from nearly every delivery of this threatening over, but the left-hander somehow gets through a minor ordeal. Jadeja is the danger man here, and we’ve said that a few times in this series.

4.34am GMT

17th over: Australia 38-2 (Renshaw 12, Smith 9)

In what might prove the final over of his spell, Umesh comes around the wicket to left-handed Renshaw. He’s still getting decent bounce and carry, so there are two slips and a gully in place. The bowler gives Renshaw nothing to work to leg, and he’s happy to either leave the wide ones or dab defensive strokes towards the cover when the line is tighter. So far so good for Australia.

In the eight overs last night Australia missed or edged 26% of deliveries; in the eight overs today they have missed or edged 16%. #IndvAus

4.30am GMT

16th over: Australia 37-2 (Renshaw 11, Smith 9)

Jadeja has a slip, a silly point and a short mid-off for Steve Smith. The Indian spinner offers his normal impeccable control, but not a prodigious amount of spin in this over so Smith is pressing forward to play confident forward defensive strokes and it ends up an uneventful maiden.

4.27am GMT

15th over: Australia 37-2 (Renshaw 11, Smith 9)

Ishant is enthusiastically clapping Umesh as he prepares to charge in, but you sense he wouldn’t mind a trundle himself if he was honest about it. Umesh plus away outside Steve Smith’s off stump, but the Australian skipper is setting himself for the long haul, and won’t touch it unless he has to. He picks up a late single to retain the strike.

4.24am GMT

14th over: Australia 36-2 (Renshaw 11, Smith 8)

Kohli’s left cover entirely open while Jadeja is bowling to Renshaw. The latter opens the face to run a couple of runs past gully, but he’s resisting the temptation to try and flay one through the gap. Danger lurks in the form of the footmarks out side his off stump, which are giving Jadeja the kind of sharp turn which did for Warner last night. The younger opener watchfully defends for the rest of the over. He hasn’t set records on this tour, but it’s been a mighty impressive first trip to India from the 20-year-old.

I want nothing more today than for Glenn Maxwell to break the fastest Test century record in the process of saving a Test. #Maxwellball

4.20am GMT

13th over: Australia 34-2 (Renshaw 9, Smith 8)

Umesh continues to Smith, whose run-making has now attained a Pacman-style monotony. The Indian paceman changes up his approach in this over, delivering from roughly the same position in the crease as last over but sending some through straighter outside off stump, to try and coax Smith into a loose stroke. It never comes, and he’s happy to see off a maiden.

4.17am GMT

12th over: Australia 34-2 (Renshaw 9, Smith 8)

Smith’s really picking on Ravichandran Ashwin here, again clipping a single wide of mid-wicket to get the ungainly fieldsman charging out to his right for the stop. He’s a magnificent bowler and a very sturdy Test batsman, Ashwin, but if all you had to prove it was his running style, you’d have a very tough time convincing cricket agnostics he was an elite athlete.

4.14am GMT

11th over: Australia 33-2 (Renshaw 9, Smith 7)

Renshaw’s far more comfortable against the pace of Umesh, and neatly tucks a single through square leg when the paceman strays onto his hip. Umesh zooms his next one down from wide on the crease, angling it in towards Steve Smith’s middle stump, then produces a carbon copy, then errs with a sloppy short one. Smith swivels back and pulls it around the corner for one, though slightly better placement would have had it humming to the fence. Renshaw flinches out of the way of a very well-directed bouncer to finish the over. I’ve probably said it a few times, but if India win this series, Umesh Yadav will have played a central if understated role in the result.

4.10am GMT

10th over: Australia 31-2 (Renshaw 8, Smith 6)

The temptation would have been to wheel Ishant into the fray with some pace, but Kohli sticks with Jadeja. He’s got a short leg, a leg gully and a leg slip in place for the left-handed Renshaw, who has his work cut out for him in a probing over. He gets a nervy single off the fifth delivery but he’s also a little ruffled by the spinner.

4.07am GMT

9th over: Australia 30-2 (Renshaw 7, Smith 6)

Umesh Yadav has been a quite industrious manufacturer of breakthroughs this series and he’s given another run while the ball still has some shine left on it. Smith is alert to every run-making opportunity, and gets off the mark by whipping the paceman off his legs for two to deep mid-wicket. In basketball they talk of defensive player applying pressure with “active hands”. Smith does it with “active feet” – always shuffling around to open up scoring opportunities and throw the bowler off his line. A few balls later he almost beats Ashwin at mid-on, but the gangly spinner tumbles to his right; he’s about as graceful as a fridge falling down a flight of stairs, but he pulls off the save. Smith hits his mark with the final delivery, which is driven past Murali Vijay at extra cover and runs away for four.

4.02am GMT

8th over: Australia 24-2 (Renshaw 7, Smith 0)

Having removed Nathan Lyon with the second delivery of last night’s final over, Ravindra Jadeja has four more balls left to start us off today. The first is sent down to Steve Smith, who leans right forward and blocks the ball as a silly point, slip and short gully pile the pressure on him. A few balls later he tucks a leg bye around the corner, and Matt Renshaw gets an inside edge trying to drive through the covers. The ball ends up at mid-on. Not entirely convincing, that one.

3.59am GMT

We’re a few minutes from the first delivery now

“Steve Smith needs to play the innings of his life if Australia are to get out of this one,” says Ravi Shastri, which is some kind of expectation to place on one guy, even if he did last for 361 deliveries in his undefeated first innings masterclass. “We would have liked a few more runs in the first innings,” says Australian batting coach Graeme Hick, stopping by soon after. “I think the boys have got a hard day in front of them today.” He’s not pulling any punches, and says plenty of Australia’s first innings dismissals were “soft”.

3.44am GMT

The pitch: I haven’t had a close look yet, but let’s be honest, it’s all about the choice between the heavy roller and the light roller.

The light roller out before the final day at JSCA. The interrogation of Australia’s batsmen resumes in 20 minutes. #INDvAUS pic.twitter.com/RaYOvlKZGq

3.36am GMT

Preamble

Hello all and welcome to day five of the third Test in Ranchi, which might well be the end of Australia’s pursuit of their first Border-Gavaskar Trophy win since 2004. It’s looking gim, I’ll be honest. They resume at 23-2 after the dismissal of David Warner and nightwatchman Nathan Lyon late last night, and they’re still 129 runs short of making India bat again. Can Steve Smith fix his gaze on Virat Kohli, channel every ounce of spite in his body and deliver yet another remarkable innings? You couldn’t bet against him. But it will be a struggle.

10.23pm GMT

Russell will be here shortly, giving you time to remind yourselves of how we got to this point:

Related: Australia under pressure after India dominate day four of third Test

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/mar/20/india-v-australia-third-test-day-five-live

Mar 19

Australia under pressure after India dominate day four of third Test

Cheteshwar Pujara compiled an epic double century and Wriddhiman Saha complimented with a career-best 117 to deflate Australia and put India in a strong position on the fourth day of the third Test on Sunday.

After India declared their first innings on 603 for nine, Ravindra Jadeja bowled David Warner and nightwatchman Nathan Lyon cheaply in successive overs to reduce Australia to 23-2. Matt Renshaw was batting on seven at stumps with Australia still 129 runs behind and under considerable pressure to save the match.

Related: Australia on ropes as India take control of third Test on day four – as it happened

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/mar/19/australia-under-pressure-after-india-dominate-day-four-of-third-test

Mar 19

Australia on ropes as India take control of third Test on day four – as it happened

  • Australia 451 & 23-2; India 603-9 dec
  • Australia lose two wickets before close of play

11.36am GMT

And here’s your match report:

Related: Australia under pressure after India dominate day four of third Test

11.28am GMT

STUMPS DAY FOUR: Australia 23-2 (Renshaw 7)

Stumps here on day four – a day where India made monumental strides toward victory in Ranchi. Pujara and Saha picked up where they left off with a display of precision and concentration that didn’t relent throughout the day. Both brought up well-deserved milestones of 200 and 100 respectively, before falling in pursuit of quick runs that ultimately rendered Australia survivors and no longer challengers. While both were superb, Pujara’s knock deserves special mention. To underscore how gargantuan his innings was, in compiling his 202 he broke the record for India’s longest individual innings – no mean feat given the competitors in that field.

11.08am GMT

8th over: Australia 23-2 (Renshaw 7)

Bowled him! Lyon plays for a straight one but Jadeja gets it to grip. It hits the top of off and Australia are in tatters. After an innocuous first over Jadeja really found his pace and accuracy and he’s left a gaping wound in Australia now. That was a great delivery. That ends the day now. It was India’s in every way. Some thoughts shortly to wrap up.

11.05am GMT

7th over: Australia 23-1 (Lyon 2, Renshaw 7)

It’s Renshaw v Ashwin now, and ball two sees Renshaw work a shortish one that Pujara can’t reel in. He’s lucky, Renshaw, because three would have seen Lyon on strike and him risking a meeting with Jadeja next over. A much better match up from an Australian point of view. He’s forward, bat well out in front of pad to minimise the bat pad opportunity, and he sees out the over. Jadeja at the other end looms as the main danger.

11.02am GMT

6th over: Australia 19-1 (Lyon 2, Renshaw 3)

So Jadeja accounts for a hapless Warner, and the brains trust send Lyon to the crease. It’s not a bad tactic if only because Lyon is right handed. Jadeja is around the wicket straight away and his second ball elicits a shout for LBW! They don’t review, it was going down leg. Slightly less indecision for the right hander with Jadeja bowling from this angle – the rough is everything. Still, it’s dangerous! Despite men all around his bat, Lyon survives.

10.59am GMT

Bowled him! Wonderful delivery from Jadeja. He’s going to be unbelievably difficult to handle here. He hits the rough and it jags back furiously, through Warner’s gate and straight into the stumps. Really, really ominous signs here. Every ball a grenade. Honestly think a right hander would be better suited here. And it’s Lyon!

10.57am GMT

5th over: Australia 17-0 (Warner 14, Renshaw 3)

Warner, playing his natural game, gets down the wicket to Ashwin and scampers a single wide of mid off. He brings Renshaw on strike and he looks a little better against Ashwin’s right arm offspin. There’s also less men around him, perhaps helping his cause. Renshaw wisely sees off Ashwin, leaving him at the other end as Jadeja prepares himself to spear it into that nasty rough.

10.54am GMT

4th over: Australia 16-0 (Warner 13, Renshaw 3)

Renshaw’s struggling here. He French cuts himself in defence to Jadeja’s first ball, and there are three men waiting for him on the leg side as the left arm orthodox is aiming into the rough. He nearly finds them in the next two balls. The next couple go straight and beat his outside edge. Renshaw will want to be at the other end. The pitch is alive now, obviously.

10.52am GMT

3rd over: Australia 16-0 (Warner 13, Renshaw 3)

Fewer men around Warner’s bat to face Ashwin, but he’s nearly finding bat pad as one just goes past the man under the lid. Warner then lofts Ashwin over mid off streakily! It was not convincing by any stretch. Why, David. Why? Because it’s natural, that’s why. Ashwin then beats Warner on the inside and there’s a shout! The umpire says no, India agree. It was going down leg. A couple of dots and that one’s done.

10.49am GMT

2nd over: Australia 12-0 (Warner 9, Renshaw 3)

It’s Jadeja from the other end. He’s over the crease to Renshaw and delivering from a particularly wide position. They’ve got a leg slip in there too, and Renshaw is prodding at the second ball nervously. He manages to get one down to deep backward square and is off strike, thankfully for him. As if to bring Renshaw back on strike, Jadeja pitches short and Warner is through for one. But it’s a carbon copy, because Renshaw finds two through the same area. He’s not on the money yet Jadeja, the deliveries are coming in at slow-medium pace, and the new ball is rendering any revolutions redundant. That’s the over, probably didn’t offer the examination Kohli would have liked.

10.45am GMT

1st over: Australia 8-0 (Warner 8, Renshaw 0)

Kohli’s on the field, there’s men around the bat, the crowd all of a sudden a little deafening. It’s Ashwin to begin. Brett Lee already suggests Warner needs to ‘play his natural game’. I find that an extraordinary comment. Is there no concession to the game status? Must everything be natural? We’ll see. Ashwin’s first ball is flat and goes on straight. ‘Ooh’s and ahh’s’ result. So does a slow motion replay of Kohli’s mouth. Let’s accept that. Silly mid-off, short leg, slip. A half-shout for one that Warner inside edges onto his pad. A second slip comes in. Ashwin then pitches short and Warner punches him through point for four. It was a poor delivery. ‘Boom’, says Brett Lee. Same again to finish the over, two boundaries from it. Not that it matters.

10.39am GMT

With 90+ overs in a day and still eight to bowl here, it will take a gargantuan, famous effort for Australia to survive here. There have been some encouraging signs in relation to their batting, but this surely serves as their sternest test yet. Is there a twist to come?

10.36am GMT

210th over: India 603-9d (Jadeja 54, Sharma 0)

Jadeja caps his fifty with a boundary through extra cover, and finishes India’s innings with a tuck off the hips for four. Kohli then calls in his charges and it will be a searching eight overs for Australia to try and survive before the close of play. I’ll wrap up the Indian innings at the end of the day, for now we brace ourselves for a period that may well come to define the series. Can India find gremlins in the wicket? Do Australia have the wherewithal to get through this? We’ve endured some grind to get to this point, but there’s some captivating stuff ahead. Would love to hear your thoughts as we get underway in a matter of minutes.

@sjjperry Interestingly poised match now. Tired Aus put in to bat for 40 minutes, performance may determine the outcome of the match.

10.31am GMT

A killer knock from Jadeja, who has skilfully cashed in on tiring Australian bowlers. Some brilliant shots over the top for six interspersed with others crashed through the off side.

10.29am GMT

209th over: India 595-9 (Jadeja 46, Sharma 0)

Yadav’s wicket brings Sharma to the crease. He gets comical cheers from his home crowd for his exaggerated forward defence. Men surround the bat, and occasionally O’Keefe beats it, but he survives.

Steve O’Keefe is rapidly racing up this list. Now equal 22nd on most deliveries ever bowled in an innings: https://t.co/0W1E04E2OZ #INDvAUS pic.twitter.com/TqKvUF0TUV

10.26am GMT

Yadav is down the deck to O’Keefe and he tries to heave him over Warner at mid-off. He doesn’t connect with any purity at all, instead slicing the ball to Australia’s opener. A good knock all told. There’s no declaration, Sharma is heading to the crease.

10.23am GMT

208th over: India 595-8 (Jadeja 46, Yadav 16)

Cummins is back. He’ll want (and deserves) five, but he has a few problems in the meantime. Yadav back cuts him for four through third man (is there any more annoying place to concede a boundary), and gets another through there via the front foot now. The partnership passes fifty, Cummins throws his head back and grimaces wildly. He no-look-hooks Cummins to finish the over, and you can hear Michael Clarke say ‘shot!’ through someone else’s microphone. All India here. With 12 overs remaining today a declaration must be imminent.

10.18am GMT

207th over: India 586-8 (Jadeja 46, Yadav 7)

Jadeja comes at O’Keefe then retreats – Wade has the bails off and the umpire wants to have a look. Jadeja is well safe. He always follows these events with a slog, and gets himself two via thick inside edge. Two more dots precede another six straight over the bowler’s head. It’s good looking stuff from the left hander, he plays with real silk.

10.16am GMT

206th over: India 578-8 (Jadeja 38, Yadav 7)

Another innocuous start to the over before a big appeal for LBW is turned down. Australia, of course, have no reviews remaining. Making matters worse/better, Jadeja then creams Lyon straight back over his head for six. One can only imagine the sound of the thud of the ball on that white parachute material near the sightscreen. Lyon buries his head in his hands, a wry smile in accompaniment. There’s a single to finish, he’ll retain the strike.

10.12am GMT

205th over: India 570-8 (Jadeja 31, Yadav 6)

More singles to the batsmen from O’Keefe. The game is kind of ambling now. India perhaps timing themselves for 10-15 overs at the Australians, and no more. It condemns Australia to mere defence, so it makes sense. Any other views out there? Are India timing this perfectly or just very well?

.@pmnevill caught reverse sweeping. Courageous effort by @CricketNSWBlues getting within 7 runs of a #SheffieldShield final needing 403.

10.09am GMT

204th over: India 568-8 (Jadeja 30, Yadav 5)

We return from drinks to see the Indian side almost all in whites, awaiting a declaration. Then again, Kohli is calmly stirring his tea. The tension. Meanwhile Jadeja and Yadav exchange singles from Lyon’s bowling, while Australia awaits another last innings examination. Some real pressure on the horizon.

10.01am GMT

203rd over: India 565-8 (Jadeja 28, Yadav 4)

They’ve just settled down a little now, India. Gone are the extravagant swishes of ten overs ago, in are nifty little dabs and hastily scrambled singles. All of it drives the nail deeper and deeper into Australia’s cause, and attention now turns to their ability to survive. It’s got collapse written all over it, doesn’t it? O’Keefe, meanwhile, has bowled 74 overs.

9.58am GMT

202nd over: India 562-8 (Jadeja 26, Yadav 3)

Jadeja finds two through third man after some really sharp running. Hazlewood, as has been his approach to conceding runs, directs the next past Jadeja’s hip and avoids conceding more. Later on Yadav dabs one through vacant mid on for a single, and Jadeja gets another to third man. Hard to see a way out for Australia now, presuming the pitch will (seem to) misbehave once Australia starts batting*

@sjjperry Per Hayden on TV Hazlewood has been bowling “unrelentlessly.” I think the Australian George Bush is misunderstimating the bowler.

9.53am GMT

201st over: India 557-8 (Jadeja 22, Yadav 2)

Only one from O’Keefe’s over. Jadeja grabs a single and Yadav spends the rest keeping him out.

9.50am GMT

200th over: India 556-8 (Jadeja 21, Yadav 2)

A little more circumspect from India here. There was talk a message had been conveyed to bat a little more frugally, and Jadeja is watchful here. Nevertheless he manages to run one through the vacant third man for four before aggressively pulling another for one.

@dizzy259 in fact Pujara has equalled the record set by Fleming (NZ) for most number of Test double hundreds by a batsman called Steve (3)

9.45am GMT

199th over: India 551-8 (Jadeja 16, Yadav 2)

O’Keefe’s back over the wicket now and the trajectory is flatter than a Melbourne beach. He abandons that angle to come around, but he’s met by stern Yadav defence. A new tactic? That approach remains for the over, meaning Jadeja will face Hazlewood from the other end.

9.43am GMT

198th over: India 550-8 (Jadeja 15, Yadav 2)

It’s Hazlewood now, and he had Yadav swinging and missing early in the over. He then pitches short and Yadav is late on it in an attempt to pull the ball. It catches the splice and carries to O’Keefe who dives to his left and drops the one-handed attempt. It would have been an excellent catch, particularly for a bloke who’s bowled 71 overs. Jadeja then attempts a suicidal run but survives after Handscomb can’t effect the underarm from side-on.

9.37am GMT

197th over: India 547-8 (Jadeja 13, Yadav 1)

O’Keefe finds the breakthrough in his 71st(!) over, giving him two for this innings. Yadav comes in, gets off strike, allowing Jadeja to charge and loft O’Keefe wide of long on for another boundary. He’s striking at over 100 here, and Australia will be hoping there’s not more to come.

9.35am GMT

And now it’s Saha on his way. O’Keefe is pitching just outside off and Saha tries to lift him over cover. He can’t though, and succeeds only in finding Maxwell at hip height. It ends an outstanding innings that’s taken the game away from Australia, and he’s commended heartily for it from the Ranchi crowd. India lead by 91.

9.33am GMT

196th over: India 541-7 (Jadeja 8, Saha 116)

Jadeja’s in on the act now, cutting Lyon behind the haplessly outstretched dive of Hazlewood. Lyon seems to be getting some venomous bounce but both seem to be using it to their advantage.

9.29am GMT

195th over: India 536-7 (Jadeja 4, Saha 116)

Hard not to laugh as the camera’s zoom in on emerging puffs of dust from O’Keefe’s deliveries. Jadeja is warned for running on the wicket, and there’s a few singles sprinkled throughout the over. There’s an in-out field, so that’s to be expected. Australia’s best hope is a couple of poorly judged shots, but there appears little sign of that with Saha in such great touch.

9.26am GMT

194th over: India 532-7 (Jadeja 2, Saha 114)

Pujara welcomes Lyon’s over with a rank, rash slog to midwicket for two. And then he’s gone! It’s described below, and it brings (Sir) Ravindra Jadeja to the crease. He’s immediately finding a single, before Saha executes a classic late cut for three. The runs will not abate, but can Australia find some wickets? They’re on the carousel here and just about at India’s mercy.

9.23am GMT

Finally, a wicket! Pujara departs after a mammoth, epic 202. We’d been discussing Australian fatigue but no doubt he was feeling similarly. Here he chips Lyon innocuously to mid wicket to Maxwell, bringing to a close a memorable, record breaking innings. He leaves India with a lead of 76, and a mountainous personal legacy.

9.19am GMT

193rd over: India 525-6 (Pujara 200, Saha 111)

Saha is almost running at O’Keefe every delivery here, but he’s beaten in flight just about every time. That forces Saha to play from his crease – waiting, waiting for his opportunity. He gets one – he clears his stumps and hits O’Keefe with the spin over cover, and the ball spins away to the boundary. Nearly in ODI mode here. Australia, having bowled nearly 200 overs, are on the ropes now. It could get a little ugly.

9.17am GMT

192nd over: India 521-6 (Pujara 200, Saha 107)

It’s Lyon to continue, and Pujara gets his double! When the history is written about this one, we’ll be reading about a feat of concentration. It’s the longest innings in Indian cricket history, and he’s been near unflappable. The ground is ecstatic, as are his team mates. He’s also managed to drive India into an imperious position here in this Test. No doubt he’ll continue on.

9.12am GMT

191st over: India 519-6 (Pujara 199, Saha 106)

Maxwell is bowling to a 3-6 field. He’s around the wicket with mass protection on the legside, but both batsman manage to pierce it early for singles. Saha is then down the deck and he just clears Renshaw at mid off. It’s clawed in to prevent a boundary but the intention is clear. Seven more runs from the over.

9.09am GMT

190th over: India 512-6 (Pujara 196, Saha 102)

Spin from both ends as O’Keefe nears Warne’s 70 overs in Cape Town in 2002. If facing 100 balls is a Cowan ton, what does bowling 70 overs net you? Lower back problems, probably. As if to show his fatigue, O’Keefe drops short and Pujara pounces immediately, pulling him violently for four over mid wicket. There’s a single and a scampered two, meaning seven from the over. India’s attack has commenced, methinks.

9.06am GMT

189th over: India 505-6 (Pujara 191, Saha 100)

Maxwell kicks things off to start the final session and Saha, on strike at 99 not out, is able to work him behind square to bring up his ton. He’s been outstanding for the whole day, and his teammates celebrate with grandiosity – all fist pumps and cheering – as do the crowd.

9.00am GMT

Just to underscore the toil of Australia’s bowlers, a good pickup here from Ric Finlay

Have to go back to Warnie at Cape Town, 2002 (70 overs) to find an Aussie who’s bowled more in an inns than SOK (currently 67). #IndvAus

8.55am GMT

As grinding a session as this series has produced. Pujara and Saha carried on where they left off, and almost have India out of Australia’s sight here. They’ve not been dogged so much as measured. They withstood an early bouncer assault from Cummins and the reverse-swinging efforts of Hazlewood, and remained comfortable throughout. Nevertheless, 68 runs in 26 overs means that some attack should be forthcoming. One imagines it should come after both pass their impending milestones of 100 (Saha) and 200 (Pujara) respectively.

For Australia, there will be conjecture about whether some variety was needed in attack, but I’m happy to back Steve Smith’s approach. Once wickets seemed distant, Smith was set on limiting India’s attack by any measure. That amounted to O’Keefe bowling for the majority of the session at both batsman’s pads, and Cummins bowling bouncers. It was effective enough, but whether it will buy enough time to allow Australia to stave off defeat, we’ll find out.

8.45am GMT

188th over: India 503-6 (Pujara 190, Saha 99)

Attention turns to Wriddhiman Saha, who needs two runs for a ton heading into the last ball before tea. He gets a single but that’s where he’ll remain as Pujara can’t farm it. I’m sure he’ll be fine though. Lyon found some turn there, but we’ll have to wait until after tea to find out whether or not he can find it again. A huge session for India – it leaves them in control of this game. Though perhaps not quite as unassailable as a wicketless session might seem because it was fairly slow going. Australia should take some credit for that. Some thoughts shortly before I return for the last session of the day.

8.39am GMT

187th over: India 501-6 (Pujara 189, Saha 98)

India notch 500 now, and there’s a slight sense they’re batting with a fraction more urgency too. O’Keefe, curiously, has decided to adopt an attacking angle by coming around the wicket. He may be playing on milestone nerves by changing something, and does beat Saha at the end of the over. The batsman tries to back cut him unsuccessfully and Wade groans upon receiving it. He survives. India lead by 50.

8.36am GMT

186th over: India 499-6 (Pujara 188, Saha 97)

Some good old-fashioned action! Saha is down the wicket and hitting Lyon flat and hard over mid off for a boundary. India upping the ante now? Would stand to reason – they’re 48 ahead and probably comfortable enough to take a risk. Methodical stuff. Some milestones around the corner might be Australia’s best chance to make something happen.

8.34am GMT

185th over: India 493-6 (Pujara 187, Saha 92)

Overs thick and fast now as O’Keefe and Lyon go in tandem. It’s notable for a misfield from Lyon; evidence of tiring legs, minds, and everything else. There’s three from the over.

8.30am GMT

184th over: India 490-6 (Pujara 186, Saha 90)

So now we see Lyon, who’s apparently in excruciating pain due to some abrasion on his spinning finger. Is that a badge of honour for spinners? As an aside, I know a former first class spinner for NSW who had his wedding ring specially re-shaped to fit his spinning finger. That information should give you some clues (to his art, anyway). Lyon seems comfortable enough though, but so too do Saha and Pujara who both work him through leg for four separate runs. Saha’s into the nineties.

8.27am GMT

183rd over: India 485-6 (Pujara 185, Saha 87)

O’Keefe continues. There’s an early run to Saha, and defence for the rest. To step back a second here: India lead by 35 with five and a bit sessions to go. Of course they will fancy themselves to knock Australia over in a day, so the question is: how far ahead can they get today? It’s a question that may well explain Smith’s reluctance to turn to part-timers. If he bowls Maxwell and himself, India may capitalise. It’s park the bus time for Australia.

8.23am GMT

182nd over: India 485-6 (Pujara 185, Saha 86)

It’s Cummins and it’s bouncers. Saha simply ducks. He then goes for the sucker punch outside off stump but Saha almost bats it back. You have to hand it to Cummins, bowling at 140+ he is trying absolutely everything to find something from this wicket, but the batsmen are too good; too ‘in’. Still, this isn’t an annihilation by any stretch. The game isn’t progressing forward at any exhilarating rate, so while that’s the case, we may still have some drama ahead. But for now, it’s attritional.

Most enthralling sporting contest right now is WA v NSW Sheffield Shield.

NSW needs 93 runs in 20 odd overs to make final.

8.18am GMT

181st over: India 484-6 (Pujara 185, Saha 85)

A little more expansive from Saha v O’Keefe now. The ball remains flat, but there’s a lap sweep and a nice drive to long off. The Hawkesbury man is being used as defensive foil and you can understand it. Questions about removing him for another paceman in search of a break for light seem to have abated too. Still, it will be Cummins from the other end.

8.14am GMT

180th over: India 480-6 (Pujara 184, Saha 82)

So a little subplot emerging here, as Cummins adopts that shortened length to Saha. Is he doing that to make the fading light a factor? No doubt Australia would love to soak up time, however they can get it. He has a leg slip and a man under the lid, so his tactics are clear. Saha is ducking and swaying with aplomb; he doesn’t look overly fazed. The camera pans to Kohli and back, he looks pensive. It does look dark out there.

8.07am GMT

179th over: India 480-6 (Pujara 184, Saha 82)

I mentioned the clouds earlier, and now there appears to be a question over the light. The umpires confer and they return pretty quickly to O’Keefe’s over. Will go out on a slight limb and guess India are pretty happy to keep batting. It’s a hunch. O’Keefe is flat, over the wicket and outside leg again. These are the attritional parts of a Test match that, frankly, Australia have been poor at managing previously. Unless Australia can conjure something out of the ordinary soon, we might start to consider their path to a draw because that appears more and more to be their best option.

8.03am GMT

178th over: India 478-6 (Pujara 183, Saha 81)

Cummins returns to replace Hazlewood, and nearly grabs Saha after the keeper whips one just short of midwicket. That was uppish. He gets himself off strike, and allows Pujara to deal with the Penrith clubman. The lights are on at the ground here – there appears to be some cloud hovering. It’s not assisting with the sort of movement Australia would like though, as Pujara and Saha bring up their 150 run partnership.

7.57am GMT

177th over: India 474-6 (Pujara 182, Saha 78)

O’Keefe adopts the seventh stump line (outside leg, that is). The line is almost comically leg side before he polishes it somewhat to a more respectable ‘just outside leg’ line. No runs and he slows the game. Result gained, I suppose.

Pujara has played no shot or defended 255 balls; that is more balls than all players, other than Smith, have faced in the Test. #IndvAus

7.55am GMT

176th over: India 474-6 (Pujara 182, Saha 78)

Hazlewood, both hands on the ball, is managing to move it both ways. He’s managed to restrict Saha’s scoring for a decent period, but a short ball allows the wicketkeeper to uppercut him towards third man. He didn’t get all of it, but picks up two for his efforts. He’s then inside edging one on to his pads, underscoring Hazlewood’s movement. Still, India march on.

7.52am GMT

175th over: India 471-6 (Pujara 181, Saha 76)

A maiden from O’Keefe to start post drinks proceedings. Very hard to see a flurry of wickets for the visitors here. Many parallels with England now, where they batted deep in the first innings, only to be trounced in the second. What odds that India can elicit some misbehaviour from the wicket when they bowl? Doesn’t seem much doing here.

7.42am GMT

174th over: India 471-6 (Pujara 181, Saha 76)

Hazlewood aims to strangle Pujara down leg but the batsman is up to the task, tickling him fine past a outstretched Wade to the boundary. Later in the over he cuts Pujara in half with one that ducks in mightily. It’s an absolute ripper and Wade does well to glove it. There’s a muted appeal though all and sundry know that while there was a noise, it was solely pad. Better signs for Hazlewood there.

7.38am GMT

173rd over: India 467-6 (Pujara 177, Saha 76)

O’Keefe is spearing into the pads again. A short one afford Pujara a single, otherwise there’s little else notable to speak of.

7.33am GMT

172nd over: India 466-6 (Pujara 176, Saha 76)

Early misbehaviour from a Hazlewood delivery here, as one grubbers through under Saha’s bat through to Wade. Saha is a study in forward defence afterward though. There’s something about diminutive batsmen looking especially balanced, and that’s Saha’s lot here. Hazlewood is searching for some reverse, but anything he gains is negligible. Clamour in the TV comm box about Australia’s lack of bowling variety. I’ll address that next over, but for now enjoy this.

7.28am GMT

171st over: India 466-6 (Pujara 176, Saha 76)

Australia’s evolution to defence continues. O’Keefe is over the wicket, spearing into the pads. India take him on anyway, as Saha dances and tries to loft him over midwicket. He scuffs it (think his bat scraped the ground) and it trickles to deep midwicket. He goes again, trying to hit O’Keefe over long on this time, succeeding only in gaining a leading edge and just clearing mid off. Warner chases it down and gets it in. Was hard not to notice his spikes piercing the covers though – a big no, no in amateur cricket. This is not a diplomatic incident though.

7.24am GMT

170th over: India 460-6 (Pujara 175, Saha 71)

Seriously, where do you bowl? I’ve no doubt Australia have plans, and Hazlewood (who now replaces Cummins) is relentlessly probing, but you know that feeling when the opposition’s bat looks really big? That’s what’s happening now. We’re not quite there yet, but we’re on the verge of full India control mode. Unless Australia can strike, we’ll soon see men out and the waiting game. Hazlewood strikes Saha on the thigh pad late in the over and appeals vociferously, but it was probably going thirty centimetres over sixth stump.

7.20am GMT

169th over: India 457-6 (Pujara 174, Saha 71)

O’Keefe is flatter this over, and he’s well and truly milked. No really sure what that means, but there’s a run to deep cover from Saha, and one through midwicket for Pujara. Looking fairly easy for India now.

7.16am GMT

168th over: India 455-6 (Pujara 173, Saha 70)

Cummins is retained, and you can see why. He manages to hurry up both batsmen from an angle you could describe as very wide of the crease. The short stuff seems to trouble them more than any other trajectory, but even so, the ball floats through to Wade. Again, consecutive singles are exchanged, and the rest is spent in meditative defence. I wonder when the bowling will enter the novelty phase: Renshaw, Wade, Warner. Who would you like to see? Too soon?

7.12am GMT

167th over: India 453-6 (Pujara 172, Saha 69)

And it’s O’Keefe to rifle through an over. He’s flighting them outside off-stump and both Pujara and Saha are circumspect after the former scampers through for one mid-way through the over.

7.09am GMT

166th over: India 452-6 (Pujara 171, Saha 69)

Cummins adjusts his length to something a little shorter here, but he can’t prevent another pair of runs to Saha and Pujara, who don’t look particularly bothered by much on offer. It says something about both the the wicket (not a bad thing! I promise!) and the skill of both batsmen that Cummins’ 140+ efforts are being handled fairly easily. He’s gone all out here has Cummins, but I think we’ll see spin soon. India now lead by one.

7.03am GMT

165th over: India 450-6 (Pujara 170, Saha 68)

Conversation here about the use, or lack thereof, of Glenn Maxwell. Hard to escape the idea that this is the scenario Australia feared heading into the series. Everybody appears to agree that Maxwell should have bowled more. I think it’s been fractionally forgotten that his bowling has regressed fairly significantly in the last little while, and I think Smith knows that. Meanwhile, it’s a quieter over from Hazlewood. Smith removes a slip and goes to a one-and-a-half position, and both players find a run each behind the wicket. India trail by one.

6.58am GMT

164th over: India 448-6 (Pujara 169, Saha 67)

Three overs. Three boundaries. Saha in on the act now – India definitely gleaning advantage from the third new ball. He presents the fullest of faces to a Cummins thunderbolt, giving us a gorgeous off drive to start the over. Cummins then reverts to his favourite length and – in the words of former Australian captain Michael Clarke – “gives him a real sniff. He loves it”. Something really grim about that term, “sniff”. Whatever the case, That’s the length that works for Cummins, and he beats Saha again through there. India finish the over trailing by only three runs though, and will fancy themselves to kick on from here.

6.53am GMT

163rd over: India 444-6 (Pujara 169, Saha 63)

Smith goes with Hazlewood from the other end – understandable given the colour, shape and hardness of this new ball. He’s gives Hazlewood two slips and a standard ring field. That’s about as attacking as it gets for a visiting quick in India, I would have thought. He errs slightly late in the over and Pujara sumptuously works him through mid wicket for four. It’s the shot of a man in imperious touch. Hazlewood then overpitches again but Pujara can’t beat cover. A profitable start for the hosts here.

6.48am GMT

162nd over: India 440-6 (Pujara 165, Saha 63)

So Australia will recommence with Pat Cummins. He holds aloft a new ball, and elicits some away-shape immediately. A quick single starts proceedings, before Saha leans on a square drive that pierces point and cover for four. It was that classic boundary that comes from the new ball – it came onto the bat beautifully and Saha just used the pace. There’s a bit of a post-session feel to this – will India now streak away? I might be getting ahead of myself. Cummins shortens his length in his remaining deliveries. Saha is feeling for it outside his body, but it all feels a bit benign. Cummins finishes with one that screams past Saha’s outside edge. That was encouraging.

6.26am GMT

Afternoon, evening, and – where I am – morning all. I write to you from an eerily empty Guardian HQ, where I’m viewing this match from a high powered computer that won’t yet grant me full access to the blog. But like India at the moment, I will plough on.
Did we just witness the wresting of the series back in India’s favour? Some resolute batting followed by desperate reviews appears to have tipped the scales back in the home side’s favour. Pujara may well be mid-Magnum Opus. He’ll no doubt have his eye on batting for another session if his foil, Wriddhiman Saha, can stay with him. For now, that doesn’t seem to be a problem.

There were a few signs that the pitch may be breaking open, yet worryingly little signs (for Australia) that India might soon succumb. I foresee a home side grabbing further control of this match, followed by a searching examination of Australia’s batting towards the day’s close.

6.11am GMT

The first session of the fourth day in Perth when Australia played South Africa last November was clutch. They had four wickets to get and needed them before lunch to have a chance. The equation was the same this morning. For any realistic chance, this session had to be one for the visitors. But just as it was in Perth, instead it went wicketless.

These 31 overs delivered only 75 runs, but that mattered little for the hosts. The stand between Pujara and Saha now stands at 107, both reaching milestones along the way – the former’s 150, the latter’s half century. Pujara’s hand has now lasted 434 balls. Incredible.

6.02am GMT

161st over: India 435-6 (Pujara 164, Saha 59). They elected to wait for the third new ball. After the failed review, Smith took a long time to get back to his spot, having a chat with the bowler. In other words: doing everything he could ensure it would be just one over. He’s successful. That’s lunch. I’ll gather my thoughts. Back in a tic.

6.00am GMT

NOT OUT! He’s nowhere near it. Worse still: first over of the fresh reviews too, so they’ve doubly blown that one. Can understand them taking the punt to an extent, but it will make their lunch that much worse.

5.58am GMT

REVIEW! Wade has gloved Saha off Lyon. Given not out. No one is that excited. We’ll see?

5.57am GMT

160th over: India 431-6 (Pujara 163, Saha 56). Final over before the third new ball, with eight overs to the lunch break. Three of the easiest singles you’ll see are found into the deep. Harsha says India are safe. With 14 wickets in hand across five sessions, with Australia having to bat for a fair while of that too, I think he’s right.

Won’t be easy for Australia to set a target given they will need time to score the necessary runs. With every half hour, India look safer

5.54am GMT

159th over: India 428-6 (Pujara 162, Saha 54). A single each from the legside early in the over brings up the 100 stand between the pair. Considering where this voyage began when Ashwin was dismissed not long after Nair, it has been vital with the bowlers to come who haven’t shown any resistance this series so far. This was the series that Australia expected back in Dubai. Hard, attritional, painful. How will they respond? They have 23 runs of lead left to play with.

5.51am GMT

158th over: India 426-6 (Pujara 161, Saha 53). Sokka punches through a quick maiden so I’m going to punch out a quick post. I promise, it was uneventful. Two overs to the third new ball. The worst three words in the cricket language I reckon: third new ball.

5.48am GMT

157th over: India 426-6 (Pujara 161, Saha 53). Lyon persists round the wicket. Pujara takes a quick single to begin, reinforcing the control he has over the Australian spin. Saha takes another to the other side of the vast outfield here. Pujara defends the rest. Of course he does.

Jeffrey Earp with some high-quality OBO chat here on the email. “Never Mind the Scoreboard – Here’s the Initials Count,” announces his email.

5.44am GMT

156th over: India 424-6 (Pujara 160, Saha 52). DROPPED! It’s a nightmare for Australia now. Saha has edged O’Keefe and Wade’s gloves haven’t closed at the right time, the small deviation beating him. Composed singles for both to finish the over. Wade knows, too.

And now a chance goes down behind the stumps off O’Keefe’s bowling. Not a great session for the Aussies… #INDvAUS pic.twitter.com/n23M5BKRfI

5.40am GMT

155th over: India 421-6 (Pujara 158, Saha 51). How deflating for Smith and Lyon and everyone involved. The second time today they have felt that release of a lbw decision going their way only for it to be overturned. For the briefest moment they would have thought “great, now he’s gone, we can race through the bowlers and get this finished.” Now? Who knows how long this lasts. Lyon’s over concludes with a single to Pujara to midwicket, once again retaining the strike. Pujara now has 1000 Test runs against Australia.

5.38am GMT

NOT OUT! Missing by a long way. Turned big. Umpire Gould has had his decision overturned. Pujara remains.

5.37am GMT

PUJARA GIVEN LBW TO LYON! Is it missing though? He’s gone upstairs. We’ll find out shortly…

5.35am GMT

154th over: India 419-6 (Pujara 157, Saha 50). Saha’s turn to give the bat a bit of a wave after grabbing one to mid-off, reaching his half-century from exactly 100 balls. Evenly paced, controlled, vital. Further to my shared tweet from the previous over, what exactly does Maxwell have to do to get on? Or Smith himself for that matter? Smith has to try a few things here.

5.33am GMT

153rd over: India 417-6 (Pujara 156, Saha 49). Down the pitch with some fancy footwork goes Saha, and long over the rope for six! Ends up more or less over cow corner with a full swing of the bat. Australia’s dreams of putting on the pads before the lunch break are completely shot. With half an hour till the interval they would be happy now with a solitary breakthrough. Or just Pujara, even. When he gets his go it is business as usual before retaining the strike out to the cover region. Fair bit of hate for Wade on social media for the quarter (tenth?) chance in the previous Lyon over. Tough crowd. But that’s the way it goes when you have the gloves on. Or am I being too kind?

5.30am GMT

152nd over: India 409-6 (Pujara 155, Saha 42). Ravi Shastri on the ABC radio call says that Virat Kohli will field when India head out there at some stage later today. Meanwhile, Sok keeps on at it. Pujara defends until he has the space to whip, two through midwicket. Such a familiar pattern. Great comeback ball from O’Keefe, who beats the bat. First time that’s happened today, I reckon.

5.28am GMT

151st over: India 407-6 (Pujara 153, Saha 42). Lyon is giving it a rip, but the Indian pair are handling him without much trouble here. Both men use their feet to get down the track and take singles down the ground to begin the over. Pujara has another through the onside. The way they are going, the first innings lead will be just about secured by the lunch break.

The all-rounders picked at six this series (M.Marsh, Maxwell) have bowled just 7 out of a total 392.3 overs. #IndvAus

5.25am GMT

150th over: India 404-6 (Pujara 151, Saha 41). Cummins burst has concluded, O’Keefe swung around to the northern end. The spinner is making him answer a question each ball, landing where he needs to. But Pujara continues to be up for the challenge. Then an edge! To end the over. It goes low; Wade has no chance. He’s saved runs flinging the pad out in the end. Deeply frustrating for Smith and co all the same.

5.22am GMT

149th over: India 403-6 (Pujara 150, Saha 41). Saha bunts a single off Lyon to give Pujara the strike on 149. It takes till the final delivery, but he’s pushing behind point for the milestone, 150 runs in 391 balls. Both numbers significant, sapping the energy from this Australian attack. An innings that required him to consolidate with partner after partner. His concentration is immense.

First day of the Bangalore Test must seem a long time ago for Nathan Lyon. 0-188 since then

5.19am GMT

148th over: India 401-6 (Pujara 149, Saha 40). Cummins is back over the wicket after trying to shake things up from the other side in the previous over. The short ball still comes though, Pujara wanting none of it. Nor later in the over when he tries it on again. When full and straight, the Indian no. 3 is pushing out to deep midwicket, the single bringing up the 400. A mighty effort from Pujara, nearing 400 balls faced himself, one run from another personal milestone too. Saha less convincing when Cummins aims a bouncer at his throat, just getting the ball down. Leaning at the last ball, the outside half of his bat makes contact and it skips down to third man for one. A bit streaky, but they’re now only 50 behind.

pic.twitter.com/vdXNynDDs9

5.13am GMT

147th over: India 399-6 (Pujara 148, Saha 39). Lyon v Saha. He turns the third ball past the man at 45 for one. Pujara takes a single at the first time of asking, knocked into midwicket. A biiiig Nathan Lyon shout, down on the knee pleading. He really has the best appeal in the business at the moment. Shame it is missing leg-stump. He has had some success getting decisions from around the wicket to right-handers like that over the journey, so I get the enthusiasm.

Cummins for his second spell this morning feels a little last chancey for Australia. @CricProf has them at a 2.6% on win predictor.

5.11am GMT

146th over: India 397-6 (Pujara 147, Saha 38). Cummins straight back after two overs from Hazlewood. Didn’t expect that. But he is, after all, a young strapping lad. He is round the wicket, continuing with the approach Hazlewood deployed before the drinks break. Pujara ducks then sways. So he has used up his two bouncers right away. Oh, maybe not? Another comes later. He defends between times. Nothing doing here. Maiden.

A counterview on the VVS situation from Nimesh Nambiar. “VVS Said (in reference to maxi’s silly antic) ‘Especially after what happened to Phil Hughes, everyone is concerned when someone gets injured.’ I understand it as you don’t make fun of the injured after such horrific tragedy. He uses Hughes’ accidental demise as a tragic benchmark to say where we should draw the lines when it comes to on-field antics. I can’t seem to find a shred of disrespect to the late Hughes in this totally innocuous comment.”

5.06am GMT

145th over: India 397-6 (Pujara 147, Saha 38). Lyon is on, getting one in before the drinks break is due. A decent amount of spin to begin in at Saha, who uses it to collect two into the on-side. Another comes through midwicket, but the Aussie offie looks in the game. Pujara retains the strike with one of his own to end the set. They drink, the hosts 54 behind. Eight hours Pujara has now batted for.

This is the first Test in India where No. 3 batsman from either side has faced 300+ deliveries – Smith & Pujara. #IndvAus

5.02am GMT

144th over: India 393-6 (Pujara 146, Saha 35). Hazlewood had a little word to Saha after finishing his previous over. That battle continues to begin this over. But only briefly, another taken behind point, the Indians scoring zone of preference this morning. A compact cover drive from Pujara ticks the board over for a further couple. Back to back bumpers come in response. He ducks both, the second coming after a tweak to the field to add an extra catcher on the leg-side. Another shorter one finishes the over. Hazlewood desperate to change the thread of this session before it gets out of hand.

Pete Miller is back to be in response. “I have found the amount of humble pie that has been gobbled up by Australians that got this pitch completely wrong brilliantly entertaining. Schadenfreude is a beautiful ugly thing.” Reasonable. But I challenge anyone to have arrived here two days out and not asked a few questions. It looked horrid and the players agreed. Yet here we are.

4.57am GMT

143rd over: India 390-6 (Pujara 144, Saha 34). Another chapter in the O’Keefe v Pujara test of willspower. Five of six times he’s required to use his bat, and does so with comfort. Maiden. Where’s Lyon, though?

4.54am GMT

142nd over: India 390-6 (Pujara 144, Saha 34). Hazlewood to Pujara. Again he is able to score on the off-side past point. In complete control. Saha clips a couple more through midwicket. A first innings lead looking more likely by the over for the hosts. Hazlewood goes upstairs to try and provoke something ill-considered from Saha, akin to the false stroke from Pujara last time around, but he doesn’t succeed.

Chief cricket writer at The Oz, Peter Lalor, has joined the ABC radio commentary and is off the long run on the VVS Laxman comments from yesterday. He’s not happy. “I’m sorry VVS, you don’t drag Phillip Hughes’ name into something trivial about this,” Lalor said. “Some of them out there were with him when he took his last breath.” A bit of perspective there on why the Australians were so dismayed.

4.48am GMT

141st over: India 387-6 (Pujara 143, Saha 32). Long time since we’ve seen Nath Lyon. Just thought that’s worth noting, as O’Keefe begins a new over. Saha looks at ease driving early in the over, albeit to fielders in the off-side ring. He then beats mid-off for one. Pujara responds by tucking one into midwicket. SOK finds his range with the last ball though, biting and bouncing into Saha’s splice after finally moving round the wicket. But no man catching in there now.

4.45am GMT

140th over: India 385-6 (Pujara 142, Saha 31). The lights are on at the JSCA Stadium. Didn’t expect that before opening the curtains this morning. The haze remains, it’s very dark. Oh, that reminds me – did everyone see the iPhone/light reader malarkey at Wellington the other day? It’s very, very good. Have a look. Back to Hazlewood, Pujara again scores to third man. A couple this time, square of the sweeper out there. Plenty of runs in that direction this morning, both batsmen happy to open the face at will. Back on the front foot, he defends comfortably. So Hazlewood fulfils his obligation to follow with a bouncer. It works, encouraging the hook with no contact. Had he hit it, it could have gone anywhere; didn’t look in control. A small victory to the bowler, but no damage done.

4.41am GMT

139th over: India 383-6 (Pujara 140, Saha 31). Pujara kicks O’Keefe. Until he gets some room, then he turns him into the deep. Easy batting. Saha is a proppy when one slides back towards him, but when he gets the same delivery later in the over it is short enough to take out to midwicket for a couple. A penny for Steve Smith’s thoughts, and all that.

This has been the first time this tour when O’Keefe has struggled with lengths. He’s bowled some too full, but a lot too short.

4.39am GMT

138th over: India 380-6 (Pujara 139, Saha 29). Right, so it’s only a three over stint for Cummins. Understandable given how much work he’ll need to do if they are to win this Test. Hazlewood replaces him and does what he does. He won Saha’s inside edge when bringing the first ball back, but he’s more solid in defence thereafter. The batsmen trade singles behind point to end the over. Good cricket from them, closing in on the Australian total slowly but consistently.

4.35am GMT

137th over: India 378-6 (Pujara 138, Saha 28). Sok to Saha. He gets back and turns to fine leg early in the over for one. That’s the 50 stand between these two. Excellent batting at a vital time. Came together after losing a couple of relatively quick wickets, and Saha has proved the perfect support to Pujara. The latter is defending and kicking, returning to the groove of yesterday’s afternoon session.

Gentle man Petey Miller (don’t let his twitter account deceive you) has corresponded with me via email. This might be a first for us. Given how quiet it is on the twitter, I’m grateful for it.

4.27am GMT

136th over: India 377-6 (Pujara 138, Saha 27). Cummins continues from the northern or pavilion end. He sprays the first ball, a bouncer, high and wide over Pujara’s shoulder. Probably should have been signalled a wide, but isn’t. A carve behind point gets him one. Saha repeats that stroke later int he later. The board is ticking over, both batsmen look relatively set and Cummins is now three overs into what could only be a maximum four or five over spell. Australia may be turning to Plan B rather soon. It’s quiet and they need it to be loud.

4.23am GMT

135th over: India 375-6 (Pujara 137, Saha 26). Short, wide, four. Pujara may be very content in defence, but doesn’t miss out when O’Keefe gives him free runs. A rare bad ball from the left-armer, who has bowled with considerable discipline. He then cuts for one to get down the other end. Saha defends out the over.

4.21am GMT

134th over: India 370-6 (Pujara 132, Saha 26). Is that a dropped catch? Cummins thinks so, off the inside edge, beating Saha after chopping him in half. The replay says it fell short and maybe didn’t hit the edge. In any case, he’s dangerous again. Later in the over he was tickled to fine leg, giving Pujara one Cummins delivery to look at. He steers it with class to third man. No concerns whatsoever for him, now into his third day at the crease.

Pujara vs Cummins

50 balls, 35 runs, 5 boundaries, 36 dots #INDvAUS

4.17am GMT

133rd over: India 368-6 (Pujara 131, Saha 25). The Sok v Che contest continues. Was boring yet riveting stuff late on day three. Sure enough, it is a maiden here as the two feel each other out. Full and flighted the early plan from the spinner.

I have an explanation for the below. Once it becomes apparent that you’re dining with IPL journeyman Dirk Nannes, it’s selfies by extension. Or maybe the deeply suspect tour beard.

Adam Collins wasn’t to be left behind either.Did it have to do with that great hairstyle?@collinsadam @abcgrandstand pic.twitter.com/gkFxMoBFrC

4.12am GMT

132nd over: India 368-6 (Pujara 131, Saha 25). So close to a fifth wicket, Cummins next ball to Saha, after being so close to having him, is driven through the covers for four. That’ll frustrate ya. A bouncer follows. Out the way he gets. The over ends with a couple more for Saha, who started the set the worst possible way and ends it six runs for the better.

An early email in from Nuggehalli Nigam. Thank you for it. “Can we take a moment to acknowledge, amidst the blame, counter blame, sledging and (alleged) cheating, the contribution that these two teams have made to test cricket? The delicate desperate brilliance of Cummins and the Buddha like patience of Che have shown why test cricket can’t be bested. Two teams battling each other in a test of skill and character that will, even if not apparent now, only serve to elevate both the teams.”

4.06am GMT

NOT OUT! Missing down the leg-side. The decision will be overturned by TV Umpire Llong and Saha survives. Blimey. What a start from Cummins; fast and full. But he’ll have to go again.

4.05am GMT

CUMMINS HAS SAHA FIRST BALL LBW! But he is reviewing! STAND BY!

4.04am GMT

131st over: India 362-6 (Pujara 131, Saha 19). Nearly a run out first ball of the day! O’Keefe is operating from the southern end, barely visible through the deep haze. Maybe that influences the batsmen, who decide to set off on a quick single to mid-off. Warner takes a ping, but misses. He was just safe in any case, so fair play to him. After a hurried over, they consider going again to finish the over. Sketchy start.

3.55am GMT

I realised last night that I’m going to boarding a nine hour night bus from Delhi to Dharamsala for the final Test. Not quite the same mode of transport, but this has been in my head ever since. Let it be our pre-play song as we wait for the players.

3.51am GMT

Pat Cummins has had a chat.

To the ABC, before play. The guts of it:

3.40am GMT

Good morning and welcome to Guardian Australia’s live over-by-over coverage from Ranchi on day four of the third Border-Gavaskar Test. It’s Adam Collins here, coming to you from the Southern End of the JSCA Stadium, ready to take you through the first couple of hours. And I can’t bloody wait.

Looking out, it is very hazy with the sun a long way from burning through. No suggestion of rain; it doesn’t do that here. Once we kick off, Australia will need to make their move. We have six sessions to go in this Test and to convert their first innings of 451 into victory, a first innings lead is essential. Anything less will sting. Thankfully the tourists have Pat Cummins. What a guy.

11.48am GMT

Adam will be with you shortly. In the meantime, recap all of yesterday’s extraordinary action in Ranchi.

Related: Pujara century defies Cummins and Australia on third day in Ranchi

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/mar/19/australia-v-india-third-test-day-four-live

Mar 18

Pujara century defies Cummins and Australia on third day in Ranchi

  • India 360-6 at stumps on day three of the third Test, trailing by 91 runs
  • Che Pujara posts monumental century after Pat Cummins’ four wickets

Pat Cummins struck three times on a tense third day of the third Test against India to give Australia hope of a victory that would ensure the visitors retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. The four-Test series is level after two dramatic matches and the contest in Ranchi is on track to be a classic.

India were 360-6 at stumps on Saturday, trailing Australia by 91 runs. Cummins and Josh Hazlewood bent their backs throughout an absorbing day in which wickets and runs were hard to come by. Cheteshwar Pujara became the top-ranked Test side’s first centurion of the series.

Related: Pujara century keeps India in the hunt in Ranchi – as it happened

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/mar/18/pujara-century-defies-cummins-and-australia-on-third-day-in-ranchi

Mar 17

Third Test evenly balanced as India build following Steve Smith masterclass

  • Australia 451; India 120-1 at stumps on day two in Ranchi
  • Smith runs out of partners on 178 before India fight back

India mounted a positive reply after Steve Smith’s unbeaten 178 and Glenn Maxwell’s maiden century powered Australia to a series-high 451 on day two of the third Test.

Lokesh Rahul made an elegant 67, his fourth half-century in five innings, before Pat Cummins dismissed him in the paceman’s first Test after more than five years in the wilderness. 

Related: India fight back on day two of the third Test against Australia – as it happened

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/mar/17/third-test-evenly-balanced-as-india-build-following-steve-smith-masterclass

Mar 17

India fight back on day two of the third Test against Australia – as it happened

  • India 120-1 at stumps on day two in Ranchi
  • Australia post 451 in their first innings
  • Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell make centuries for Australia

11.41am GMT

Here’s your match report:

Related: Third Test evenly balanced as India build following Steve Smith masterclass

11.16am GMT

After Australia prospered this morning, India fought back in the afternoon and evening to leave the third Test beautifully poised.

451 is an imposing total but Australia’s attack looks a tad popgun without Mitchell Starc on a placid surface that’s offering very little to either Nathan Lyon or Steve O’Keefe. KL Rahul batted well for his 67 until he was undone by Pat Cummins’ persistence. Murali Vijay and Che Pujara will resume at the crease tomorrow.

11.06am GMT

40th over: India 120-1 (Vijay 42, Pujara 10)

Final over of the day to be bowled by O’Keefe. A few teasers are thrown up, but Vijay, sans helmet, or cap, knocks them away.

11.04am GMT

39th over: India 120-1 (Vijay 42, Pujara 10)

Vijay’s waited until the opening delivery of the penultimate over of the day to reveal one of the shots of the innings, driving Lyon off the front foot for a glorious four through mid-off.

10.59am GMT

38th over: India 115-1 (Vijay 37, Pujara 10)

As the shadows stretch the width of the romantically named JSA International Stadium Complex, Josh Hazlewood puts his shoulder to the wheel once more. Two slips and a short leg wait for Pujara but the batsmen ignores them all, drilling an on-driven full toss for four.

10.56am GMT

37th over: India 111-1 (Vijay 37, Pujara 6)

Vijay brings up his Cowan ton of 100 balls faced with a single as Lyon continues his angle from around the wicket to the right-handers. The bowler’s line and length are spot on, but there’s just not much happening off the surface to make the batsmen jump like they did in Bengaluru.

Stumps not far away on day two with the Aussies searching for the second wicket… #INDvAUS pic.twitter.com/wGD0rrG30w

10.51am GMT

36th over: India 109-1 (Vijay 36, Pujara 5)

Hazlewood replaces Cummins as Smith maintains pace at one end but this pair now seem happy to see off the day. An up and down maiden leaves little to describe.

10.47am GMT

35th over: India 109-1 (Vijay 36, Pujara 5)

Better from Lyon, troubling Vijay from around the wicket. First almost jagging an LBW review, ended by Gunner Gould telling the bowler the batsman hit the ball, and the second an uppish push that could have gone to short leg.

10.43am GMT

34th over: India 107-1 (Vijay 35, Pujara 4)

Cummins extends his spell to six overs. Sports scientists throughout Australia hold their breath. He can’t repeat his trick of his previous over though, but nor does he breakdown. Presumably that’s his lot for today though, and an excellent shift it’s been. 10/22/1

10.37am GMT

33rd over: India 105-1 (Vijay 35, Pujara 2)

Lyon brought back for another dart but he begins expensively. Vijay sweeps three fours in the over, the third a precise lap, the second a beautiful flat drive beyond square leg, but the first was a streaky top-edge that could have gone anywhere.

It’s been a long, long time between Test wickets for Pat Cummins and didn’t he enjoy this one! #INDvAUS pic.twitter.com/yicpXB0OtE

10.32am GMT

32nd over: India 93-1 (Vijay 23, Pujara 2)

Cummins backs up his wicket ball with a testing opener to Pujara, full and straight. On the money for the rest of the over too. Hard not to smile at the celebration of a man so cruelled by injury for so long. Well done young man. Spell of five overs one for six. Just what his country required with little happening for the spinners.

He’s back!
Cummins breaks Thru with a Bouncer
Mixing up length and pace here
India 1/91#IndvAus

@JPHowcroft Botham’s Shakespearean alter ego wd be either Sir Toby Belch or maybe Stephano. I’m sure the latter’s subservience rules it out

10.30am GMT

Breakthrough for Australia! Cummins’ hard work has paid off. A slower shorter delivery climbs on Rahul and he can’t drop his gloves in time as it chases him inside the line, feathering a simple catch behind. Terrific reward to the young fast bowler for a wholehearted spell.

10.28am GMT

31st over: India 91-0 (Rahul 67, Vijay 23)

Rapid straightforward maiden from O’Keefe.

10.25am GMT

30th over: India 91-0 (Rahul 67, Vijay 23)

Bravo Pat Cummins. On a lifeless surface he’s bending his back and searching for every available advantage, banging the ball in and forcing the batsmen to rear uncertainly, throwing in some cross-seamers, slower balls, and finally a yorker that provokes a strangled cry for LBW.

10.20am GMT

29th over: India 89-0 (Rahul 66, Vijay 23)

“Niiiiice Socky!” has replaced “Niiiice Garry!” as Matthew Wade’s cry of choice. Although it does make me think he’s cheering on a sock-puppet, not an international cricketer.

@JPHowcroft David Boon as Bill Sykes in Oliver. Slightly more intimidating than Oliver Reed

10.18am GMT

28th over: India 84-0 (Rahul 61, Vijay 23)

Cummins bowling a white-ball over, mixing his line, length and pace to keep the batsmen honest. It’s a smart tactic, denying the set batsmen any surety in their strokes. There’s little threat though, especially short of a length, although the final delivery, a slower one, does catch Vijay on his glove after spitting off the pitch.

10.12am GMT

27th over: India 83-0 (Rahul 60, Vijay 23)

O’Keefe’s turn again, but turn is not apparent for the left-armer as straight bats push away an over containing little threat and two singles.

Really pleased to announce a great new signing for @guardian_sport: @marthakelner is to join us as chief sports reporter.

10.09am GMT

26th over: India 81-0 (Rahul 59, Vijay 22)

Cummins begins the final hour of play in just his second first-class game since 2011. Not much doing out there though with dry lines outside off stump making for soporific cricket.

10.06am GMT

Gwynfor Jones wades into the Test thesps chat while players take drinks.

Farokh Engineer- Falstaff, Ashton Agar- Romeo, Kevin Pieterson- Mercutio, Rob Key- Bottom, Geoffrey Boycott- Titus Andronicus.

10.04am GMT

10.03am GMT

25th over: India 80-0 (Rahul 59, Vijay 21)

India have retreated for a few overs with the pacemen in tandem, sensing Cummins and Hazlewood are the dangermen for Australia. Or maybe not. Rahul enjoys a briskly run two from a push to wide third-man to break the shackles and he then steps neatly inside an in-swinger angled down the leg-side to glance four more. This partnership becoming very problematic for Smith.

@JPHowcroft Nathan Lyon looks a bit like Yorick.

9.57am GMT

24th over: India 74-0 (Rahul 53, Vijay 21)

Cummins returns for his second spell of the match with four deliveries on the money before his fifth, a slower ball, comes out a drifty full toss that earns Rahul a single. Not the same swing on offer as with Hazlewood.

Love to see Pat Cummins bowl a @Liam628 spell and bowl around the wicket armpit length!#IndvAus #aggressive

@JPHowcroft After an all-time great innings, Smith is captaining like a schoolboy. Too defensive, missing opportunities, failing his bowlers

9.52am GMT

23rd over: India 73-0 (Rahul 52, Vijay 21)

Hazlewood continuing with the early-over inswingers and Vijay decides to honour them this time, playing away a maiden.

9.47am GMT

22nd over: India 73-0 (Rahul 52, Vijay 21)

Lyon from around the wicket and Vijay peels off a paddle sweep over his left shoulder with all the insouciance of a falconer inviting a Golden Eagle to perch on his forearm. Rahul ups the ante with a sweep so whippy his wrists were at risk of overtaking his hands. That boundary brings up another excellent 50 for KL Rahul, his fourth in five digs this series.

9.44am GMT

21st over: India 68-0 (Rahul 48, Vijay 20)

Hazlewood getting some dangerous reverse swing both ways. Three full in-duckers have both right-handers jamming down on their toes at the crease and then an away swinger finds Vijay’s edge but it dies as it skcuttles through the cordon for a fortunate four.

9.40am GMT

9.39am GMT

20th over: India 61-0 (Rahul 42, Vijay 19)

Lyon to persist with his new line of attack around the wicket but with only two close catchers and some nimble shot-placement and running, both Rahul and Vijay continue to prosper. The latter picks up four with a thick edge beyond the solitary slip but the shot was on.

9.36am GMT

19th over: India 55-0 (Rahul 41, Vijay 14)

Important moment half an hour into this session with Hazlewood recalled to the attack. Straight away he’s on the money, probing Vijay’s pads with a hint of reverse in-swing. David Warner is working hard on the ball to make sure any possible movement is maximised, but it’s Vijay making the ball move in the middle of the over, dispatching an overpitched delivery to the cover boundary.

9.31am GMT

18th over: India 51-0 (Rahul 41, Vijay 10)

Lyon switching around the wicket to the right-handers now and with that change comes some extra bounce and turn. Finally a little bit of encouragement for Lyon. Nothing much comes of it this over, but something to build from.

9.27am GMT

17th over: India 49-0 (Rahul 40, Vijay 9)

Reinforcing my earlier point, the host broadcaster reminding viewers that when England were here recently they scored 400 in their first innings twice and contrived to lose. Another routine over of innocuous O’Keefe deliveries and calmly placed singles.

9.24am GMT

16th over: India 46-0 (Rahul 38, Vijay 8)

Vijay much more circumspect that his partner, keeping Lyon at arm’s length for most of the over, but even he unfurls a rapidly swishing sweep to advance his score. India picking off Australia’s length here, knowing they’re unlikely to be beaten by turn or bounce. Back to the seamer’s soon you’d expect.

9.21am GMT

15th over: India 44-0 (Rahul 37, Vijay 7)

As O’Keefe continues his toil the old adage about judging a surface only after both sides have used it comes to mind. 451 is clearly a decent total for Australia but this pitch contains few demons. As if to prove it Rahul scores on both sides of the wicket off front foot and back.

9.18am GMT

14th over: India 36-0 (Rahul 30, Vijay 6)

Another over with little to report for either side. Rahul’s premeditated sweep further illustrates his security at the crease, but also the limiting effects of his shoulder injury.

9.16am GMT

13th over: India 35-0 (Rahul 29, Vijay 6)

Tidy maiden over from O’Keefe, probing a fullish length outside the right-hander’s off stump. Not much has misbehaved so far though making life sedate for India’s openers.

9.13am GMT

12th over: India 35-0 (Rahul 29, Vijay 6)

India happy to sweep Lyon away for the time being, milking singles at will while Australia wait for the ball to deteriorate sufficiently to become helpful to Hazlewood and Cummins.

9.10am GMT

11th over: India 32-0 (Rahul 28, Vijay 4)

First false stroke since Tea with O’Keefe prompting Rahul to edge just wide of the solitary slip. This fast outfield sees the insult of four runs added to the bowler’s injury. Otherwise it’s slow turn and not much bounce for O’Keefe, meaning the batsmen can play comfortably from the crease.

9.06am GMT

10th over: India 26-0 (Rahul 23, Vijay 3)

Spin from both ends as Nathan Lyon has a dart. Not a lot on offer from either Australian slow bowler so far. India’s openers work a couple of singles to keep the scoreboard ticking over.

9.03am GMT

9th over: India 24-0 (Rahul 22, Vijay 2)

Back underway in Ranchi with Steve O’Keefe charged with the first over after Tea. He’s coming around the wicket to the right-handed Rahul and after nudging a few deliveries back down the pitch the batsman rocks back in his crease and controls a square drive for four. Excellent resumption from India.

9.00am GMT

During the tea interval the Australian TV feed is recalling the tied Test of 1986 with Allan Border.

Not many people know that Dean Jones vomited during his innings of 210.

8.54am GMT

Thank you very much Mr Lemon.

A fascinating final session in prospect with Australia pushing for an early breakthrough and India desperate for the top-order partnership they need to creep their way back into the Test match.

8.44am GMT

That’s the break, India starting solidly enough in reply to Australia’s impressive total. In honesty, this pitch looks like it still has plenty of runs in it. Geoff Lemon out, and I don’t know if tones can be dulcet in the written form, but if they can then JP Howcroft will be the man to deliver them. I’ll leave you in his voicebox.

8.41am GMT

8th over: India 20-0 (Rahul 18, Vijay 2)

Cummins arriving at the end of his usual T20 spell. Not bad for a fourth T20 over, it only costs him 9 runs. The first a cover drive, the second a classic T20 edge through third man, and Rahul the batsman profiting from both. Then a single through cover, a final leave from Vijay, and that is tea.

8.36am GMT

7th over: India 11-0 (Rahul 9, Vijay 2)

Do you know what I love? Fast overs of left-arm spin. Steve O’O’O’Keefe is going to bowl one, at least, before tea. Around the wicket, wheeling in, those grenade lobs that he employs to begin a spell. A couple of singles driven, that’s all.

8.34am GMT

6th over: India 9-0 (Rahul 8, Vijay 1)

Finally a shot with some fluency. In the air, but Rahul uses Cummins’ pace as he flicks off his pads. Between Marsh at short leg and Lyon at midwicket, and four. More quick stuff from Cummins follows, up past the 90 mile mark at points. Can’t deny it’s exciting. The question is can it last?

8.29am GMT

5th over: India 5-0 (Rahul 4, Vijay 1)

The struggle is real. Another Hazlewood over for just a run, this coming again from the short ball, pulled by Rahul. Tight stuff.

8.25am GMT

4th over: India 4-0 (Rahul 3, Vijay 1)

Cummins is giving this his all. Might as well, with the new ball and not much time to use it. Puts some real venom into the bouncers, and even his shortest ball is up at 87 miles per hour. The only runs come from Rahul’s gloves, as he flinches away from a short ball and could have been caught anywhere.

8.21am GMT

3rd over: India 3-0 (Rahul 2, Vijay 1)

Hazlewood doing that thing that he does. Beating the bat on the inside edge, hitting Vijay too high to be leg-before. Then beating him on the outside edge, through into Wade’s gloves. Eventually Vijay escapes the examination by pulling a short ball. Rahul adds a run of his own on the other side of the wicket.

8.18am GMT

2nd over: India 1-0 (Rahul 1, Vijay 0)

Yes indeed. Pat Cummins last bowled in Barack Obama’s first term in office. Or Nick Fredriksson’s more charming comparison below. His first over back (Pat’s, not Nick’s) is a good one. Mid 140 km/h range, useful line, a couple of shorter ones. It’s a maiden, as Rahul plays with caution.

@WhiteLineWire Pat Cummins’ previous Test match was closer to the redefining of Pluto as a dwarf planet than to today.

8.12am GMT

1st over: India 1-0 (Rahul 1, Vijay 0)

Hazlewood to start with the new ball. Nearly a run out first ball, as KL Rahul goes on a mad dash after driving to mid-on. O’Keefe misses. Vijay leaves, defends.

8.01am GMT

137.3 overs: Australia 451-10 (Smith 178)

Steven Smith, not out at the end, what an innings from the captain. He’s equalled his longest ever knock, at 361 balls faced, and his fourth-highest in terms of runs. Third-highest score in Asia by an Australian captain, as well, after Greg Chappell’s 235 and Mark Taylor’s 334. He’s remained calm, batted deep, and made India work for a day and a half in the field. That’s an imposing first-innings score to try to get past, and it’s going to be a question of whether India’s batsmen can reciprocate in terms of patience and pressure. No one is going to smash their way to supremacy on this surface, but it will reward those with a longer view.

7.57am GMT

He is the specialist at being run out at the non-striker’s end for nought, and Hazlewood does it again. It was Smith’s call, he flicked a single away behind square from Jadeja’s third ball, wanted to get back for the second, but the throw was good enough. Jadeja gathers it in front of the stumps and underhand flicks it back into the timber just ahead of Hazlewood’s bat reaching its ground.

7.49am GMT

137th over: Australia 450-9 (Smith 177, Hazlewood 0)

One wicket to fall. Hazlewood in, and Smith is clearly not too confident. He tries to murder the first ball from Yadav through cover, misses. Then drives the next into the deep but doesn’t take the single. The field well back. Same goes for the third ball. Takes the single from the fourth, after driving it into his pad from the inside edge. There is no one within cooee, and the bowler cleans up his own work. Comes round the wicket to the left-handed Hazlewood, but he survives the last two full-pitched balls.

7.44am GMT

136th over: Australia 449-9 (Smith 176)

Jaddu gets five-for. So dangerous in these conditions, so good against Australia. Lyon scores his sole run from the outside edge, but a couple of balls later the next edge goes to the man in close on the off side to end the over.

7.41am GMT

135th over: Australia 446-8 (Smith 174, Lyon 0)

Yadav celebrates the wicket by falling over as he tries to bowl his second ball at Lyon. Does an accidental leprechaun heel-click and goes rump over breast. Comes up smiling at the end of a dramatic forward roll. Lyon survives the next couple of balls.

7.36am GMT

Geological eruption! Yadav bangs in the short ball, there’s good pace on it. He’s conjured that from somewhere deep in his molten core. O’Keefe can’t resist the hook shot, and it carries down to long leg for a routine take. That’s O’Keefe’s Test highs core, and he’s lasted 70 balls. Useful stuff.

7.33am GMT

134th over: Australia 445-7 (Smith 173, O’Keefe 25)

Ashwin wheels on. This is screaming in the face of eternity. He is tiring, bowling some wide stuff, and the batsmen work three runs. This slow accumulation. Does a rock feel pain as centuries of water erode it?

7.30am GMT

133rd over: Australia 442-7 (Smith 171, O’Keefe 24)

Yadav carries on. Too wide, Smith is able to drive a single. Yadav is getting some reverse though now. Gee, he’s good. O’Keefe is watchful, waits out the rest of the over.

7.24am GMT

132nd over: Australia 441-7 (Smith 170, O’Keefe 24)

Ashwin still operating over the wicket, spinning the ball as much as he can in towards the right-hander’s pads and gloves. Smith waits back on a couple,t he comes forward to drive a single. He’s worked these spin bowlers supremely through this innings. It has been an absolute study in concentration. He’s just equalled his second-longest innings at 346 balls.

7.20am GMT

131st over: Australia 440-7 (Smith 169, O’Keefe 24)

Another misfield. India beginning to tire. It’s been a long slog. Karun Nair lets the ball through at cover for a single. O’Keefe has a couple of short midwickets, and slams the ball off his pads straight at one of them. Yadav sticking to the classic stump-to-stump theory. Then O’Keefe gets a short one to close the over, it sits up nicely and he clouts it away on the pull shot for four.

7.16am GMT

130th over: Australia 435-7 (Smith 168, O’Keefe 20)

Another Jadeja maiden, he’s going at 2.5 an over, which is expensive for him and cheap for everyone else.

7.15am GMT

129th over: Australia 435-7 (Smith 168, O’Keefe 20)

Pace. Sigh of relief for the fingers of the world’s live bloggers. Umesh Yadav is back. Smith drives a run into the covers. O’Keefe plays the classic tailender’s ‘glide’ to third man. Smith gets one that barely gets off the pitch, that’s interesting, this pitch has the possibility to become very difficult alter with some variable bounce. He gets a run after squirting the rushed defensive shot away. O’Keefe gets one too far to leg side and is able to dink it away. Four singles from the over.

7.08am GMT

128th over: Australia 431-7 (Smith 166, O’Keefe 18)

Nailed it! O’Keefe gets some width from Jadeja and pounds the cut shot for four.

7.05am GMT

127th over: Australia 426-7 (Smith 165, O’Keefe 14)

So nearly gone! The Smith single to start the over was regulation, but then Ashwin turns one into O’Keefe. The batsman stabs at it, it takes the inside edge, into the thigh pad, over the middle bail, and eludes the wicketkeeper’s gloves. Four runs.

7.03am GMT

126th over: Australia 421-7 (Smith 164, O’Keefe 10)

Jadeja stays left-arm over the wicket. It takes Smith four balls to get off strike this time. A big shout against SOK next ball, but it’s hitting bat first as it strikes him in line.

7.01am GMT

125th over: Australia 420-7 (Smith 163, O’Keefe 10)

Ashwin bowling, and Smith ticks a single through square, before O’Keefe advances and slots one straight down the ground for a much more convincing boundary then his last. I bet he congratulated himself in the third-person tense after that.

6.58am GMT

124th over: Australia 415-7 (Smith 162, O’Keefe 6)

Shot! Steve Smith on-drives Jadeja from a leg-stump line. Four runs to start the over. Tickles a single. O’Keefe is getting a lot of balls pitching outside leg stump, and kicks them away.

6.57am GMT

123rd over: Australia 410-7 (Smith 157, O’Keefe 6)

Missed! O’Keefe slashes at Ashwin outside off, thick edge, and it goes just over the cap of a crouching Rahane at slip. The stand-in captain had no chance to even see that before it was past him, I’d suggest. But I’d bet Kohli is still spitting chips.

6.53am GMT

122nd over: Australia 406-7 (Smith 157, O’Keefe 2)

Variations on a theme. Now the Smith single comes through a misfield in close on the leg side. Then O’Keefe gets a run! Irish parties around the world light up. More so because it came off an edge, through a vacant gully, where a catcher had been stationed just a ball or two earlier.

6.50am GMT

121st over: Australia 404-7 (Smith 156, O’Keefe 1)

And again, except this time the single is from the third ball. Smith’s live average is now 61.20. What even.

6.48am GMT

120th over: Australia 403-7 (Smith 155, O’Keefe 1)

Identical over bar the arm of the bowler. Jadeja delivering it. Smith drives the second ball down the gorund for one, O’Keefe is the blotter for the rest.

6.45am GMT

119th over: Australia 402-7 (Smith 154, O’Keefe 1)

Single to Smith to long on. Steven O’Keefe, the most appropriate Australian player to be commenting about on St Patrick’s Day, will really kick things off after lunch with the bat, and Ashwin with the ball. We know O’Keefe can play long, he was part of the incredible 8-161 partnership with Peter Nevill in Pallekele last year. Blocks out four balls with studious intent.

6.39am GMT

As ever, you can drop me a line – and please do take up that option, even if I’m lost in a whir of Jadeja overs and furious keystrokes. The email is over in the sidebar, and the Twitter whatsit is @GeoffLemonSport.

6.25am GMT

Hello friends and sports fans, thanks Russell for the last session. What a treat we have ahead of us. This is the series that just keeps giving. Steven Smith is a cyborg, that’s the only explanation for it. Glenn Maxwell is pure excitement, even in defence.

6.23am GMT

Meanwhile, in New Zealand…

What is this? pic.twitter.com/MfDQ4vCCtM

6.07am GMT

One final observation before Geoff Lemon steps in to the OBO chair…

India have been conservative with Virat Kohli’s injury and given the below details, that’s smart.

India have confirmed with the match officials that Kohli’s injury is external so he doesn’t have field before batting anywhere. #INDvAUS

6.02am GMT

118th over: Australia 401-7 (Smith 153, O’Keefe 1)

And that is that for the opening session of day two, which featured Glenn Maxwell’s maiden Test century, the inevitable continuation of Steve Smith’s 19th, and a stellar bowling rearguard by Ravindra Jadeja. He’s got four wickets to this point. Sloppy outfielding helped bring up Australia’s 400 in this over, which was fitting enough. Honours slightly in Australia’s favour, in the end? I think so. They managed 102-3 in that session. That’s a win.

5.58am GMT

117th over: Australia 398-7 (Smith 150, O’Keefe 1)

Ten minutes ago Steve O’Keefe probably wasn’t expecting to be out in the middle before lunch, but that he is thanks to Ravindra Jadeja. O’Keefe pushes forward to Ravichandran Ashwin and gets a safe outside edge down to third man to get off the mark. Steve Smith then gets a single too – it keeps him on strike and helps him to his 150-run milestone. Bit of a fizzer, the celebration, but what a knock it has been. It’s taken 315 deliveries and required significant powers of concentration. His genius is almost monotonous at this point.

5.55am GMT

Jadeja gets Cummins for a duck! That’s an absolute jaffa from the spinner. He came around the wicket to right-handed Cummins, angled one towards leg and the Australian groped at but couldn’t make contact with the ball and loses the top of his off stump. A classic spinner’s wicket, that. Jadeja is now on the brink of another five-wicket bag and India are right back in the frame.

5.52am GMT

Wade departs! And rather tellingly, he does so with a forward defensive stroke. All-out attack netted him 37 from 50 deliveries – very valuable runs for Australia – but in respecting the bowling a little more he’s been nipped out by India’s best bowler so far. It was a smart take by Saha after a thin outside edge.

5.49am GMT

115th over: Australia 393-5 (Smith 147, Wade 36)

Ashwin is perhaps pushing it through a little too quick here I reckon, though he does have a couple of hundred more Test wickets than me. Michael Clarke is laying into India, saying they’re trying to save runs instead of search for wickets. He’s not too far wrong.

5.46am GMT

114th over: Australia 392-5 (Smith 147, Wade 35)

Jadeja is over the wicket to Wade and bowling from as wide on the bowling crease as the lines allow. It matters not; Wade engages in that unorthodox trot down the pitch before swiping another sweep through mid-wicket for four. He’s becoming an absolute pest for India, and now it is they who wish the lunch break would hurry up.

Genuinely thinking about bumping Glenn up a spot on my list of forty funniest cricketers after today’s first ball. #Maxwellball pic.twitter.com/iOIcZAxc8C

5.43am GMT

113th over: Australia 386-5 (Smith 146, Wade 30)

We’re just under 20 minutes from lunch on day two and the session is really starting to slip away from India. Now Wade biffs Ashwin through square leg for four, and actually just seems to be having fun with his batting. It’s most irritating for Virat Kohli as he sits up in the changing rooms, I’m sure.

5.39am GMT

112th over: Australia 381-5 (Smith 145, Wade 26)

Every time Matthew Wade walks down the pitch and tries to sweep Ravindra Jadeja, a dog-eared copy of Don Bradman’s ‘The Art of Cricket’ spontaneously combusts. It’s a sight and a half, is what I’m saying. Still, Jadeja even rips one past the outside edge of Steve Smith in this over, and that’s not something we’ve seen very often so far. Steve O’Keefe will be liking the look of that. Smith will like the look of his partnership stats; a single here means he and Wade have shared in a 50-run stand from just 10.4 overs. Jadeja looked like running through the tail half an hour ago. Now India are labouring.

5.36am GMT

111th over: Australia 379-5 (Smith 144, Wade 25)

Ashwin finally appears! But it’s not all good for India; Wade treats him like a rental car, skipping down the track and flogging one out to cow corner for a boundary. There follow some reactionary field changes. It’s not exactly inspiring stuff from the home side. They miss Kohli like Van Halen miss David Lee Roth.

5.33am GMT

110th over: Australia 372-5 (Smith 144, Wade 18)

In lieu of any Ashwin action, Jadeja is the threat here, but even he is troubling Wade a little less than in previous overs. Wade hasn’t played himself in, has he? As you ponder that, also ponder Nicholas Jewlachow’s great shadow golf suggestion: Craig Bellamy’s goal celebration against Barcelona in 2007.

5.30am GMT

109th over: Australia 370-5 (Smith 143, Wade 17)

Still no Ravichandran Ashwin. So Umesh gets another over, and Matthew Wade gets himself another boundary by opening up the face of the bat and running one to the vacant third man region. This is real dross from Rahane and Umesh; the paceman is not looking like taking a wicket and he’s not keeping things tight either.

5.25am GMT

108th over: Australia 364-5 (Smith 142, Wade 12)

Wade is just winding the Indians up now; he and Smith get through for a three that really should have been just the two. Then the Victorian keeper plays all around a big off break, which races away for four byes. Jadeja is really bringing them in out of the rough. The expiry date on Wade’s innings appears quite close.

Virat would be going nuts over these fielding errors. There’d be rockets. #INDvAUS

5.21am GMT

107th over: Australia 356-5 (Smith 139, Wade 11)

What’s wrong with Ravichandran Ashwin? Ishant gets a rest now but it’s Umesh Yadav replacing him. Matthew Wade rejoices in his reduced risk of dismissal by hammering the paceman through cover for a crisp boundary. He’ll be loving this. Indian Twitter, on the other hand, would like a very loud word with Ajinkya Rahane about his bowler rotation strategy.

5.16am GMT

106th over: Australia 349-5 (Smith 137, Wade 6)

In fairness to Matthew Hayden, sequential replays of each of the half-dozen deliveries bowled to Glenn Maxwell before his demise provided gripping viewing a moment ago. Jadeja was forcing him back and forcing him back, and the wicket ball was just a little bit shorter and bounced a little bit more. Seeing them all on end highlighted his canny variations. He’s also conceded only seven runs in six overs today, and continues to tighten the screws on Wade. Slowly but surely, he might be turning the game.

5.13am GMT

105th over: Australia 346-5 (Smith 135, Wade 5)

Breaking: Brett Lee was wrong. The ball definitely bounced before slapping into Wriddhiman Saha’s gloves in Ishant’s last over. Why were the broadcasters so excited about it? It almost took a divot out of the ground in the end. As Ishant labours away, Matthew Hayden is talking about all of Ravindra Jadeja’s “blue balls”. I think he’s referring to pitch-map technology this time.

5.08am GMT

104th over: Australia 345-5 (Smith 134, Wade 5)

Matthew Wade is in a spot of bother here in his attempts to handle Jadeja. He’s getting a long way outside off stump to try and negate the spin coming in to him from the footmarks, but he looks like a sitting duck as he shuffles around. His brightest spot so far is the final delivery of this over, which he whips through mid-wicket for a stress-relieving boundary.

Steve Smith (134no) now has the highest score by an Australia captain in India, beating Michael Clarke’s 130 in Chennai, 2013 #INDvAUS

5.02am GMT

103rd over: Australia 341-5 (Smith 134, Wade 1)

Ishant is steaming in with plenty of energy to Wade, who gets off the mark with a drive to long on. Drama ensues when Smith sends a bottom-edge behind the wicket and it doesn’t carry to keeper Wriddhiman Saha. Or does it? Replays soon show that the Indian keeper was overly cautious to wave off celebrations. It might have carried after all! Unlucky is Ishant’s middle name at the moment. Soon after Smith flays him through mid-wicket with that signature closed-face flick. Worse: Umesh and Pujara make a hash of a regulation stop at cover and it runs away for four more. Ishant is cursed.

4.56am GMT

102nd over: Australia 332-5 (Smith 126, Wade 0)

Hmm, Matthew Wade is the new man at the crease here and he’s immediately playing an impetuous sweep and copping one to his helmet. He gets a bye for his troubles but Ravindra Jadeja has done the trick again for India, ending a 191-run stand between Smith and Maxwell.

Glenn Maxwell is 13th person to score 100 in all 3 forms of international #cricket
2nd for AUS after Shane Watson#INDvAUS

4.54am GMT

Jadeja gets the breakthrough! And with that, Glenn Maxwell’s superb stand comes to an end. The ball was short and spinning away from him, and after transferring his weight onto the back foot he was trying to punch it through cover with a straight bat, but instead feathers an edge behind to Saha. The umpire’s finger is straight up and Maxwell elects not to review. That 104 came from 185 deliveries and proved every single doubter wrong. He’s a Test-quality batsman and now the entire cricket world has to admit it.

4.52am GMT

101st over: Australia 331-4 (Smith 126, Maxwell 104)

Ishant is back into the attack now, and here’s a little more on Glenn Maxwell’s hundred: it featured nine boundaries, two sixes, and is his sixth century in first-class cricket. More pressing: India have just missed an opportunity to run out Steve Smith

Maxwell looked to be in tears as he leant over. He knows it is a moment that could very well change the rest of his life. #INDvAUS

4.47am GMT

100th over: Australia 328-4 (Smith 124, Maxwell 103)

This Jadeja over couldn’t hope to compete with Maxwell’s milestone, and so it proves, though it is a maiden. Instead let’s turn to this lovely email from Daniel McDonald.

4.43am GMT

99th over: Australia 328-4 (Smith 124, Maxwell 103)

He’s done it! Glenn Maxwell is a Test centurion! It comes from the final delivery of the Umesh over, which is short and slashed through the cordon region to pick up four runs. How else would he do it? It’s taken him 180 deliveries and gotten his side out of a spot of bother, this knock. Superb stuff. Nothing less than a very dedicated cricketer deserves.

4.38am GMT

98th over: Australia 323-4 (Smith 123, Maxwell 99)

Glenn Maxwell has…played out a maiden, though not without incident. Ravindra Jadeja reckoned his penultimate delivery had claimed an edge but he’s wrong. This is very tense.

4.34am GMT

97th over: Australia 323-4 (Smith 123, Maxwell 99)

In fact Umesh gets another over, and Glenn Maxwell is watching him like a hawk. Umesh digs one in and Maxwell thinks it’s about to whistle past his ears, but it keeps low and cracks him on the shoulder. Grimaces all round. Maxwell gets a thick edge next up and it runs down to third man for one. Oof. He’s on 99. Squeaky bum time.

4.31am GMT

96th over: Australia 322-4 (Smith 123, Maxwell 98)

Time for some spin now as Ravi Jadeja rolls his arm over for the first time on day two. For Smith he’s got a silly point, a slip, and a short mid-on. “That’s a good move by Ajinkya Rahane,” says Sunny Gavaskar – words that didn’t often pass anyone’s lips yesterday. “It’s a truly benign wicket,” adds Matthew Hayden, perhaps wanting to pile further indignity on all the journalists who claimed it would be a minefield. A maiden for Jadeja. With Maxwell on strike next over and possibly nervous about his impending milestone, you’d think Ravichandran Ashwin will be asked to have a bowl.

4.28am GMT

95th over: Australia 322-4 (Smith 123, Maxwell 98)

As Umesh continues with his third over of the day, Craig Little arrives with a truly excellent shadow-sport anecdote. “Brisbane Bears forward Martin Heffernan got caught air-golfing during a game by Robert Walls,” he says. “After the game Walls asked Heffernan if he wanted to be a footballer or a golfer and he said “golfer”, thereby ending his five-game AFL career.” Brutal.

4.22am GMT

94th over: Australia 316-4 (Smith 123, Maxwell 92)

Glenn Maxwell rubbishes the 87 hoodoo by moving to 91 with an expertly-angled dab through gully, which hits he rope and leaves man-bunned Ishant shaking his head in disgust. He didn’t delete your Soundcloud account, Ishant. Nervous 90s for Maxwell. He then plays his most Maxwellian stroke so far; a duck-hook is the only way to describe it, as he was taking evasive action as he paddled it down to fine leg. He and Ishant really should collaborate on a remix.

4.17am GMT

93rd over: Australia 310-4 (Smith 123, Maxwell 87)

If you’re worried about Virat Kohli, he’s still off the ground. If you’re worried about Paul Connolly’s state of mind, and his shadow-batting form slump, fear not. “It’s the melancholy swimming in my Irish blood what does it,” he says. “Then again, my shadow penalty shots are routinely slotted into the top right corner. Unsaveable.” Related to all this: shadow golf is just not on, I reckon. Maybe I’m revealing some prejudices here but when have you ever liked someone who shadow golfs? Back in Ranchi, Glenn Maxwell has reached 87, the so-called unlucky number of Australian cricket. So unlucky, in fact, it was the year they won a world cup.

4.12am GMT

92nd over: Australia 308-4 (Smith 122, Maxwell 86)

As expected, Ishant Sharma pairs with Yadav to begin the day and he gets the same treatment from Smith as Umesh got from Maxwell; the Aussie skipper glides him down to the vacant third man boundary when his line strays a little wide outside off stump. Ishant approaches Maxwell from wide on the crease, firing it in on a middle stump line, but Maxwell is forward and defending with Dravidesque impenetrability, then sways out the way of a bouncer. Dad joke time:

@rustyjacko Maxwell batting on a “masala” pitch: does he have the tikka?

4.06am GMT

91st over: Australia 303-4 (Smith 117, Maxwell 86)

Umesh Yadav is granted the task of bowling the first delivery of day two and it SNAPS GLENN MAXWELL’S BAT IN HALF! OK, perhaps I should temper my enthusiasm here; it was only 137 kmph and Maxwell was playing a confident forward defence when it happened. Bizarre. It was a bit like the Ryan Harris-Michael Carberry one during the 2013-14 Ashes, though perhaps far less metaphoric in its ominous qualities.

4.00am GMT

We’re a few minutes away from the opening delivery

…and The Guardian’s own Paul Connolly writes in. “I need to spend more time in the shadow nets when it comes to my shadow batting,” he says. “Keep getting inside edges onto the stumps. I blame the warped floorboards.”

3.52am GMT

The pitch

“All in all, it looks like a good wicket to me,” says Brett Lee. “This is a masala pitch,” adds Sunil Gavaskar, at which point his audio cuts out. I assume he means that in a positive sense? Who knows? What is certain is that batting first is a decent advantage in this game, and Australia are surely setting their sights on 450+. Another few hours of Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell batting and that should be a cinch.

3.50am GMT

Shadow-batting time

And there is surely no more fun thing to do in your office/living room/train carriage, is there? I’m a big fan of shadow-bowling, as well. In the two years I’ve lived in my current house, I reckon I’ve taken at least 275 imaginary wickets down the long, narrow hallway. A word of warning: always make sure the coast is clear. There is nothing worse for guests than copping the full force of your delivery stride when you’re trying to dismiss imaginary Graeme Smith. It also stops you from dismissing imaginary Graeme Smith, of course.

Maxwell shadow batting in the middle while the teams warm up around him. Play resumes here at JSCA Stadium in about half an hour. #INDvAUS pic.twitter.com/96S8FzSzkk

3.45am GMT

Other things to look forward to

Virat Kohli’s return? He’s warming up on the ground at the moment, but he’s also wearing Wayfarer-style sunglasses, rather than yer wraparound type favoured by most players. Casual sunglasses! Is this a sign? Maybe.

3.39am GMT

Preamble

Hello all and welcome to day two of this Ranchi Test between Australia and India – the match that might decide this series. Russell Jackson here to take you through the first session, before Geoff Lemon and JP Howcroft swing by to mop up the tail.

12.38am GMT

Russell will be here shortly. In the meantime, catch up on all the details from day one:

Related: Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell dominate India on day one in Ranchi

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/mar/17/india-v-australia-third-test-day-two-live

Mar 16

Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell dominate India on day one in Ranchi

  • Australia 299-4 at stumps on day one of the third Test against India
  • Smith (117) and Maxwell (83) undefeated in 159-run partnership

Steve Smith’s 19th Test century and Glenn Maxwell’s breakthrough batting performance pushed Australia to 299-4 at stumps on day one of the third Test against India. Smith and Maxwell dominated the hosts on Thursday, sharing an unbeaten 159-run stand in Ranchi.

It is already Australia’s highest fifth-wicket Test partnership in India and comfortably the highest stand in the ongoing four-Test series. Smith’s class, Maxwell’s composure, India’s misfields and Virat Kohli’s shoulder injury have handed Australia the perfect platform to push for a victory that will ensure they retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy.

Related: India v Australia: third Test, day one – live!

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/mar/16/steve-smith-and-glenn-maxwell-dominate-india-on-day-one-in-ranchi

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