India beat Australia by 137 runs to win third Test

India's captain Virat Kohli (R) and teammate Ishant Sharma (L) watch the rain come down on the final day of the third cricket Test match between Australia and India in Melbourne on December 30, 2018. (Photo by WILLIAM WEST / AFP)

Australia and India were reduced to looking the heavens as the Victorian capital woke up to a wet Sunday – the hosts hoping for the rain to continue and the tourists praying for it to stop. Google Trends for ‘Melbourne weather’ showed unprecedented searches from India and their team supporters, who had turned up in large numbers expecting an Indian win, waited patiently for the weather to clear.         

The Indian team waited anxiously for two hours for the action to resume, and it took them no more than 18 minutes and 27 balls to complete the formalities.

Jasprit Bumrah ended Pat Cummins’ 114-ball resistance in the third over of the day with an away moving delivery that the right-hander had to play at and the resultant thick edge was smartly caught at slip by Cheteshwar Pujara. In the next over, Ishant Sharma had a pulling Nathan Lyon caught off a top-edge by Rishabh Pant as Australia, overnight 258/8, folded for 261 in 89.3 overs on the final day of the third Test here at the MCG. As the final wicket fell, the Indians erupted in wild celebrations, both on the field and in the stands.

“Not really,” said skipper Virat Kohli when asked if there was any tension in the group as rain delayed their moment of glory by two hours. “Some people in the management group were having a look at that (weather forecast). We knew we had enough time," he added. 

The 137-run win handed India an unassailable 2-1 lead with a Test to go in Sydney from January 3, and by virtue of being the holders of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, India will now retain the trophy irrespective of which way the result goes in the final match. This is the first time that India go into the last match in Australia with a lead, and they have a bright chance of creating history by becoming the first Indian team to win a series Down Under.

“We are very happy leading the series for the first time in Australia,” Kohli of said the emotions in the group. “We will take the trophy back home regardless of what happens in the last Test. Our aim is to win the series here, which is what we came here thinking and that hasn’t changed regardless of whatever happened. But it is important to realise this moment and it is important to understand how much hard work we have put in to reach this scoreline. We have to appreciate that as a whole team,” Kohli observed.            

Bumrah took his match figures to 9/86, bettering his previous best of 7/111 against South Africa in Johannesburg. The right-arm quick now has 48 wickets from nine Tests and missed R Ashwin by two wickets as the joint fastest Indian bowler to 50 wickets (9 matches).

Australia had resumed at 258 for eight, needing another 141 runs for a win with Cummins (61 n.o.) and Lyon (6 n.o.) having conjured up 43 runs in a defiant ninth-wicket stand. India had declared their second innings closed at 106/8 on Saturday’s penultimate day, setting Australia a massive target of 399 in five and a half sessions. Cummins and Lyon had frustrated the Indians, batting out even the extended play.   

Umpires called for an early lunch (12.15 am) after a persistent drizzle of varying intensity, India were left with two sessions to take the remaining two Australian wickets for a historic win. India had 71 overs to dismiss the two batsmen.

SCORE BOARD

INDIA (I Innings) 443/7 declared

AUSTRALIA (I Innings): 151 all out

INDIA (II Innings): 106/8 declared

AUSTRALIA (II Innings; O/n: 258/8):

Harris c Agarwal b Jadeja 13

(27b, 1x4)

Finch c Kohli b Bumrah 3

(4b)

Khawaja lbw Shami 33

(59b, 4x4, 1x6)

S Marsh lbw Bumrah 44

(72b, 4x4, 1x6)

Head b Ishant 34

(92b, 2x4)

M Marsh c Kohli b Jadeja 10

(21b, 1x6)

Paine c Pant b Jadeja 26

(67b, 4x4)

Cummins c Pujara b Bumrah 63

(114b, 5x4, 1x6)

Starc b Shami 18

(27b, 2x4)

Lyon c Pant b Ishant 7

(50b)

Hazlewood (not out) 0

(4b)

Extras (B-2, LB-6, W-2) 10

Total (all out, 89.3 overs) 261

Fall of wickets: 1-6 (Finch), 2-33 (Harris), 3-63 (Khawaja), 4-114 (S Marsh), 5-135 (M Marsh), 6-157 (Head), 7-176 (Paine), 8-215 (Starc), 9-261 (Cummins).

Bowling: Ishant 14.3-1-40-2, Bumrah 19-3-53-3 (w-2), Jadeja 32-6-82-3, Shami 21-2-71-2, Vihari 3-1-7-0.   

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India beat Australia by 137 runs to win third Test

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