A collective bowling performance led by Ravindra Jadeja saw India inch towards a possible win in the final Test at Dharamshala. Jadeja, Ashwin, and Umesh Yadav snapped three wickets each to bundle out Australia for just 137 runs in the third innings, 6 overs before the end of day’s play. The tremendous effort meant India will require only 106 runs to chase the fourth day.
A small part of the chasing work has been already done by openers KL Rahul and Murali Vijay who scored 19 runs in the final six overs before stumps to leave India just 87 runs away from a series win. The game is in India’s favour completely unless Australia makes one last furious effort to snatch a win.
The Aussies, coming out to bat with the aim of setting a defendable total, were unable to deal with the quality shown by the Indian bowlers. Fast bowlers Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar got rid of the top three – David Warner, Matt Renshaw and Steve Smith – inside the first ten overs. While Yadav forced both Warner and Renshaw to edge catches to the wicketkeeper, Kumar did an amazing job by cleaning up Smith and providing a massive relief.
The spin duo of Ashwin and Jadeja took care of the middle order as the Australian innings continued to crumble. Peter Handscomb and Glenn Maxwell both fell to Ashwin while Shaun Marsh was gotten better by Jadeja.
Some last minute assault from wicket-keeper batsman Mathew Wade saw Australia stretch the overall lead past the 100 runs mark. Jadeja, however, sped up the wrap-up process of the Australians with the strikes of Pat Cummins, Steve O’ Keefe while Umesh Yadav continued his good work with the wicket of Nathan Lyon to reduce the batting side to nine wickets down.
Sensing the urgency to put some more run on the board, Mathew Wade switched to attacking mode. This led to some a couple cracking boundaries and strong sweep shots coming off his bat before Ashwin pulled the curtains down with the final wicket of Hazlewood.
Ravichandran Ashwin, who ended with figures 3/29, praised his bowling compatriots for their brilliant effort.
“It was magical,” says R Ashwin. “You couldn’t have asked for more. Jaddu and Saha batted really well. We get our noses ahead. Great spells by Umesh and Bhuvi. Australia batted really well yesterday too, we had to buckle down.
Day three began with India resuming to bat on their overnight score of 248/6. Helped by Wriddhiman Saha and Ravindra Jadeja, the hosts managed to gains a small yet significant lead of 32 runs over Australia’s first innings total of 300.
“This morning was really special. Saha and Jaddu were fantastic. It has been a magical season. It is going to be pretty difficult to replicate it. 81 wickets in 13 Test. I told Jaddu there was a hundred for the taking. He is a very talented batsman, if he puts his head down, he can get that hundred. Hope there is more tight batting from Vijay and Rahul, and that they can get a fifty for themselves.”