The best and worst from Day 3 of the Melbourne Test
Jasprit Bumrah picked up his third five-wicket-haul in Tests. (AFP)

The best and the worst from day three of the third Test between Australia and India at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Ball of the day

When 15 wickets fall in a day, it becomes tough to single out a delivery that stood out. However, for finishing with 6 for 33, the ball of the day belongs to Jasprit Bumrah. It was the last over before lunch, and Australia, from 55 for 3, were just beginning to rebuild the innings with Shaun Marsh and Travis looking resisting India with a partnership that was beginning to develop. But then came the delivery which undid all the hardwork put together by both batsmen. Off the final delivery of the first session, Bumrah bowled a slower yorker, one that kept dipping, and rapped Marsh low on his front pad. The finger went up and Australia slipped to 89 for 4.

Performance of the day

The third day of the MCG Test clearly belonged to the bowlers, and while Pat Cummins triggered India’s top-order collapse, it was Bumrah, who remains the standout performer. He picked up his third five-wicket haul in Tests and starred in India attaining a huge first-innings lead of 292. During his first spell, Bumrah saw off Marcus Harris – mistiming a pull and was out caught by Ishant Sharma at fine leg – Marsh and Head, whom he beat for pace and cleaned up. But it was his second spell that was even more ruthless, one that wiped out Australia’s tail. Shortly after lunch, Bumrah had Tim Paine edging to Pant, trapped Nathan Lyon leg before wicket and bowled Josh Hazlewood.

Debateable call of the day

Despite securing a 292-run lead, India captain Virat Kohli decided not to enforce the follow-on over Australia and opted to bat first. By the time the day had ended, India had swollen their lead to 346, but their decision bat again backfired as they were reduced to 32 for 4. The call made by Kohli is bound to spark a strong debate. Was it done to give the bowlers rest? Or perhaps to avoid the possibility of batting fourth on a weary MCG surface? Rain is forecast so that could have been a reason. We do not know. Rest assured, irrespective of the outcome of the game, the decision to refuse the follow-on will polarise opinions.

Spell of the day

Undoubtedly, Pat Cummins. His could very well even be the spell of the series for all you know, and there have been quite a few already. India’s openers had taken the score to 28 without loss, before Cummins delivered eight hellish deliveries to grab four wickets. His first two wickets arrived in three balls, including that of Cheteshwar Pujara for 0. Kohli lasted four balls before Cummins had him fending to gully for a duck as well, meaning that India had surrendered three wickets without a run scored in 13 balls. Cummins, his tail up with figures of 3-2-2-3, then had Ajinkya Rahane caught down the leg side to leave India 32/4 in 16.1 overs. Riveting stuff.

Banter of the day

Australia captain Tim Paine was at it again. After his brush with counterpart Kohli and just yesterday, Rohit Sharma became the talking point, Paine is far from done as far as instigating the Indian batsmen with light banter goes by. A video tweeted by Cricket Australia sees Paine murmur something about MS Dhoni being back in the ODI team. “Now that Big MS back in the ODI squad, maybe he could play for the Hobart Hurricanes. Beautiful city, rent a nice waterfront place,” Paine said.

Stat of the day

In a number that highlights just how valuable he has been for the Indian team, Bumrah on Friday became the bowler with most number of wickets in his first year of Test cricket. With 45 wickets in 2018, Bumrah overtook Terry Alderman (1981) and West Indies great Curtly Ambrose’s tally of 42 scalps. Making his debut against South Africa in the first Test at Cape Town earlier this year, Bumrah finished the series with 14 wickets. He then went to England, where he played three Tests and took 14 wickets. Finally, in the three Tests Down Under so far, the young pacer has already grabbed 17 wickets from five innings. With one more innings left to bowl this year, Bumrah can extend his tally to 50 wickets, which will be absolutely phenomenal.