IANS
AFP

87. This is the unluckiest number associated with Australian cricket. They say the number is possessed by the demons. In the confinements of their hotel rooms in Dharamsala on Monday evening, the Australian contingent will be looking at the devil’s number. Hopes will be all for a miracle. Another trip to Dalai Lama perhaps. India are 87 away from winning the fourth Test in Dharamsala and reclaiming the much-coveted Border-Gavaskar Trophy. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: India vs Australia, 4th Test at Dharamsala

The Test hung in balance after the first two days. Despite the Indian dominance in the first hour of Day Three, Australia came back strong and restricted host’s lead to 32. The next two sessions belonged to India, who find themselves at brink of a famous win. Suvajit Mustafi takes you through the highlights of this drama-filled eventful day of Test cricket.

Drama straightaway: For almost close to two days, we had not seen either sides challenging the umpires but something else was in store today. Ravindra Jadeja almost poked one outside off-stump to Pat Cummins on the first ball of the day. The Australians appealed and Jadeja was given out. He straightaway went for a review and it was evident that there was a huge gap between the bat and the ball. The decision went in India’s favour.

Jadeja vs Wade: Matthew Wade has been good with his sledging skills. When Australian bowlers found no answer to the partnership between Jadeja and Wriddhiman Saha, Wade decided to chip in with his tongue. Jadeja did not like it.

Wade too made some polite enquiries after Jadeja’s celebrations.

 

Here is what Jadeja had to say about the entire episode:

 

Jadeja eventually fell to Australia’s ploy but not before, he had slammed a series defining 63 off 95 balls, an innings that contained four mighty sixes. He scored another fifty in this series and celebrated with his trademark sword-fencing style.

The 96-run stand between Saha and Jadeja helped India to a lead. Jadeja’s wicket later triggered a collapse.

Cummins horror: Cummins brought back the days when fast bowlers terrorised. A bouncer hit Jadeja on the head; he set him up before cleaning him. Saha was dismissed courtesy a snorter. A hostile delivery that took off from the surface, hit the shoulder of Saha’s bat and Steven Smith pulled off a screamer at second slip.

If Australia have to win this Test. Yes I said ‘win’, then Cummins will have to gear up to deliver such chin music.

Nice, Garry: Nathan Lyon was the hero of Day Two. It was his fifth wicket that ended the Indian innings. Kuldeep Yadav fell while executing a sweep shot. Lyon now has 64 wickets against India, the second-most among spinners. Out of his nine five-wicket hauls in Tests, he now has five against India.

Karun Nair finds a sympathiser in Ajinkya Rahane: Just over three months back when Karun Nair slammed the triple ton in Chennai, there were debates whether he would replace Ajinkya Rahane in the side. Three Tests later, Nair has become a butt of jokes in social media due to his poor form with the bat and the dropped catches did not help the case.

In almost an action replay to the first innings, Bhuvneshwar Kumar induced the outside edge of his IPL skipper David Warner and Nair dropped another simple chance at third slip. The trolls got to the edge of their seats, commentators and fans were fuming. But stand-in skipper Rahane, who almost took the catch off the deflection, walked up to Nair and patted him on his back, knowing that he would be the one most gutted at that moment.

Fiery hot Indian pacers: The setting was perfect for Australia. Their pacers had exploited the conditions well but their Indian counterparts were ruthless in the second innings. Not often do you see Australians being bounced out and dominated.

Indian pace duo of Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar had Australia on the mats at 31 for 3, and before that dished out some serious chin music.

Umesh ended with three wickets and could have got his fourth had Ravichandran Ashwin held on to Hazlewood’s catch at slip.

Smith is OUT! The holy land of Dharamsala witnessed a miracle. Smith was out bowled for 17! Can you imagine Smith getting out that cheap, and that too bowled? Fans and pundits pinched themselves to realise the same.

He pulled a short ball from Bhuvi to the fence and the next ball was full, which Smith drove for a boundary. Bhuvi followed that with another short ball outside off-stump and the great Australian shock followed:

Smith now ends the series with 499 runs. They say it right that perfection cannot be achieved.

Ashwin vs Maxwell, another round: Ashwin and his much-famed foe Glenn Maxwell resumed their battle. Maxwell was counterattacking the Indian spinners, especially young Kuldeep. He was in middle of a very good knock when an Ashwin delivery bamboozled him. Probably, the brain-fade syndrome got the better of him.

Maxwell padded a straighter one from Ashwin and was ruled out. He decided to review it. He was a tad unlucky there and the vicious umpire’s call cut his entertaining innings short at 45. A victory there for Maxwell.

Australia eventually folded for 137. Ashwin, Umesh and Jadeja got three wickets a piece.

Vijay’s grassed catch: Vijay claimed Hazlewood’s catch off Jadeja and assuming Australia were bowled out, he ran back to the dressing room to get padded up for the chase. However, replays suggested the ball had kissed the grass before making its way to Vijay at slips.

Smith was clearly unhappy with the episode.

This was not it. India continued to pile on Smith’s agonies.

Rahul’s brisk start: Chasing 106 to win, Australia hoped for early wickets but Rahul began the show with three boundaries off Cummin’s first over. India finished with 19 for 0, needing the dreaded 87.