1st Test, Adelaide: Australia 186/6 at lunch, India need four for famous win
India's pace bowling gives Virat Kohli plenty of options. @AFP

Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team is four wickets away from going up 1-0 having reduced Australia to 186/6 by lunch on day five of the first Test at Adelaide Oval. The home team needs 137 runs to win, a tough ask but not an impossible one given that Tim Paine is batting on 40 and Australia have a very handy lower order.

That, and the fact that Indian teams have historically struggled to bowl out tailenders. Look no further than this year’s tour of England.

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Two wickets fell in 34 overs during the morning session on Monday, and they were big: the highest scorer of Australia’s first innings, Travis Head, and the second-most-capped batsman in the side, Shaun Marsh. One specialist batsman remains in Paine, the man who two months ago made an unbeaten 61 from 194 balls to take Australia to an epic draw in the UAE, and in Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon there is fight in the tail.

India got the first breakthrough from Ishant Sharma, who bounced out Head for 14 with a lifter that caught the left-hand batsman by surprise to fend the ball to gully. Marsh’s first half-century in 14 innings kept Australia alive and India searching for the sixth wicket, while raising visions of an Australian victory.

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Blocking out a chirpy Rishabh Pant  behind the stumps – “no intent to win this match” “wonderful, Ashley” “bowling, Vij” – Marsh, who in Australia’s first innings made 2 off 19 balls, his fifth consecutive single-digit score in Tests – an unwanted record – dug deep into his reservoir of experience to summon great powers of application. He tucked, nudged, flicked and then some more. He defended tightly, back and across. He had a few troubles against R Ashwin initially – the man he’s fallen to five times in Tests – but survived, each time getting a bigger stride forward and bringing his wrists into play.

Some crisp whips between mid-on and midwicket interspersed with chops into the offside helped Marsh move battle his way to 60 before he got a probing delivery from Jasprit Bumrah. With the first ball of the third over of a new spell, Bumrah dislodged Marsh with the faintest of edges that Pant held onto for his ninth catch of the match. It needed something special to end such a resilient innings from Marsh and Bumrah produced it, the shape of the ball forcing the batsman to poke at it.

Paine, on seven, glanced Mohammed Shami down the pads and Pant failed to latch on to a diving catch – a drop that may yet hurt India. Thereon, Australia’s captain was resolute – defending with assurance, driving with fluency and playing Ashwin confidently. The new ball brought a couple close shouts as Ishant got it to wobble and lift, but Paine overcame them.

Cummins successfully reviewed a bat-pad decision to give umpire Nigel Llong his fourth incorrect decision of the Test, and helped Paine add going into lunch. Cummins has faced 38 balls for his five runs.

Lunch: Australia 235 & 186/6 (Marsh 60, Paine 40*) need 137 runs to beat India 250 and 307