MCG Test: Follow-on looms for Australia after India claim seven by tea
Jasprit Bumrah bowled Travis Head with a ripper. © AFP

Australia lost five wickets for less than 100 runs, the result of accurate bowling on an MCG track showing increasing signs of wearing, before limping into tea on day three at 145/7, trailing India by 298 runs.

Leading the way for India was Jasprit Bumrah who claimed Marcus Harris with a well-directed bouncer in the morning and then foxed Shaun Marsh and Travis Head with clever yorkers either side of lunch. Two wickets in the first hour gave India reason to celebrate, and Ravindra Jadeja‘s extraction of Usman Khawaja just after the drinks break brought into play the variable bounce that Cheteshwar Pujara spoke of yesterday. Jadeja, in his first appearance of the series, had figures of 23-7-44-2 at tea. (FULL SCORECARD: INDIA vs AUSTRALIA, MCG TEST)

Australia’s problems began in the fifth over of the day when Aaron Finch (8) was excellently held at short midwicket by Mayank Agarwal, who fell to his left to catch a whip off Ishant Sharma. Soon after, Ishant held an easy catch at long leg as Harris (22) was hurried into a mistimed pull shot by Bumrah. Australia had lost their openers in the span of 18 balls.

From the outset, Bumrah operated on a full and threatening length while noticeably quicker than Ishant and Mohammed Shami. The surprise delivery to Harris was thus special, for it came as a jolt after a series of teasing deliveries. Hitting good speeds and getting a hint of wobble off the seam, Bumrah strangled the batsmen in a top spell and then returned before lunch to deal a huge blow. (ALSO READ: Jasprit Bumrah, Ravindra Jadeja dent Australia on third morning)

Just after the first drinks break, Jadeja – in his third over – had Khawaja (21) stabbing uneasily at a clever slower delivery and inside-edging to Agarwal at short leg. Jadeja’s first over of the day saw one delivery kick up dust and another keep low. The threat of the left-arm spinner, who did not look at full tilt when bowling, was massive.

Shaun Marsh was kept scoreless for 16 deliveries, had four catchers crowd the bat and held out against Jadeja, who fired in darts to keep the fielders interested. Head survived two lbw shouts and one appeal each for a stumping and close-in catch. Jadeja targeted the rough outside both left-handers’ feet and landed them with consistency, while Bumrah returned for a burst before lunch and tempted Shaun Marsh and Head outside off stump.

After a series of leaves in the final over before lunch, Shaun Marsh was pinged right in front of the stumps by a terrific slower ball, full and shaping in, that dipped and totally foxed him. A tremendous session for India capped with a tremendous delivery.In Bumrah’s fifth over of his second spell either side of lunch, Head was beaten for pace by a lovely wide yorker, not even bothered to look back at the splayed stumps.

Mitchell Marsh, whom Australia’s coach Justin Langer identified as vital to this match for his ability to play spin, made 9 from 36 balls before he charged Jadeja and and was caught a slip off an inside edge. That was his 18th dismissal to spin; Marsh’s average since he got a superb 96 at Durban in March has dipped to 10.27.

As the second hour ticked over, Hanuma Vihari was given the ball. With his first ball he found the edge of Pat Cummins’ bat but Rishabh Pant didn’t hold on. Cummins made 17 from 48 balls until, moments before tea, Shami bowled him with a peach. Tim Paine, batting on 20, has a tough ask ahead. Australia need 99 more runs to avoid the follow-on.

Tea: Australia 145/7 trail India 443/7 declared by 298 runs