4th Test: Spinners bring India back, Australia 198/5 at tea
Ravindra Jadeja ended Marcus Harris' resistance on 79. (AFP Image)

Having played out a fine morning session, Australia were pushed back by India, who dealt the hosts four big blows that kept them to 198/5 at tea. Marcus Harris, set score for his maiden Test century fell 21 runs short of it when he chopped a delivery from Ravindra Jadeja onto his stumps. Six overs later, Jadeja struck again, removing Shaun Marsh for 8 to hand the batsman yet another failure. (LIVE UPDATES: INDIA vs AUSTRALIA, DAY THREE)

Playing his first Test of the series, Marnus Labuschagne had played confidently to score 38, but like Harris, he too threw away a promising start to put India on top. At 152 for 4, Tavis Head and Peter Handscomb were yet to open their account, but successfully played out a challenging spell by Jadeja and Mohammed Shami and added 40 runs for the fifth wicket. But India had one more wicket-taking delivery left in the session. A pretty ordinary one, a full toss that Head hit back to Kuldeep Yadav in the penultimate over of the day. At the interval, they trail India by 424 runs.(LUNCH: MARCUS HARRIS DRIVES AUSTRALIA TO 122/1)

It took Jadeja and India three overs after lunch to end the flourishing partnership between Harris and Labuschagne. Having reached 79, the highest score of the series by an Australia batsman, Harris decided to cut the left-arm spinner when there was virtually no room. The ball took the inner edge and thudded onto the stumps. Marsh, who had shown signs of spark in Melbourne, played a loose defensive shot and edged Jadeja to Ajinkya Rahane at slip.

As for Labuschagne, he had looked supremely confident during his 95-ball stay. Given a big opportunity at No 3, nailed a confident drive through extra cover for four off Kuldeep and to the spinner used his reach well. He repeatedly swept Kuldeep with power, which kept Hanuma Vihari at short leg constantly wary. He then took on Shami playing him with ease, driving him through the covers and down the ground and slicing him towards the third-man boundary. The flick shot however is one he failed to get complete control of as a diving Rahane held on to a low, sharp catch at short midwicket.

On the best batting pitch of the series, Australia had lost five wickets in one session. Then again, it’s been that kind of a series for them. However, the morning session was nothing like as Harris took up the challenge and moved step by step to lay the foundations for a big inning Harris dominated an opening stand of 72 with Usman Khawaja, reached his second Test fifty in quick time and in the company of Labuschagne added 50.

Channelling the man he resembles when batting, David Warner, Harris did not let the bowlers stifle him. He had a close shout when he lofted Jadeja to mid-on where Rahul leaped to his right to attempt the catch, but the fielder immediately signalled not out as soon as he rose. That brief heart-in-mouth moment out of the way, Harris set about constructing a busy half-century. His approach to the spinners was upbeat as he collected his fifty off 67 balls. He grew increasingly confident, hammering Kuldeep over mid-on twice in an an over, with a coruscating flat-batted pull sandwiched between those confident shimmies.

Shami was hit out of the attack with two fours in one over, then Harris used his feet to crash Jadeja through the covers. He rotated strike cleverly too, an attempt to try and make the bowlers keep changing their lines. With Khawaja helping set the tone by skipping out to Jadeja over mid-off and reverse-sweep with authority, Australia scored 31 runs between the 15th and 19th overs.

Khawaja, who was let off by Rishabh Pant when zero on Friday evening, briefly showed signs of emerging from his stupor but fell for 27 when trying to dominate Kuldeep, offering a catch to midwicket.

Tea: Australia 198/ (Harris 79; Kuldeep 2/50) trail India 622/7 declared by 424 runs.