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  5. India vs Australia 3rd Test, Day 4: India two wickets away from win after Pat Cummins' unbeaten fifty

India vs Australia 3rd Test, Day 4: India two wickets away from win after Pat Cummins' unbeaten fifty

India came within sniffing distance of a defining victory before a stoic resistance by Australia's tail delayed the inevitable on Saturday.

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New Delhi Published on: December 29, 2018 13:27 IST
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India vs Australia 3rd Test, Day 4: India two wickets away from win after Pat Cummins' unbeaten fifty

India are just two wickets away from victory with one day's play remaining in the third Test against Australia at Melbourne Cricket Ground. Chasing an unlikely victory target of 399, Australia will resume on Sunday's fifth day at 258/8. (MATCH SCORECARD | DAY 4 HIGHLIGHTS)

No.8 batsman Pat Cummins, who has also taken nine wickets in the match, played some glorious cover drives in his career-best 61 not out off 103 balls including five fours and one six. The tailender has top-scored in Australia's second innings, defending and attacking strongly against the second new ball just before stumps on Saturday with Nathan Lyon (six not out).

Spinner Ravindra Jadeja has taken 3-82 for India, which appears set to claim a 2-1 lead in the four-match series which is tied at 1-all. Australia requires another 141 runs for an unlikely victory.

Set 399 to win, Australia reached 2-44 at lunch on Saturday after openers Marcus Harris (13) and Aaron Finch (three) again failed to set a strong platform for the host's innings.

India took three vital wickets in the post-lunch session as Australia stumbled to tea at 138-5.

Usman Khawaja (33) and Shaun Marsh (44) looked composed before they were dismissed leg-before wicket to the bowling of Mohammed Shami (2-71) and Bumrah (2-53) respectively.

Mitch Marsh (10) holed out to cover in lame fashion from the bowling of Jadeja to reduce Australia to 135-5.

Travis Head (34) played a delivery from Ishant Sharma onto his stumps after tea at 157-6 and 19 runs later, Australia suffered a huge setback when captain Tim Paine (26) was caught behind off Jadeja's bowling.

Cummins and Mitchell Starc (18) added a defiant stand of 39 before Starc was bowled by Shami. But India's bowlers could not get the final two wickets required, as Cummins and Lyon showed the discipline sometimes lacking in the top order.

One shining light for Australia in this match has been the all-round contributions of seamer Cummins, who claimed a career-best 6-27 in India's second innings.

Resuming on Saturday on 54-5, India declared on 106-8 after a facing a further 10.3 overs, setting Australia 399 runs to win.

It was the third time in 17 Tests that 25-year-old Cummins had claimed a five-wicket haul, in an injury-interrupted career which started in 2011 at the age of 18.

Australia was dismissed for 151 on Friday in reply to India's 443-7 declared.

Fast bowler Bumrah, in his first year in Test cricket, took a career-best 6-33 as India claimed a 292-run lead on the first innings.

India have never won a Test series in Australia.

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