SYDNEY (AP) — Nathan Lyon took some punishment before dismissing Rishabh Pant in the last over with the old ball to end a 148-run partnership and give Australia’s push for victory some momentum on the final day of the third cricket test against India.
Lyon removed stand-in India captain Ajinkya Rahane (4) in the second over Monday after the tourists resumed at 98-2 chasing 407 to win, but the Australians didn’t take another wicket in the opening session as Pant went on the attack. The injured Pant dominated a century fourth-wicket stand with Cheteshwar Pujara that gave India hope of an unlikely win.
But Lyon took the key wicket of Pant for 97 with the first ball of the 80th over and Josh Hazlewood bowled Pujara for 77 in the eighth over with the new ball to give Australia the edge as India reached tea at 280-5.
The equation for the final session: India needed 127 runs to ensure it retains the Border-Gavaskar or to bat through 36 overs for a draw, and Australia needed five wickets to take a 2-1 lead going into the fourth and final test at the Gabba. The first two tests didn’t go to a fifth day, adding to the intrigue in Sydney.
Hanuma Vihari was unbeaten on 4 from 52 deliveries and Ravichandran Ashwin was 7 from 25 at the last interval.
Pant, who shrugged off an elbow injury that kept him off the field for the entire fourth day and moved up the order to bat at No. 5, had some early chances and then was particularly harsh on off-spinner Lyon as he hit three sixes and 12 boundaries to get within one scoring shot of a century.
He was out trying to reach triple figures in that vein, advancing to Lyon and squeezing a thick outside edge to gully, where Pat Cummins took a catch low to the ground to make the score 250-4.
Pujara, who passed 6,000 career test runs during his innings, took up the attack and hit Pat Cummins for three straight boundaries to start the third over with the new ball.
But his defiant 205-ball innings ended when Hazlewood beat the outside edge and took out off stump, making India 272-5 with 43.4 overs remaining.
Pant’s innings was more impressive considering he was sidelined all of Sunday and had to be replaced in the field by specialist wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha, who took four catches in Australia’s second innings before the hosts declared at 312-6 with a 406-run lead.
Play on Sunday was largely overshadowed by an eight-minute stoppage shortly before the end of Australia’s second innings after India fast bowler Mohammed Siraj complained to umpires Paul Reiffel and Paul Wilson about abuse from the crowd while he was fielding near the boundary.
Siraj had made a formal complaint the previous evening, after stumps on day three, about allegedly racist abuse from a section of the crowd and was advised to notify umpires immediately if it happened again.
Play resumed after after police escorted six men from their seats. The men were interviewed by police and security officials and ejected from the stadium.
Police and Cricket Australia are continuing investigations.
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