India face Australia on the third day of the fourth and final Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Thursday. An all-round performance by Australia saw them end the second day’s play with a first innings lead of 501 runs as India finished at 71 for one at stumps on the previous day.
Resuming at 348 for two, Australian batsmen hammered the flat Indian bowling attack to declare at 572 for seven with David Warner (101) and captain Steven Smith (117) scoring centuries. In reply, India lost in-form Murali Vijay for a duck on the third ball of the innings. However, opener Lokesh Rahul , playing his second Test and Rohit Sharma remained unbeaten on 31 and 40 respectively to stabilise the innings for India and stayed at the crease till the close of the play.
Australia started the day slowly but steadily as Smith scored his fourth century of the series with Shane Watson (81) providing him strong support from the other end. Though the Indian bowlers slowed down the run rate, Smith and Watson gradually extended their third wicket partnership to 196 runs. The enterprise finally came to an end when Watson pulled a short Mohammed Shami delivery, only to be caught by Ashwin at deep mid-wicket.
Indian bowlers lacked venom in their attack which helped the home side build another 114-run partnership between left-handed Shaun Marsh (73) and Joe Burns (58). The duo helped their side reach a strong total with a partnership of 114 runs. Unlike the addition of a mere 72 runs from 30 overs in the morning session, Marsh and Burns, who also scored his first Test half-century, helped pile on 118 more runs in 29 overs in the post-lunch session.
Australia 572 for 7 decl. (Chris Rogers 95, David Warner 101, Steven Smith 117, Shane Watson 81; Shaun Marsh 73, Joe Burns 58; Mohammed Shami 5 for 111) lead India 71 for 1 (KL Rahul 31*, Rohit Sharma 40*; Mitchell Starc 1 for 17) by 501 runs.