India fights after Australia takes command
Sydney: Prolific Murali Vijay’s cheap dismissal added to India’s woes before it reached 71 for one in response to another massive total by Australia which notched up 572 for 7 declared on the second day of the fourth and final cricket Test on Wednesday.
The Indians suffered a huge jolt when Vijay was dismissed for a third-ball duck but Lokesh Rahul (31) and Rohit Sharma (40) ensured that there were no further setbacks till close of play on yet another disappointing day for the visitors.
The second day’s highlight was Australian captain Steven Smith notching up his fourth century of the series to join Sir Donald Bradman and Jacques Kallis as only the third batsman to achieve the feat of four successive hundreds in a series.
The young Australian captain, who has been in stupendous form, scored 117 to record his eighth Test ton and put Australia in a commanding position with useful contributions from Shane Watson (81), Shaun Marsh (73) and Joe Burns (58) at the SCG.
Vijay, who has been in good form right through the series, got out to a poor shot off Mitchell Starc. He has scores of 53 and 99 (Adeliade), 144 and 27 (Brisbnane) and 68 and 11 (Melbourne) and his early departure came as a big blow for the Indians.
Earlier, resuming at the overnight score of 348 for two, the hosts rode on a 196-run third wicket partnership between Smith and Watson to take the attack back to the opposition as Mohammed Shami picked up a five-wicket haul.
India though, ably led by Shami (5-112), seemed to have learnt their lessons from the opnening day to concede just 72 runs in 30 overs in the first session of play.
Two wickets fell in the morning session and Watson was the first to go when Shami struck for the second time in the innings to deny the No.3 batsman in what would have been a well-deserved hundred. He added only 20 runs to his overnight score.
Smith played a defiant knock to post his fourth ton in this series only to be caught behind off Umesh Yadav (1-137) in the 114th over of the innings.
But the visitors were once again put to task in the post-lunch when Marsh and Burns managed a 114-run fifth wicket stand to pile on the misery for Virat Kohli and company.
Shami once again picked up the all-important wicket of Marsh, the only wicket for India in the post-lunch session, as the left-hander was caught behind after registering his third Test fifty.