India faced with difficult third test run chase in Melbourne

Australia head into day five with lead of 326 needing a draw to win series

Mitchell Johnson hits out during a brief cameo as Australia reached stumps on day four of the third test at Melbourne on 261-7, giving them a lead of 326

Mitchell Johnson hits out during a brief cameo as Australia reached stumps on day four of the third test at Melbourne on 261-7, giving them a lead of 326

 

India will face a steep run chase to stay alive in their Test series with Australia after the hosts piled on the runs in Melbourne.

After conceding a first-innings deficit of 65, India were unable to rip through Australia’s batting order second time around and the Baggy Green closed day four on 261 for seven, a lead of 326.

Even that could prove to be beyond an Indian side which has folded under pressure already on this tour and, if that proves to be the case again, the series — which they trail 2-0 with one Test left — will be gone.

Chris Rogers and Shaun Marsh kept them at bay on Monday, scoring 69 and 62 not out respectively, and if the latter adds some quick runs on Tuesday, India could end up chasing closer to 400.

Resuming themselves on 462 for eight, they did not hang around long before being all out, Mitchell Johnson taking the quick wickets of Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav.

Australia’s lead gave them some comfort but, considering the way Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane batted first time out for India, they knew they needed to amass a more sizeable advantage.

David Warner and Rogers set about doing that, the former making 40 before he went leg before to R Ashwin.

Shane Watson went in and added 17 until he nicked Ishant Sharma behind, while captain Steve Smith — with three hundreds in a row — made just 14.

Rogers continued along and got his 50 off 81 balls but when he went leg before to Ashwin, and debutant Joe Burns followed for nine, Australia were teetering on 176 for five and with a lead of 241.

Marsh was at hand and started to tick over, although Brad Haddin failed to stick with him, Yadav having him taken behind for 13.

But Mitchell Johnson hung around for 15 and when he went to Shami, Ryan Harris made an unbeaten eight to give Marsh company as he looked to build on his 112-ball half-century.

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