Australia’s Pat Cummins made India wait for what appears a certain victory in the third Test in Melbourne.
Cummins ended day four unbeaten on 61 as Australia reached 258 for eight, still 141 runs adrift of their target of 399 as they seek to avoid falling 2-1 behind in the series.
At the start of the day India resumed their second innings on 54 for five and moved to 106 for eight before declaring midway through the morning session.
The tourists then made early breakthroughs, with Aaron Finch making just three before an ill-advised shot found Virat Kohli off Jasprit Bumrah, while Marcus Harris soon followed for 13 – the first of Ravindra Jadeja’s three victims.
The middle order fared a little better, at least managing to get themselves set as Shaun Marsh made 44, Travis Head 34 and Usman Khawaja 33, but India continued to pick off wickets to restrict Australia to 138 for five by tea.
Cummins came to the crease early in the final session of the day and began an innings of dogged resistance, refusing to chase shots in a display of the sort of defensive discipline Australia needed earlier in the day.
He was slow to score at first, waiting 41 balls before his first boundary, but then began to open up and a powerful shot through extra cover off Bumrah brought him his fifty shortly after the new ball was taken.
Nathan Lyon was unbeaten on six, and with only Josh Hazlewood left to bat it remains to be seen how long Australia can stave off defeat on Sunday.
Earlier, India had padded their lead with another 52 runs in a little over 10 overs, with Australia once again indebted to Cummins for ensuring it was no worse as he took six for 27.
Mayank Agarwal resumed on 28 but got no further than 42 before being bowled by a ball that stayed low from Cummins.
Rishabh Pant was the only other India player to reach double figures on the day, and when he fell to Hazlewood for 33 Kohli called his players in.
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