Marcus Harris has marched Australia to 1-122 at lunch on day three of the fourth Test at the SCG, where India’s lead is an imposing 500 runs.
Harris was 77 not out at Saturday’s meal break, giving him a golden chance to become Australia’s first centurion of the four-Test series.
Marnus Labuschagne, whose selection at first drop was widely criticised, is unbeaten on 18.
Labuschagne squeezed out the first ball he faced, a 146 km/h yorker from Jasprit Bumrah that almost rolled onto off stump, but from that point on looked relatively comfortable.
Bumrah and Mohammed Shami generated some reverse-swing late in Saturday’s morning session but Harris and Labuschagne extended their unbeaten stand to 50 runs.
Harris, who made his Test debut at Adelaide Oval last month, already has the highest score by an Australian since Usman Khawaja’s knock of 141 in Dubai in October.
Khawaja, dropped on zero during a 10-over burst late on day two, fell on 27 to recalled tweaker Kuldeep Yadav.
Khawaja danced own the wicket and attempted to heave the ball to the leg-side boundary but instead picked out Cheteshwar Pujara.
Harris was on 24 when went within millimetres of being dismissed by Ravindra Jadeja, having popped the ball up in the vicinity of KL Rahul at mid-on.
A scrambling Rahul dived but couldn’t complete the catch cleanly, immediately signalling the Kookaburra scraped the turf.
“Outstanding mate, well done,” umpire Ian Gould told Rahul at the end of the over.
Harris, who donned his baggy green while facing Jadeja and Yadav, was more than happy to attack anything loose delivered by the two left-arm spinners.
Harris hammered three boundaries from Yadav’s eighth over.
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