SYDNEY: India scrapped their way to 122 for two at lunch on the third day of the fourth test against Australia on Thursday, adding just 51 runs to their first innings tally at the cost of Rohit Sharma’s wicket.
The tourists, 2-0 down in the four-match series and resuming on 71-1, have taken a cautious approach to cutting into the huge deficit they face after Australia declared on a mammoth 572-7 on Wednesday.
Sharma (53) had just reached his fifth test half century with a drive over extra cover for four when he attempted a sweep only to drag a Nathan Lyon delivery onto his stumps with a bottom edge.
That broke a 96-run partnership with opener Lokesh Rahul, who survived to reach his first test half century from 161 balls and will resume after the break on 50 not out alongside his captain Virat Kohli (16 not out).
Rahul, who enjoyed a miserable introduction to test cricket with just four runs in two innings in the drawn Melbourne match last week, was almost run out soon after Sharma departed.
Sent back by Kohli after calling for a single when Australian wicketkeeper Brad Haddin spilled the ball, Rahul fell over halfway down the wicket and, leaving his bat behind, launched himself head first towards the safety of the crease.
Skipper Steve Smith stood with his hands on his hips showing his disappointment at Australia’s failure to snap up the chance on a Sydney Cricket Ground track that still looked excellent for batting.
Smith was even less impressed when Rahul ballooned a shot into the air just before the break which the Australian failed to gather, proclaiming loudly that it had hit the wire that holds the overhead TV camera in place.
He will have been more pleased with the bowling of his pace attack, who contributed to the one wicket to fall by frustrating the Indian batsmen with disciplined bowling which encouraged them to look to score runs off spinner Lyon.