SCG Test, Australia v India, Day 4: Australia lead by 348, enthralling finish on the cards at SCG

Australia wanted Kohli early, they got Kohli early as a Harris cross seam delivery stopped on the captain who mistimed a flick straight to short mid-wicket at Rogers. India were still 220 behind when Kohli fell, having added just seven runs to his overnight score of 140.

One of the highlights of the morning session was Saha leaning back to leave few searing short deliveries from Starc. And when Starc dangled the carrot full, he was light enough on the feet to get to the pitch and drive it through the vacant mid-off region. Another impressive thing about Saha was that he made Ashwin run two threes.

Saha’s innings promised so much before a surprise short ball from Hazlewood ended his stay on 35. Saha could neither leave nor hook that ball and ended up gloving it to Smith who finally took one. Where is spidercam when you need it?

Ashwin and Kumar then presented Australia something they hadn’t encountered in this series – a fighting tale. Ashwin was elegant off his pads and punished anything that was wide outside off, scoring five boundaries before lunch.

Australia’s best chance was Lyon vs Kumar, who defends with hard hands. And that created a chance at short leg as Kumar, on nought, inside edged one that turned from outside off stump. However, Joe Burns fielding at short leg made a simple catch look difficult before putting it down.

Ashwin and Kumar helped India cross 400 for the fourth time in as many first innings in this series, and were unseparated as India took lunch at 407-7, 165 behind Australia.

A couple and a four through the covers and Kumar had scored more runs in his first three balls post-lunch than he did in the 39 before. In his next 19 balls he scored 20 runs sending all of Harris, Watson and Lyon to the boundary before his controversial dismissal– caught at slip off Lyon on a bump ball, although the third umpire thought otherwise- ended a refreshing 65 run stand for the eighth wicket with Ashwin. Ashwin soon notched up his half century and became the third fastest cricketer to complete the double of 1,000 runs and 100 wickets in Test cricket.

With Shami’s arrival to the wicket, Smith went back to Starc who produced one of the best spells of reverse swing bowling we have seen this series. Starc had Shami all at sea taking the ball away from the right hander from around the wicket. Shami wasn’t good enough to even edge those. Ashwin was, and he became Starc’s third victim. Shami then swung his bat around to smash Lyon for 16 runs in one over before Harris dismissed Yadav to secure a 97 run lead.

Australia got to face only six overs before tea, but that little period produced some exciting cricket as the opposing captains approached with positive mind-sets. Kohli gave Ashwin the new ball and the bowler responded with the big scalp of Warner in his first over. He was getting quite a bit of turn from the deteriorating wicket.

Rogers and Watson attacked. They hit seven boundaries in the four overs after Warner’s dismissal, extending the lead to 135 at tea. India had a chance to run out both the batsmen on one ball, but Saha failed to collect the ball at the strikers end where Watson was outside the crease, and nobody had the presence of mind to throw the ball to non-strikers where Rogers was halfway down the pitch.

Ashwin struck in his first over post tea as Watson undercut a ball back onto the stumps. That ball definitely stayed low. Ashwin bowled beautifully, and with a bit of luck he would have easily had Rogers about five times. But the dour opener survived and registered his sixth consecutive half century.

India didn’t know whether to be happy or sad on the Watson wicket as it brought Steve Smith to the crease. Smith, just like Kohli, has been batting on another level this series and it was no different today.

He was helped by the Indian bowlers. None more so than Yadav, who at the start of Smith’s innings bowled one down the leg side and three short balls in a single over which Smith hammered for 17 runs. Australia had lost a couple of wickets but more importantly they had scored 85 runs in just 13 overs taking the lead closer to 200. There was no doubt they were batting for a declaration, and with Kohli trying to bowl them out, it made for exciting viewing.

Smith passed Bradman’s tally of 715 runs to become the highest run-getter in a four-match Test series. And he did something to Ashwin of which even the late Sir Don would have been proud. He hit Ashwin against the turn out of the rough over extra cover for six! Yes, you read that right.

The wickets kept falling though. Rogers pulled a half-tracker from Kumar straight to Raina at deep square leg, and Ashwin soon made Marsh his third victim, but that had no impact on Smith. He was batting as he had a target in his mind to reach before stumps.

Against the run of play Shami struck. It was the big wicket of Smith leg before on 71 (70). The lead was 262 with 10 overs to go in the day.

The real carnage began when Smith got out. Burns completely took the Indian attack apart blazing his way to a 39 ball 66 and with Haddin amassed 86 off just 52 balls rocketing Australia’s lead to 348 before bad light and rain ended the day’s play with one over to go.

Umesh Yadav bore the brunt of the onslaught. His three over spell read: 4 5nb . . 4 . 4 4 4 . 1 . 1 1 4 4 4 4 1 as Australia piled up 213 in the session. Australia will most probably declare overnight. They already have enough. With the ball misbehaving, Lyon will pose the biggest threat, and the fact that India will go for the target would mean for excellent viewing on final day of the series.


Viraj Deshpande is the Editor-in-Chief at



About Viraj Deshpande

A 22 year old journalism grad and an absolute cricket tragic who believes test cricket is greater than everything else under the Sun. Viraj spends his afternoons-evenings-late nights-early mornings running


  1. Two young Captains of two great cricketing nations. Both confident in their ability. Both exciting to watch. Both world class. Leading young – well Australia will be soon – teams of talented cricketers. Stand by for a decade or so of intense rivalry. Captain Kohli will make sure of that. Don’t you just love the way he plays his cricket? And hasn’t Smith grown into the captaincy? And no hamstring problems either. Hope the weather holds. Day 5 promises a furious finale to an enthralling series.

  2. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Interesting thoughts , must agree to disagree re Kohli trying to bowl aust out , still very negative field placings far from impressed with him tactically and has done some bewildering things such as bowlers having 1 over spells . Questionable communication re other players seemed to heavily influence the selection of this side we wait for repercussions later . Smith in amazing form and Burns was incredible late in the day , last over should have occurred 2 . Aust by very attacking batting have set up the last day for possibly a exciting finish on yet another v poor wicket

  3. Dave Brown says

    Another good write-up, Viraj (you were right about the pitch, of course). Hopefully we have a declaration before the start of play. There’s a 60% chance of rain so Smith cannot count on a full day’s play (he was robbed of another century yesterday too – he needs the runs…).

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