India close on 98-2 chasing 407 to win as Australia remain in charge of third Test in Sydney after day four; hosts pushing for 2-1 lead in four-match series after Cameron Green scores maiden Test century in their second innings at SCG
India closed on 98-2 having been set 407 to win by Australia on day four of the third Test in Sydney, leaving the hosts as favourites to take a 2-1 lead in the four-match series.
Visiting openers Shubman Gill (31) and Rohit Sharma (52) were dismissed on Sunday, by Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins respectively, leaving Cheteshwar Pujara (9no) and stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane (4no) at the crease.
India require a further 309 runs for victory or, more likely, to bat out what looks set to be a rain-free day five before the sides head to Brisbane for the final fixture, which starts on January 15.
Australia had declared their second innings on 312-6, in which Cameron Green posted his maiden Test half-century and top-scored with 8 4 from 132 deliveries.
Steve Smith (81) and Marnus Labuschagne (71) also passed fifty with the duo haring a century stand for the third wicket – Labuschagne had been dropped 47 on from the second ball of the day with Hanuma Vihari making the error at square leg off the bowling of Jasprit Bumrah.
Captain Tim Paine struck an unbeaten 39 from 52 balls after being dropped on nought by Rohit off Bumrah, with the skipper going on to share a ton partnership for the sixth wicket with Green, whose dismissal triggered the Australia declaration.
Green managed four sixes and eight fours in his knock before he edged Bumrah behind to wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha, who was deputising for the stricken Rishabh Pant (elbow).
India were also without Ravindra Jadeja’s spin bowling due to a dislocated thumb and the all-rounder seems unlikely to bat in his side’s second innings.
A group of fans in the socially-distanced crowd of 7,225 were removed from their seats by police just before tea after bowler Mohammed Siraj complained to the umpire.
Cricket Australia later apologised to the India team and promised the “strongest measures” against anyone in the ground guilty of vilification after visiting players alleged they had been racially abused.