India’s battle to save Sydney test marred by allegations of mob abuse

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Sydney (AFP)

India were fighting to avoid defeat to Australia after losing two wickets before the game ended on Sunday in a third test marred by allegations of racist abuse by Sydney.

The hosts declared their second round at tea on day four at 312 for six, leaving India needing a mammoth 407 to win and they reached 98-2 on strains, still needing 309 more points with the streak. of four games locked at 1-1. .

No team has ever beaten 288 to claim victory in the fourth round at the Sydney Cricket Ground, with Australia reaching that mark against South Africa in 2006.

India’s pursuit of the record started steadily before losing openers Shubman Gill for 31 and Rohit Sharma for 52, leaving their hopes resting on Cheteshwar Pujara, who was not yet nine, and captain Ajinkya Rahane, undefeated on four.

Sharma and Gill have lived dangerously against some steamy bowling from Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins.

But they settled into a 71-point stand to start playing their shots, the graceful Sharma winning an 11th Test 50 before being caught with a slender leg hooking a short Cummins ball.

Gill, who cemented his place in the camp after making his debut in this series, looked at home again until he nicked a delivery from Hazlewood to Tim Paine behind the stumps on the 31st.

“The drummers will come in tomorrow believing they can do it,” said veteran Ravi Ashwin. “This belief is very important when you step on the pitch.

“As a team, we are optimistic that we can put in a good performance,” he added.

Australia’s statement came after Cameron Green stumbled upon an entertaining 84, his first test in half a century, with captain Tim Paine undefeated on the 39.

Steve Smith made 81 and Marnus Labuschagne 73, with Ashwin and Navdeep Saini grabbing two wickets each.

Just before the break, there was an almost 10-minute hiatus that saw six supporters eliminated after Mohammed Siraj, lined up at the border, complained to the referee.

It was not clear what was said, but the incident followed India filing a complaint on Saturday after allegations of racist abuse of the team by sections of the crowd.

The International Cricket Council has launched an investigation with Cricket Australia apologizing to India and swearing that anyone at fault faces “lengthy bans, new penalties and dismissal to NSW Police”.

“We’ve seen it happen in different parts of the world and I’m really sad to see it happen in Australia,” said Australian coach Justin Langer.

“I think so far our series has been played in such a good mood… it’s a shame to see it marred by incidents like we hear about today and last night. ”

– Six greens –

Australia resumed the day 103 for two after India was eliminated for 244 in the opening innings in response to Australia’s 338, with Smith on 29 and Labuschagne 47.

Labuschagne survived an appalling failure by Hanuma Vihari on the second ball of the day which left melon Jasprit Bumrah clenched his face in disbelief.

It was a setback for a team without the rotation of all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja after being hit in the left thumb at bat on Saturday.

He did not take the pitch with Indian media saying he was dislocated and only beating “if necessary” again, with the injury likely to rule him out of the fourth test next week.

Rishabh Pant also took a blow to the elbow as he punched and was another no-show with Wriddhiman Saha guarding the wicket.

However, Pant had to beat in the chase.

Labuschagne turned back the 50s straight and looked at ease until Saini broke his 103-innings partnership with Smith.

Matthew Wade went fast for four, and it turned out slow for Smith.

But after his first 131 innings, he kept his focus to mark another half-century, ably accompanied by Green, until he was trapped by his nemesis Ashwin.

Green, 21, once again showed his poise to help solidify his place on the team, raising his 50 with a limit and then hitting three huge sixes before being caught by Bumrah as he swung the ball again. bat.

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