Friday, March 5

India need 324 to win after Siraj claims maiden Test five

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Playing only this third Test match, fast bowler Mohammed Siraj picked up his maiden five-wicket haul to give India a sniff in the fourth Test against Australia in Brisbane. Siraj’s 5/73 coupled with another fine piece of fast bowling from Shardul Thakur (4/61), helped India bowl Australia out for 294 in their second innings, which set the visitors 328 to win.

Opening batsman Rohit Sharma cracked a boundary first over of the innings off Mitchell Starc before rain forced early stumps with 23 overs left to be bowled.

Play will once again star half an hour early on Day 5 and hopefully produce a fitting end to what has been an enthralling series. Australia resumed their innings on 21/0 with David Warner and Marcus Harris extending their promising start from Day 3, but their dismissals in quick succession provided India an opening. Thakur provided the first breakthrough for India when he dismissed Harris for the second time in the Test before Washington Sundar trapped Warner LBW two short of his fifty.

Marnus Labuschagne got a start getting to 25 off 22 balls before Siraj took over. The fast bowler squared up the first-innings centurion with Labuschagne nicking to Rohit at second slip. In the same over, Matthew Wade tickled a ball to Rishabh Pant down leg, and suddenly, India were on top. Steve Smith and Cameron Green added 73 runs for the fifth wicket before Siraj again struck shortly after lunch. He got a ball to shoot off a crack on the pitch, hitting Smith’s glove before lobbing in the air for Ajinkya Rahane to complete the catch at gully.

Thakur added to his tally the wickets of Green and Tim Paine in a span of three overs. Green was out caught at slips, while the Australia captain tried to hook Thakur, but edged it to Pant, who took a fine catch. With the tail exposed and Australia’s lead approaching 300, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon went for their shots, some paying off.

Lyon and Cummins smoked a six each and although Siraj and Thakur took care of business, Australia had taken their lead to 327. Josh Hazlewood struck a couple of fours before holing out to Thakur at third man, which gave Siraj his moment under the sun.

Brief Scores: Australia 369 & 294 (Smith 55, Warner 48; Siraj 5-73, Thakur 4-61) lead India 336 & 4/0 by 323 runs.