Proceedings on the last day of the Test at Ranchi looked a bit grim for the visitors from the onset. Resume at 23-2 after the dismissal of David Warner and nightwatchman Nathan Lyon late last night and still requiring 129 runs to make India bat again, Australia began tentatively.
However, Steve Smith and Matt Renshaw negotiated the first hour safely and looked good to bat out the day. It seemed like the session might just be going towards Australia’s way, that was until a fired up Ishant sharma reversed one into Renshaw’s pads.
It proved to be a crucuial breakthrough as soon another minor lapse in concentration by Steve Smith led to his downfall. Smith was caught off-guard trying to shoulder arms to a ball by Ravindra Jadeja that pitched outside leg-stump and then went onto crash on to the off-stump.
A visibly shocked Australian skipper had to walk back with Australia reeling at 63/4.
At lunch on day five, the session in which Australia lost Matt Renshaw and Steve Smith in quick succession, Australia stood at 83/4. While the two batsmen at the crease, Shaun Marsh and Peter Handscomb, might be adept at playing spin but it does look like India is going to be all over them after lunch. The ball is also exploding off the pitch from the rough areas created. Ravindra Jadeja with his 3-22 from 18 overs has featured nine maidens and he might well bowl India to victory after lunch.
However, the Aussies still have some fight left in them but it will take a monumental effort from them to try to survive on a Day 5 track with just six wickets in hand. It may be recalled here that prior to this Test, India have won twice after conceding 400 in the first innings. Only time will tell if they can repeat the feat for the third time against Australia.