The first Test between India and Australia is set for an exciting final day finish in Adelaide. With Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane each scoring fifties, and Mohammed Shami and Ravichandran Ashwin picking a couple of wickets each, India have established themselves as favourites to win the ahead of the final day.
India, who were bowled out for 307, set Australia a target of 323 to chase. Rahane and Pujara shared an 87-run partnership between them for the fourth wicket. They weathered the onslaught by Nathan Lyon who continued to reap the benefits of the rough. Pujara fell to Lyon in the end, having ground out 71 runs off 204 balls.
Rishabh Pant then played a typically fiery 28 off 16 balls. His wicket started a lower order collapse. Lyon, despite being blocked away for the majority of the day by Pujara and Rahane walked back with six wickets in his pocket.
Aaron Finch, who was on a pair, received a lifeline in the first over as he was judged LBW on Ishant Sharma’s second ball. He reviewed and the replays showed that Sharma had overstepped. But Finch could not much damage and was removed Ashwin right at the stroke of Tea. In the final session, Shami dismissed Marcus Harris and Peter Handscomb, while Ashwin took care of Usman Khawaja.
Shaun Marsh and Travis Head contributed 20 crucial runs after the fall of Handscomb to keep Australia alive. The pair took the hosts to 104/4 at stumps – Australia now need 219 runs to win with 6 wickets in hand in 90 overs on the final day.
The stage is set for a cracking finale day then, with all the three results still remaining a possibility. But on a hard surface of the final day, and India needing just 6 more wickets, Virat Kohli & Co. would feel they are the favourites to take a 1-0 lead.