India Take Unassailable 2-1 Lead After 137-Run Win vs Australia
- India beat Australia by 137 runs in the Melbourne Test on Sunday, 30 December.
- With a unassailable 2-1 series lead in the four-match rubber, India retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
- Jasprit Bumrah named Man of the Match after finishing with a match-haul of 9 for 86.
- The fourth and final Test starts in Sydney on 3 January.
After a frustrating morning which saw the start of play being delayed for over two hours due to rain, India quickly wrapped up the Melbourne Test by picking up the last two wickets and defeating Australia by 137 runs on Sunday, 30 December.
Australia had resumed on the rain-delayed final day of play in a hopeless position at 258-8, requiring 141 runs to win.
Tailender Pat Cummins added two runs to his overnight score before he was caught at first slip off Jasprit Bumrah's bowling for 63 at 261-9.
Nathan Lyon, who had shared a defiant 46-run stand for the ninth wicket with Cummins in the first innings, fell in the next over for seven. Lyon (7) was caught behind as Rishabh Pant took his 20th dismissal in this series, which is highest by any Indian wicket-keeper.
Memorable MCG Win
- This was India’s 150th Test win, and their first at the MCG after 37 years when Sunil Gavaskar's men beat Greg Chappell's side in the 1980-81 series.
- India now have an unassailable 2-1 lead in the four-match rubber, marking only the second time after 1977/78 that India have won two Tests in a series Down Under.
- With this win, Virat Kohli & Co have retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy having won the previous series in India in 2016-17.
- Man of the Match Bumrah (3/53) capped of a memorable debut year in Test cricket with 48 wickets in nine matches including a match-haul of 9 for 86 in the Melbourne Test.
- Jasprit Bumrah is the first Indian pacer to take nine wickets in a Test in Australia.
- India have equalled their record for most overseas Test wins in a year (4 each in 2004 & 2010 previously) and Virat Kohli has drawn level with Sourav Ganguly on 11 overseas Test wins – most by an Indian captain.
- The trio have collectively taken 134 away wickets (Bumrah 48, Ishant 40 and Shami 46) in a single calendar year eclipsing the 34-year-old record that stood in the name of the fearsome West Indies trio of Malcolm Marshall, Michael Holding and Joel Garner (130 wickets in away tours in 1984).
Cummins Australia’s Only Shining Light
Chasing an unlikely victory target of 399, Australia's top order failed for the second time in the match. No. 8 batsman Cummins was the only player to reach a half-century.
The positions of opener Aaron Finch and No. 6 batsman Mitch Marsh, who scored 11 and 19 runs respectively in Melbourne, are expected to be analysed by selectors ahead of the Sydney Test.
Cricket Australia's decision to ban Steve Smith and David Warner for a year over their roles in the ball-tampering affair in Cape Town in March has left the team's batting ranks severely weakened.
It’s the first time since 1991-92 that an Australian player has not scored a Test century during the home summer before the January Test in Sydney.
One shining light for fifth-ranked Australia in this match has been the all-round contributions of seamer Cummins, who claimed a career-best 6-27 in India's second innings. The 25-year-old has played 17 Tests in an injury-interrupted career after making his debut aged 18.
India set up its victory with an imposing first-innings tally of 443-7, which was scored in almost two days of batting on a slow-paced pitch. Cheteshwar Pujara's patient 106 included a 170-run stand with Kohli (82) for the third wicket.
In reply, Australia crumbled for 151 as Bumrah claimed 6-33. India's second innings of 106-8 declared gave the touring team a 398-run advantage, with more than five sessions remaining in which to bowl Australia out a second time.