Third Test: India beats Australia by 137 runs, leads series 2-1

Melbourne: India took giant strides towards winning their first ever series on Australian soil in seven decades by retaining the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with a comprehensive 137-run win in the third Test on Sunday.

Taking an unassailable 2-1 lead in the four-match series, India will retain the coveted trophy even if the series is drawn level at Sydney as they have won the previous series at home in 2017. It took only 27 balls on the fifth day afternoon as Jasprit Bumrah (3/53) and Ishant Sharma (2/40) completed the formalities in what turned out to be India’s 150th Test victory.

After losing out the first session due to steady showers, Australia could only manage to add three runs to their overnight score of 258 for 8 as they were all out for 261 in 89.3 overs.

India thus won a Test match at the iconic MCG after 37 long years when Sunil Gavaskar’s men beat Greg Chappell’s side in the 1980-81 series. Fittingly it was the legendary Kapil Dev, who had then played a major role taking five wickets in defending a low total while it was young Bumrah with match figures of 9 for 86, who was the hero on what looked like a docile track.

Bumrah got rid of Pat Cummins (63), who edged to first slip and brought an end to his heroic effort in this Test. Five balls later, Ishant Sharma got rid of Nathan Lyon (7), caught behind as Rishabh Pant took his 20th dismissal in this series, which is highest by any Indian wicket-keeper.

For Bumrah, 48 wickets in his debut Test season is highest by any pace bowler and also is a testimony to a lethal pace trio involving the veteran Ishant Sharma and the wily Mohammed Shami (2/71), who also played his part well. The trio have collectively taken 134 away wickets (Bumrah 48, Ishant 40 and Shami 46) in a single calender 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).

No wonder skipper Virat Kohli was delighted and attributed their success to their ability to complement each other. ‘We knew that it would be tough for Australia, but credit to our bowlers, especially Jasprit. The three fast bowlers have broken the record for most wickets by pacers in a calendar year for a team, which is brilliant,’ Kohli was all praise for his speed merchants.

Most wins in overseas Tests as captain
11 V Kohli (24)
11 S Ganguly (28)
06 MS Dhoni (30)
05 R Dravid (17)

 

Best figures by an Indian pacer in Australia
9/086 J Bumrah, MCG, 2018
8/109 Kapil Dev, Adelaide, 1985
8/160 A Agarkar, Adelaide, 2003

 

Three cheers
The Indian pace trio (Bumrah, Ishant and Shami) have collectively taken 134 away wickets in a single calender year eclipsing the 34-year-old record that stood in the name of the fearsome Carribean trio of Marshall, Holding and Garner (130 wickets in away tours in 1984).

 

Big Feat
The win today in Melbourne turned out to be India’s 150th Test victory overall.

NT Bureau