A ruthless India took a stranglehold on the final Test in Sydney yesterday as they forced Australia to follow on at home for the first time in 30 years, leaving the hosts facing a full day’s batting to cling on for a draw.
Play started almost four hours late due to rain, with the home team resuming on 236 for six after lunch in reply to India’s thumping first innings 622 for seven declared.
But needing a win to level the four-match series, Australia crumbled to 300 all out, compounding the misery after some soft dismissals by the top order on Saturday as they stare down the barrel of defeat.
Indian skipper Virat Kohli sent them straight back into bat — the first time Australia have been asked to follow on at home since Mike Gatting’s England did the same in 1988, also in Sydney.
Marcus Harris, not out two, and Usman Khawaja, unbeaten on four, survived four overs before tea was taken early for bad light. They didn’t come back with play abandoned for the day.
Middle-order batsman Peter Handscomb said it would be “huge” if Australia could bat out the final day and salvage a draw.
“We’ve got a really, really good chance to shift some momentum back into our camp, not just for the upcoming one-dayers (against India), but there’s the World Cup also and the Ashes,” he said.