An incredible 15 wickets fell on day three of the Boxing Day Test as India well and truly stamped their foot down on Australia’s throat.
The visitors reduced Australia to 151 as Jasprit Bumrah ran amok with the ball, finishing with figures of 6-33. Not one of the home side’s batsmen could make it into the thirties as another collapse skittled them 292 short of India’s first innings total.
A sensational fightback from Pat Cummins saw the Sydney product claim 4-4 in a stunning spell which found him on a hat-trick, dismissing first innings centurions Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli in identical fashion — caught at leg gully — within two balls of each other.
But it wasn’t enough to ease the pressure on the Aussies, who remain 346 runs behind India going into the fourth day.
Here were the major talking points from the day’s play.
MCG FANS IN STRIFE OVER TAUNTS
Fans at the MCG have been reported to the police after a series of offensive taunts directed at Indian cricket players were heard from the iconic stadium’s Bay 13.
ESPN Cricinfo reporter Daniel Brettig reported chants of “show us your visa” were overheard from spectators over the course of the first two days.
Virat Kohli copped a particularly severe barrage from the crowd as chants of “Kohli’s a wanker” echoed around the ground while India were in the field.
The skipper didn’t seem to mind, though, tipping his hat and bowing to his admirers in a show of dominance as his seamers ran riot.
“Victoria Police and stadium security are monitoring the behaviour of the crowd in that section of the stadium,” a CA spokesman told ESPN Cricinfo. “(They) have had several discussions with those fans in that bay to remind them about appropriate crowd behaviour, as per venue entry terms and conditions.”
Players have received a particularly harsh reception from the crowd this year. Mitchell Marsh was booed on day one after replacing Victorian batsman Peter Handscomb in a display Mark Waugh described as “disgraceful”.
AUSSIES COLLAPSE: ‘A STATE OF EMBARRASSMENT’
Australia’s horror batting collapse was not pretty.
Some would go as far as calling it ugly. Monstrous, even.
The sight of seeing Australia’s top order collapse with not one star making it past 22 has left a bitter taste in fans’ mouths as the home side fights off India’s charge for its first series win on Australian soil.
The state of play puts the visitors in the box seat to claim the Boxing Day Test and if the performance of Australia’s top order on the lifeless MCG pitch is any indication, the Sydney Test is going to be an absolute nightmare.
India’s bowlers simply outplayed the Aussie top order. Jasprit Bumrah bamboozled batsmen with changes of pace and a ferocious addiction to landing the ball in uncomfortable places.
“It’s a state of embarrassment in the biggest Test match of the year,” Gerard Whateley said on radio network SEN. “There are no excuses. It wasn’t the wicket playing tricks. It was good bowling and generally pretty poor batting.”
Fellow radio host and former Aussie opening bat Simon Katich threw his weight behind the Aussies to put India to the sword on day three. He was quickly proven wrong.
“I was positive Australia could bat the day out but I’m happy to admit I got it well and truly wrong because they haven’t applied themselves in the manner I thought they would.”
Veteran cricket writer Robert Craddock labelled Australia’s first innings as “one of our worst performances in 20 years” and went on to claim Australia’s top order only had one Test-standard player in it: Usman Khawaja.
“We’ve had 26 sets of openers in 10 years, that’s extraordinary,” Craddock said.
CUMMINS BAGS FOUR IN FIERY SPELL
Pat Cummins well and truly stepped up to the plate when Australia needed him most in the final session.
He followed up his first innings haul 3/72 with a well directed bouncer to Hanuma Vihari.
The ball ballooned to gully with Usman Khawaja taking the easiest of catches.
It’s the second time Cummins has dismissed Vihari for the match.
After just two balls, an unconventional field position saw Cheteshwar Pujara dismissed for a duck. A flick off the pads went straight to Marcus Harris at leg gully leg slip for a second-ball duck.
Cummins had 2/2 off 2.2 overs as Virat Kohli strode out to the middle — then the real magic happened.
The Aussie quick replicated the dismissal of Pujara, sending Kohli on his way for a duck to close out the over.
“It’s hard to overstate how incredible that is, for to batsmen to be dismissed like that in the same over without scoring,” James Brayshaw said. “You just never see it.”
And the freak show only continued the following over.
Cummins forced Ajinkya Rahane to edge one down the leg side to Tim Paine, putting himself on a hat-trick with astonishing figures of 4-2.
The Sydney product tried a short ball to dismiss Rohit Sharma, who turned the ball around the corner, inches away from Harris’ diving hands at leg gully.
BUMRAH TAKES DOWN AUSTRALIA
Jasprit Bumrah produced a fast bowling masterclass for the visitors, claiming stunning figures of 6-33 from 15.5 overs and earning his name a spot on the MCG’s wall of fame.
A pearler of a delivery that skittled Shaun Marsh on Friday again emphasised that Bumrah is a Test spearhead of the highest calibre. The right armer took charge as Australia were mauled for 151 in their first innings, giving India a whopping 292-run lead on day three of the Boxing Day Test.
Since making his Test debut in January, Bumrah has taken 45 wickets at an average of 21.24 and this was his third five-wickethaul.
In the last over before lunch, Bumrah bowled five deliveries that were all around the same speed.
Then he sent down a looping slower ball that completely fouled Marsh’s timing and the full toss trapped him lbw.
It had commentators raving about Bumrah’s control and Australian great Glenn McGrath is a fan.
“The one thing I wanted to see with that action of his, how he just ambles up, is how he would maintain that pace later in the day in his third spell after bowling a few overs,” McGrath told Channel Seven.
“He has impressed me, he has kept his pace even late in the day with that action.”
— with AAP