Marsh and Head fall as India close on Australia Test win

India grabbed the key wickets
of Shaun Marsh and Travis Head as they inched towards their first Test win on
Australian soil in a decade Monday, with the home team battling to stay in
the game.

The hosts are chasing target of 323, a score never before successfully
achieved in a fourth innings run chase at the Adelaide Oval.

They resumed the final day of the opening Test needing another 219 for
victory with four wickets down.

Head added just three runs to his overnight 11 and when Marsh fell for 60
to leave the Australians 156 for 6, the odds shifted heavily in India’s
favour.

But by lunch Australia had fought to 186 for 6, still needing a further 137
runs for victory, with skipper Tim Paine not out 40 and Pat Cummins on five.

Mohammed Shami had 2 for 40 and Ravichandran Ashwin 2 for 71.

Marsh and Head started cautiously, grinding out 11 runs in the opening
seven overs before seamer Ishant Sharma struck with the score on 115, bowling
a bouncer that caught Head’s bat as he tried to fend it off and Ajinkya
Rahane took the catch at gully.

Paine joined Marsh and they upped the ante, capitalising on some loose
balls from Shami to steadily chip away and close the gap.

Marsh brought up a valuable 50 – his 10th in Tests — with a boundary from
a pull shot off spinner Ashwin.

It was a much-needed knock for the left-hander, who was on a run of six
consecutive single-figure Test scores, although he has been in scintillating
form in domestic cricket.

But he didn’t last much longer with Jasprit Bumrah getting the big
breakthrough as Marsh pushed at a perfectly angled delivery, getting a faint
edge to Rishabh Pant behind the stumps.

Cummins, whose highest Test score is 50, survived two big reviews within
four balls, with the technology both times going in his favour to keep
Australia in the hunt.

Australia has been a tough place for India to tour. They have never won a
series here and have tasted victory in only five matches in more than 70
years.

The last Test they won in Australia was at the WACA Ground in Perth in
2008, and the last one in Adelaide was in 2003.