Tue, Dec 18, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Australia just five wickets away from winning Perth Test

Reuters, PERTH, Australia

Australia need five wickets to secure a series-leveling victory in the second Test with India’s daunting run chase on a menacing pitch teetering at stumps on day four.

Chasing 287 runs after bowling out Australia’s second innings for 243, India yesterday reached the close at 112-5 with Hanuma Vihari 24 not out and Rishabh Pant unbeaten on 9.

Struggling on the Perth Stadium pitch marked by widening cracks, India made a poor start losing the key wickets of Lokesh Rahul for a fourth-ball duck and Cheteshwar Pujara, India’s first Test hero in Adelaide, for 4.

India’s faint hopes rested on captain Virat Kohli, who counterattacked with several flowing drives in reminiscent fashion to his masterful first innings of 123.

Kohli combined with opener Murali Vijay to stabilize India before he edged a straight Nathan Lyon delivery to Usman Khawaja at slip for 17, sparking scenes of jubilation by the Australia players.

The off-spinner claimed the India talisman for a record seventh time, the most by a bowler, and in his next over bowled Vijay for 20 off an inside-edge.

Lyon continued his stranglehold over India, continually troubling the batsmen by targeting the expansive rough patches.

Ajinkya Rahane played his strokes and combined well with Vihari before the India vice captain fell just before stumps, slashing a Josh Hazlewood delivery straight to point for 30.

The bowling onslaught has Australia on the cusp of snapping a barren six-Test run without a win and providing skipper Tim Paine with his first triumph.

Australia’s bowlers regained firm control of the match after their batsmen had crumbled against quick Mohammed Shami in the middle session.

After a wicketless morning session, India came alive through blistering short-pitched bowling from Shami, who made the ball steeple off the deteriorating wicket to finish with a career-best 6-56.



New Zealand opener Tom Latham yesterday flayed Sri Lanka’s bowlers with an unbeaten 264 before the tourists’ top order failed again, leaving them on the verge of a heavy first Test defeat in Wellington.

Latham walked off to a standing ovation at the Basin Reserve after carrying his bat and helping New Zealand to 578, a commanding first-innings lead of 296.

Seamers Tim Southee and Trent Boult then combined to remove Sri Lanka’s top order, reducing them to 20-3 at stumps on day three.

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