Australian batsmen scored 261/7 at Stumps on Day 4 as Shaun Marsh returned to form at the right time while Rogers continued his 50-hitting spree. On the last day, when Aussies ask India to bat, India will have three sessions and Dhoni’s call to go for draw or win will be crucial. Kohli has set a precedence of chasing, Dhoni might feel bit confused treading the new path of aggression. But, India must win to create a chance of equalling the series, while Smith may go defensive and prefer series win over test win. Considering that India has been already bowled out thrice below 200 runs in last three test matches at MCG, the target appears too tough, but will Smith believe so!!
Starting at the overnight score, Indian tailenders needed only 2.3 overs to surrender as Johnson sent Shami and Yadav in successive overs. The tail added 3 more valuable runs. India folded for 465, one of their biggest total in Australia, still fell short by 65 runs.
Warner started with aggression for Australia scoring almost a ball 40 runs when Ashwin sent him back. Watson was again shaky as he could score only 17 runs when Umesh got him caught behind before Aussies could reach 100. Captain Smith was unusually out at just 14 runs, giving Umesh his 2nd wicket of the day. Opener Chris Rogers scored 69 runs taking and was bowled by Ashwin. Debutant Burns failed again scoring only 9 runs as Ishant got him caught behind. When Yadav sent Haddin (13) back Australia were 202/6.
But the tail wagged again as Indian bowlers could only grab Johnson’s (15) wicket in next 20 overs. Shaun Marsh ensured runs keep flowing with unbeaten 62 runs in the company of Harris as they added unbeaten 27 runs for 8th wicket.
Aussies finished the day with a lead of 326 runs. If Clarke were the captain, a declaration was eminent. But, would Smith prefer to ensure series victory over test win!!
On the other hand, the bigger question is what will be Indian approach while chasing when they get the opportunity!!
Under Dhoni, which India will bat on the last day. There are three options:
1. The Indian team that tried to chase in first test.
2. The team that has refused to go for a chase on the last day even for achievable targets and weaker bowling like of West Indies.
3. The team that has been bowled out thrice below 200 runs at MCG in the 4th innings.
All eyes wait for 5th day to get the answer.
The crux is India must win to have a chance of equalising the series. It can just try to play for a draw in case the effort is just to avoid the whitewash that will turn Dhoni into the worst ever test captain in Cricket history with three whitewashes to his name.