Pat Cummins has given Australia the perfect opportunity to take the lead in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy after again knocking down India’s great wall.
Cummins removed Cheteshwar Pujara for the fourth time in three Tests this summer on a horror Saturday for the tourists, taking 4-29 to have India all out for 244. Australia then went to stumps on day three at 103-2 in their second innings, leading by 197, with Marnus Labuschagne not out on 47 and Steve Smith 29.
The pair have put on a crucial 68 for the third wicket after Will Pucovski (10) and David Warner (13) fell early, giving India a sniff. Smith drove through the covers gloriously after doing likewise in his first-innings 131, while Labuschagne pounced on anything short.
It was Cummins’ heroics that gave Australia the chance to break the 1-1 deadlock with one game to play. Pujara was India’s stonewall on their triumphant tour two summers ago, but this series he has continually been beaten down by Cummins.
He scored the slowest half-century of his career on Saturday from 174 balls, but went two balls later when one from Cummins got high on him and brushed his glove through to Tim Paine. Cummins now has the figures of 4-19 from 21 overs against Pujara this summer.
Cummins started the day by getting Ajinkya Rahane chopping on for 22, seaming one back at India’s skipper as he went to late cut. After removing Shubman Gill on day two, he also inflicted the pain to Rishab Pant’s elbow before Hazlewood had him edging shortly after on 36.
Neither Pant or Ravindra Jadeja – who was hit by Starc – returned to the field as India sweat on their fitness. Cummins then did the job in the field to run out Ravichandran Ashwin in a collapse of five wickets for 21 runs.
Meanwhile the day’s other flashpoint came when Australia were unsuccessful in having Pujara caught at bat-pad off Nathan Lyon. The decision, after footage was obscured and there was no definite spike on hot spot, infuriated Paine who asked umpire Paul Wilson for some “f***ing consistency”.