India closed at 98-2 after being placed 407 to win by Australia on day four of the third Test in Sydney, leaving the hosts as favorites to take a 2-1 lead in the four-match series.
Visiting openers Shubman Gill (31) and Rohit Sharma (52) were sacked on Sunday, by Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins respectively, leaving Cheteshwar Pujara (9 *) and stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane (4 *) at the crease.
India need a further 309 runs to win or, more likely, defeat what looks like hands-free day five before the sides head to Brisbane for the final, which begins at January 15.
Australia had declared their second innings at 312-6, where Cameron Green posted his Test before marrying half a century and scoring at the top with 84 of 132 deliveries.
Steve Smith (81) and Marnus Labuschagne (71) also passed fifty with the duo sharing a century stand for the third wicket – Labuschagne had dropped 47 on the second ball of the day with Hanuma Vihari making the error on the square leg off the Jasprit Bumrah bowling.
Captain Tim Paine struck 39 unbeaten from 52 balls after being dropped by Rohit off Bumrah, with the skipper going on to share a ton partnership for the sixth wicket with Green, whose dismissal triggered the Australian declaration .
Green managed four six sixes and eight fours before beating Bumrah behind her to wicket keeper Wriddhiman Saha, who substituted for the stricken Rishabh Pant (elbow).
India also had not bowled Ravindra Jadeja’s spin due to a displaced thumb and it seems the round player is unlikely to bat in his side’s second innings.
A group of supporters in the crowd of 7,225 social distance were pulled from their seats by police just before tea after bowler Mohammed Siraj complained to the referee.
Cricket Australia later apologized to the India team and promised the “strongest measures” against anyone in the ground guilty of wrongdoing after visiting players claimed they had been racially abused. (Skys Sports)