Third Test, Melbourne: Day 4 – Australia close in on series win

Shaun Marsh finished 62 not out, his first Test fifty in Australia and nearly doubling his previous highest score at home. Image: ABC Grandstand

Shaun Marsh finished 62 not out, his first Test fifty in Australia and nearly doubling his previous highest score at home. Image: ABC Grandstand

The New Daily: An interesting discussion popped up on social media during the lengthy second session rain break on Day 4, and it provided a very interesting snapshot of an Indian team that may well be improving its batting in parts, but still has a nagging issue.

With India already needing 327 to win, and more than 90 overs available to make them, the Third Test is set up beautifully.

But with such a history of Indian collapse in 2014 – they’ve collapsed in some shape or form in nine of the ten Tests they’ve played – Australia will have a real feeling of confidence tomorrow that taking the top five wickets will see the tail again offering little resistance.

STUMPS, Day 4: India resumed 8/462, trailing by 68.

INDIA 465 (M.Johnson 3/135)

AUSTRALIA 7/261 (C.Rogers 69, S.Marsh 62*; I.Sharma 2/49, R.Ashwin 2/56), and lead by 326 runs.

Second Test, Brisbane: Day 3 – Return of Johnson the allrounder

Steve Smith (inset) raised a century on debut as Australian Captain, while Mitchell Johnson looked every bit the allrounder. Images: ABC Grandstand

Steve Smith (inset) raised a century on debut as Australian Captain, while Mitchell Johnson looked every bit the allrounder. Images: ABC Grandstand

The New Daily: It takes a bit to outshine Steven Smith’s brilliant batting currently, but Mitchell Johnson may just have managed it in one of the innings of his career on Day 3 in Brisbane.

India will go into the fourth day of the Second Test on 1/71 trailing by 26 runs, after they finally removed the last of the Australian tail just after Tea. Smith compiled a brilliant 133, but it was the crisp strokeplay of Mitchell Johnson, and later Mitchell Starc (52) that won the plaudits.

After poking around for runs from his first ten balls, Johnson unleashed a flurry of boundaries to raise his tenth Test fifty in just 37 balls. It was further reminder that his sublime talents aren’t just limited to the ball.

It was also a reminder of Johnson’s feast or famine returns with the bat. Today was a feast, and in amongst Johnson’s 13 fours and a six were some of the most beautifully struck drives, cuts, and pull shots as any top order batsman could imagine.

His straight-driven boundary to reach fifty will take a lot of beating as the shot of the summer.