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Australia set India a target of 384 at lunch on day 4

Australia set India a target of 384 at lunch on day 4 Shaun Marsh missed his century by a whisker as Australia set India a daunting target of 384 after declaring their second innings at 318-9 on a rain-hit final day of the third cricket Test here today.

Marsh’s 99-run innings was studded with 11 fours and two sixes as he took Australia’s lead to 383 runs at the Melbourne Cricket Ground after rain delayed play twice in the morning session.

Australia declared their innings at lunch and India now have to score 384 runs in 70 overs across two sessions of play to remain alive in this four-match series.

Play started early by 30 minutes to make up for the time lost on day four, but only three balls into the day and rain came down to stop the proceedings. There was a 40-minute delay before resumption of play again.

Marsh and Ryan Harris (21) continued to take their time and it looked like scoring runs was not on their agenda. Only 57 runs came in this morning session and the run-rate was nothing to write home about. It could be seen from the fact that the first boundary came in only the 83rd over, the 8th over of the morning.

India looked like they were waiting for the declaration to come about, while Australia were looking to play for time as the pitch didn’t show enough variable bounce like in Brisbane or deterioration like in Adelaide.

It resulted in a slow morning as the 50-run partnership for the 8th wicket came up off 112 balls. The 300-mark for Australia came up in the 92nd over.

At the hour mark in the morning session, there was another 10-minute delay in play because of rain. But no overs have been deducted with play extended in the evening until 6:06 pm local time and another half hour possible afterwards.

When play resumed, Harris was the first to depart of the two batsmen, caught behind off Mohammad Shami (2-92). There were only 20-odd minutes left in the session as Nathan Lyon (1*) came out to bat, but probably with the message that the team management intended to declare at the break.

– PTI