Aaron Finch hasn’t justified the call to put him at the top of the order.
Aaron Finch hasn’t justified the call to put him at the top of the order.

Australia’s horror humiliation complete

Live: Boxing Day Test, day five


India has won the Boxing Day Test.







Australia's humiliation complete


India has won the Boxing Day Test to take a 2-1 series lead and retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy after bowling the hosts out for 261 on day five to secure a 137-run victory.

Rain delayed the start of play for more than two hours but the tourists didn't muck around when they finally took the field just before 1pm. Once again it was Jasprit Bumrah with the important breakthrough, getting Pat Cummins to outside edge a good length ball on off stump to first slip.

Cummins - who was the only Australian batsman to pass 50 in the match - was unable to add to his overnight tally of 63 as his fighting knock was brought undone by India's best performer.

Ishant Sharma then dismissed Nathan Lyon next over, caught behind from an attempted hook shot for seven.

More to come ...



Cummins' fighting knock comes to an end

Play finally got underway after an early lunch break when rain disappeared and the sun came out.

Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon comfortably saw out the first over by Ishant Sharma but Jasprit Bumrah came to the fore soon after to dismiss the Australian fast bowler for a fighting 63.

He outside edged a good length ball on off stump straight to first slip, putting India within one wicket of victory.




Rain makes India nervous

India will be sweating as the rain tumbles down in Melbourne, threatening to thwart its chances of taking a 2-1 lead in the series.

Virat Kohli will be especially nervous after opting against enforcing the follow-on on day three after bowling Australia out for just 151 in the first innings. The tourists soaked up more time in the match by batting for a further 37.3 overs in their second dig instead of taking another crack at the fragile Aussie batting order right away - and it's time that could come back to haunt it if the rain continues to fall.



'Crazy' crime in Aussie stich-up


Aaron Finch has been set up to fail.
Aaron Finch has been set up to fail.

Former Australian Test star Ed Cowan has lashed Australia's selectors for picking Aaron Finch as an opening batsman, claiming he was set up to fail.

Finch's Test career is in jeopardy after another low score on Saturday. He played a loose shot outside off stump and was caught at second slip for three, giving him scores of 0, 11, 50, 25, 8 and 3 for the series.

Despite batting in the middle order for Victoria in first class cricket, Finch was promoted to face the new ball as selectors backed him to succeed as an opener in the whites because he's forged a successful career at the top of the order in one-day and T20 cricket.

Finch was slammed for his ugly dismissal but Cowan said the selectors - including chairman Trevor Hohns - need to accept responsibility for his failures too.

"Basically, (Finch has been) set up to fail," Cowan said on ABC Grandstand. "An accomplished middle order player who opens the batting in one-day cricket and all of a sudden pops up at the top of the order.

"It's a crazy selection. Do we ever hear from Trevor Hohns saying I got that wrong? No."






Historic low looms for Aussies

Unless Pat Cummins miraculously reaches three figures today, Australia will be on the verge of a historic low that exposes the shambolic state of the country's batting stocks.

Assuming Cummins (or Nathan Lyon or Josh Hazlewood, for that matter) doesn't score a hundred, it will be the first time since the summer of 1991-92 the Aussies have gone into the New Year's Test without at least one player having posted a ton in the home summer.

And if that worrying streak continues at the SCG next month, it will be the first time in 136 years no Australian has scored a century in a four-Test series played at home, according to cricket.com.au.

Despite the recent batting flops, spinner Nathan Lyon stood by his teammates, saying it's unfair to suggest the top and middle order players are letting down the team.

"I don't feel that's a really fair comment, to be honest," Lyon said. "I see how much hard work the guys are doing in the nets, and at training.

"I know they're working hard, they're not going out there to try to fail, they're working their backsides off and they've got all my support.

"You've got to remember we're coming up against a world-class bowling attack.

"It's one of the best Indian bowling attacks that I've ever seen.

"I know all our batters are disappointed, of course they're disappointed, but I know how hard they're working and that, around the corner, there's a lot of success for them."




Mitch Marsh 'flat' after latest failure


Mitchell Marsh didn’t make an impact with the bat.
Mitchell Marsh didn’t make an impact with the bat.

Shaun Marsh admits younger brother Mitch is feeling flat after twin failures with the bat in the third Test while also expressing disappointment at those fans who booed the much-maligned all-rounder at the MCG.

Sections of the crowd, unhappy with Mitch Marsh for taking Victorian Peter Handscomb's place in Australia's XI, booed the West Australian on day one of the Boxing Day Test.

Marsh brushed off the noise to do a fine job with the ball, keeping things tight as he offering Australia's pacemen much-needed relief while delivering 26 overs in India's first innings.

But the vice-captain was unable to produce the same form with the bat and was dismissed for nine and 10 by spinner Ravindra Jadeja.

Marsh's dismissal on Saturday, an attempt at aggression gone awry, prompted stinging criticism from Simon Katich and no shortage of calls for selectors to swing the axe ahead of the SCG series decider.

"He's pretty flat at the moment," Shaun Marsh told the ABC after day four. "Obviously I feel for him. He'd be disappointed after today.

"But he's obviously bowled really well in the first innings. He did a good job backing up our quicks."

Shaun Marsh made the point that every member of the top six, including himself, is disappointed with their poor performance at the MCG.

Mitch Marsh is one of the most well-liked players in Australia's dressing room but, along with Aaron Finch, looms as the player most likely to be dropped in coming days if selectors opt for change.

"I'm absolutely lost for words watching that," Katich said of Mitch Marsh's dismissal.

"He's just squandered it again. He'll probably be joining (Aaron) Finch on the sidelines in Sydney."

Katich, commentating on SEN, noted he would be "steaming" if he were national coach Justin Langer.

"It's a good thing I'm up here and not down there, I'd be tearing strips off him (Mitch Marsh)," Katich said.

Asked about the boos on day one, Shaun Marsh replied he was "pretty disappointed".

"But you can't control that," Marsh said.

"Mitch to his credit carried on and I thought he did a really good job after that happened." Handscomb, Travis Head and bowling coach David Saker have also criticised those supporters who booed Mitch Marsh.