India will need to beat history to win the third Test against Australia, and may need a miracle even to draw the contest three sessions left, India need 309 runs, Australia need 8 (probably just 7) wickets.

The greatest successful chase ever at the SCG to win a Test was 288 when Australia beat South Africa in 2006.

It was impressive and important knocks from Steve Smith (81) and then Cameron Green (84) that set up Australia’s declared total of 6-312 by tea on Day 4.

Skipper Tim Paine hit 39 off 52 before declaring and giving India a full session on the penultimate day at the SCG.

The Indian openers started off cautiously and went after anything loose to record their second half-century partnership of the match. But, the relentless Australian pacers came back in style with Hazlewood and Cummins nipping out Gill and Rohit respectively.

Both Rohit (52 off 98 balls) and Gill (31 off 64 balls) showed admirable application under pressure but most importantly didn’t let the bad deliveries go unpunished.

The three cover drives off Rohit’s blade and a cross-batted straight drive of Gill were out of top drawer.

Rohit, for good measure, pulled Cameron Green over mid-wicket for a six and they both looked comfortable while negotiating the Australian attack.

Rohit Sharma must still be kicking himself for the way he threw his wicket away after getting to his fifty. Pujara was tentative throughout the innings, but he’s still unbeaten. If India have to save this match, the current pair (two of their most experienced batsmen) has to bat big.

Steve Smith (81 off 167 balls) missed out on a second hundred but rookie Cameron Green flayed a hapless Indian attack with a well-made 84 off 132 balls that had four sixes. They declared at the stroke of tea, having scored 312 for 6.

Marnus Labuschagne (73) failed to convert another half century on Sunday when he was caught down the leg-side off the bowling of Navdeep Saini for 73.

Matthew Wade followed him into the sheds soon after, nicking off to a brilliant seaming ball from Saini.

The Indians began their chase well before Josh Hazlewood had Gill caught behind, and then Pat Cummins removed Sharma shortly after reaching his half century.

The final session was marginally better for India but it’s still a long way to go before Rahane will be able to heave a sigh of relief.

Full Scorecard

First Test: Australia won by eight wickets

Second Test: India won by eight wickets

Third Test: January 7-11, SCG, 10.30am AEDT

 

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