8 Jan 2015

Aussies declare at 7-572 in fourth Test

5:56 am on 8 January 2015

Captain Steve Smith completed his fourth century in as many matches as Australia compiled a daunting first innings total on day two of the final cricket test against India in Sydney.

The Australia cricket captain Steven Smith.

Australian batsman Steve Smith Photo: Photosport

The Australian captain added to his incredible run of form against the tourists with a composed 117 as Australia, already holding an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series, declared on 572 for seven shortly after tea on day two.

In response to the huge total, India got off to a horrible start, losing in-form opener Murali Vijay for a duck on the third ball to left-arm paceman Mitchell Starc.

But Lokesh Rahul (31 not out) and Rohit Sharma (40 not out), brought back after being dropped for the third test in Melbourne, ensured there was no further damage and took India to 71-1 at stumps.

After Australia had resumed on 348-2, Shane Watson fell for 81 in the morning session with Shaun Marsh (73) the only batsman to get out in the afternoon. A half-century from Joe Burns (58) meant the home side's top six batsmen made at least a fifty.

Burns and Ryan Harris fell at the start of the third session to give India paceman Mohammed Shami his second five-wicket haul in tests.

Watson and Smith added 196 for the third wicket after openers David Warner (101) and Chris Rogers (95) put on 200 on Tuesday as Australia's top order cashed in on a flat pitch.

Smith continued his extraordinary run of form, following up his 162 not out in the first test in Adelaide, 133 in the second test in Brisbane and 192 in the third test in Melbourne with another hundred.

Resuming on 82, he reached his eighth test ton when he smashed a full toss from fast bowler Umesh Yadav for a boundary.

Yadav gained a small measure of revenge when he dismissed Smith just before the break, finding the edge off an attempted drive and giving wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha a simple catch.

Watson, batting cautiously after a lean run, looked set to register just his fifth test hundred since making his test debut a decade ago, only to throw his wicket away with a rash shot.

He was caught by Ravichandran Ashwin at deep midwicket off the bowling of Shami, marking the 24th time he had made a test half-century but failed to go on and reach triple figures.

Marsh, run out for 99 in Melbourne, also missed out when he was caught behind off Shami, while Burns, playing in his second test, registered his first 50 with a composed display.

Harris smashed Bhuvneshwar Kumar for 19 runs in an over and brought the crowd to their feet with his knock of 25 from nine deliveries.

The quick runs from Harris prompted Smith to declare the innings.

Smith needs only 18 more runs to surpass Sir Donald Bradman's tally of 715 as the best effort by an Australian in a Test series against India.

Australia tallied more than 500 runs in their first innings of every Test in the four-match series.

The last time the side managed the feat in four consecutive Tests came against the West Indies in 1968-69.

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