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Australia v India: third Test, day five – live!

Join Scott Heinrich for our over-by-over coverage of day five of the Boxing Day Test at the MCG, with Australia looking to push for victory over India.

Email him: scott.heinrich.casual@theguardian.com

Australia v India: third Test, day four - as it happened

94th over: Australia 303-8 (S Marsh 86, Lyon 0)

Good over from Shami. Lyno sees off the last two balls to keep Marsh on strike. Good of him to do that.

Harris plays a nothing sort of shot, presumably trying to steer Shami down to third man, but the ball is a bit too straight for that and he edges into the ironclad gloves of Dhoni. No declaration. Out comes Lyno.

93rd over: Australia 301-7 (S Marsh 85, Harris 21)

Ashwin maintains his line outside Marsh’s off-stump and the batsman isn’t interested. We have another maiden, ladies and gents.

92nd over: Australia 301-7 (S Marsh 85, Harris 21)

A nice cut shot from Marsh off Shami takes Australia to 300. Does seem to be a little more urgency now. The world according to Steve Smith is becoming clearer to me: get Marsh to his century, declare and have a couple of overs at India before lunch. Genius.

91st over: Australia 297-7 (S Marsh 83, Harris 20)

Ashwin’s latest over takes place and I barely notice a thing. Even for a spinner, he dead-set races through his overs. I did notice Marsh take a couple to move to 83. A century beckons, unless Smith wants to be a nasty piece of work and declare when he’s in the 90s.

90th over: Australia 295-7 (S Marsh 81, Harris 20)

Harris rocks onto the back foot and punches Yadav through the covers - a classic cricket shot that, dare I say, channelled Damien Martyn in his pomp. The ball pulls up just short of the rope but they run four all the same.

89th over: Australia 288-7 (S Marsh 79, Harris 15)

Ashwin gets through his over with typical speed, Australia’s eighth-wicket pair helping themselves to three singles. This game remains in a holding pattern. Australia’s lead is now over 350 runs, and the longer this goes on the less likelihood there is of a grandstand finish.

88th over: Australia 285-7 (S Marsh 77, Harris 14)

Marsh bunts the ball a few metres to the off-side and sets off for what would be a suicidal single. Harris, ever the calm head, says no way, Jose, you must be kidding. Or maybe he just said, ‘No’. Either way, Marsh is sent back to the striker’s end, where he can have a damn good think about things while he waits for the next delivery.

87th over: Australia 284-7 (S Marsh 77, Harris 14)

More probing and insistent spin from Ashwin. Harris sees off a maiden.

86th over: Australia 284-7 (S Marsh 77, Harris 14)

Marsh plays an ambitious late cut off Yadav, his thick edge flying just over the outstretched hands of the sole slip fielder (in roughly second slip position). That’s a four for Marsh, he brings up his three-quarter-century - why isn’t that a valid statistic? - and the 50 partnership is registered. And the sun is out. Ain’t life grand?

85th over: Australia 280-7 (S Marsh 73, Harris 14)

Play resumes with Ashwin on for his first bowl of the day. He immediately brings an edge from Harris, the ball falling just short of slip, before the number nine drives confidently down to long-off for two.

Good news, people. The sun is shining (again) and play is about to resume (again). Let’s hope we don’t have a rain delay (again). Both batsmen and the fielders are about to return to the field of play.

And now for a word from our sponsors OBO participants:

Andrew Webber: “Surely Channel 9 cricket commentary team have just plumbed a new depth. While we are constantly fed a diet of Kentucky Fried Cricket we now have to put up with discussion on their favourite pizzas.”

Another light shower descends on the MCG and the covers are back on. Doesn’t look to be anything too threatening so hopefully this delay is shorter than the last.

84th over: Australia 278-7 (S Marsh 73, Harris 12)

Harris takes a quick single off Yadav. The TV pizza discussion is not only continuing but gathering pace. Slap me on the face with a wet anchovy. Right now.

83rd over: Australia 277-7 (S Marsh 73, Harris 11)

Shami goes the bumper to Marsh, but it springs off the deck to such an extent that a wide is added to the extras. The Channel 9 commentators have been talking about their favourite pizza for what seems an eternity now. Enough said.

82nd over: Australia 270-7 (S Marsh 68, Harris 10)

A couple of singles off Yadav. I wish I had something more exciting to tell you. But I don’t.

81st over: Australia 268-7 (S Marsh 67, Harris 9)

New ball not taken. Harris turns Shami behind square for his first runs of the morning. Marsh then picks up two but still no real urgency from Australia. Looks like the plan is to bat India out of the game and hope to bundle them out in 70-odd overs.

80th over: Australia 265-7 (S Marsh 65, Harris 8)

Yadav arrows a sandshoe crusher to Harris, with a hearty lbw appeal being turned down for a very good reason - it was missing leg. The batsmen take a single down to fine-leg before the seamer twice beats Marsh’s bat off a good length. Excellent bowling. New ball is due.

79th over: Australia 264-7 (S Marsh 65, Harris 8)

A real game of cat and mouse happening out there. Shami offers Marsh very little by way of temptation and a maiden over ensues.

78th over: Australia 264-7 (S Marsh 65, Harris 8)

Sharma is given a breather after just one over - not sure why - with Yadav brought on. He strays onto Marsh’s pads and is whipped backward of square for a single. A very defensive field setting here from India.

77th over: Australia 263-7 (S Marsh 64, Harris 8)

No slips for Shami. Another mischievous single for Marsh puts Harris on strike. Shami is quick, full and swinging the ball into the right-hander. No more runs. No sign yet of a quick slog from the Aussies.

76th over: Australia 262-7 (S Marsh 63, Harris 8)

The sun is shining. We’re back in business. And Sharma’s over-in-two-parts concludes with a cheeky single for Marsh.

Now, I did raise the possibility of a declaration from Mr Smith. I put it out there. I wanted a discussion, but I would have settled for a nibble.

And I got one, from N. Subramanian:

Applause all round. High fives. Slap the zinc back on your laughing gear.

Hmmm, the drizzle has returned, the covers are back on and we’re no nearer to a resumption of play. So sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings.

If the famously capricious Melbourne climate takes a turn for the arctic, there’s always ...

The showers are starting to abate and the covers are coming off. That’s very good news. There are still a few umbrellas up in what looks to be a tiny crowd for what could be a monumental day’s play. Then again, I was one of 40,000 watching Hawthorn play the Crows one day at the MCG and it felt like a ghost town.

Hopefully play resumes soon.

Sharma resumes the attack for India. Three nondescript deliveries take place until a few drops of precipitation descend, prompting the umpires to whip off the bails and call a halt to play. The rain doesn’t look to be heavy but the covers are on very quickly and we have a very early, and unwelcome, break in play.

Early start today, people. To make up for lost time.

The big question is: to declare or not to declare.

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