Allan Border is surprised with India's decision to not enforce the follow-on over Australia despite taking a huge first innings lead on Day 3 of the ongoing Boxing Day Test at MCG.
The visitors led wonderfully by some astute captaincy from Virat Kohli and through a magnificent spell of 6/33 from the truly exceptional Jasprit Bumrah, bowled Australia all out for just 151.
They advantaged themselves with a significant lead of 292 runs which was further enhanced to 346 at the end of the day, with India batting on 54/5 in the third innings at stumps.
This is where, while the obvious ploy was to give rest to the bowlers and ensure further deterioration on the surface as well as no final innings run-chase pressure, Border disagreed with the tactical decision making.
"You would like to think so [that Australia can come back into this] and I think this afternoon's cricket has obviously given Australia a little bit of hope but the lead now almost to that stage where it's going to be hard to chase down," Border was quoted saying during a post-day show for Indian broadcaster, Sony Six.
"The pitch is still playing okay and we know it doesn't deteriorate too much over here the next couple of days. India is still in the box seat but they've left the door slightly ajar for the Aussies."
Border also talked about the weather predictions with rain expected this weekend and termed that as another reason why India batting again even though they had a huge lead, was surprising.
The great man further said, "I was really surprised that follow-on wasn't enforced given that talking about the high percentage of rain on Day 5 and even tomorrow some rain. So just with that lurking in the background."
"I thought you've got all the momentum your way, you've bowled Australia out and Bumrah has been fantastic. You've only bowled like what 67 overs so I thought you could mix and match your bowlers this afternoon and get them to freshen over the night and attack Australia in the morning."
"So they could have had the game just about done today and even if you gotta chase, say Australia have batted extraordinarily well and you've got to chase 120-140, this pitch here can get those runs. Look I thought India missed an opportunity to really seal the game but they've still got the higher ground," he added.
Although, the 63-year-old reaffirmed that India still has an upper hand and should go on to take an unassailable 2-1 lead in the four-match Test series.
"India has got the ascendency, they've got a fantastic bowling line-up. Bumrah has been quite phenomenal in the series and today he was tremendous. Just with that bowling attack, India does have, I just think they'll wrap this game up but as I said, just this afternoon's cricket has given Australia a little bit of an outside chance," he signed off.
(Inputs from India Today)