Australian batsmen improve vastly but bowlers continue to struggle
Many people found the selection of Steve Smith for the third Test as wrong and even stupid.
But Smith answered the critics in almost the best possible way with a 92, eight short of his maiden Test hundred.
A re-adjusted technique helped Smith play an innings filled with class, control, focus and determination. It was a big day for Smith who had not played a Test match since January 2011.
Smith combined with Starc for a 97 run partnership after Australia were in trouble at 7/273 after day two.
Starc himself contributed with 99. The bowler continues to shine with the bat and fell one short of becoming just the fifth Australian batsman to score a century batting at no.9 or below.
Despite no one going on to get the triple figures, Warner, Cowan, Smith and Starc all contributed good scores to help Australia to a healthy first innings of 408, a huge improvement after Hyderabad.
But with all the positives that came out of the Australian innings, the bowlers once again struggled on the flat Mohali track as India reached 0/283 at stumps on day 3.
The tides turned after lunch as Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay recorded the biggest opening stand in any Test match against Australia.
Dhawan became the 13th Indian to score a century on debut and also recorded the fastest century on debut by an Indian off just 85 balls. Vijay played a more settled and defensive innings with 83* off 181 balls.
Australia lead by 125 runs and may still have a chance at victory despite the batting onslaught displayed by the Indian openers.
Other than Peter Siddle, all of the Australian bowlers were expensive with Starc 0/46 off 11, Henriques 0/38 off 7, Lyon 0/69 off 15, Doherty 0/57 off 10 and Smith the worst of all with 0/24 off 3.
The figures emphasise Australia’s inability and lack of experience to take wickets on flat Indian tracks and the fact that Nathan Lyon and Xavier Doherty are nowhere near the standard of the Indian spinners.
After yet another single digit score, Phil Hughes must make a sizeable score in Australia’s second innings or face the axe come the fourth Test next week.
Australia will be hoping for early wickets on day four to maintain a lead going into their second innings