Australia went on to cross the 450-run mark in their first innings thanks to tons from Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell on the second day of the third Test of the ongoing Border-Gavaskar trophy. However, India were at a strong 1-121 at the close of play on Day Two. Follow all the action of Day 3 from 3pm (AEDT) here on The Roar.
The visitors had resumed at 4-299 with Smith and Maxwell at the centre. The latter was able to bring up his first century in Test match cricket with a sterling effort.
However, most of Maxwell’s good work had come on the first day as he became the first man to be dismissed in the first session on Friday as he was caught behind by Wriddhiman Saha off Ravindra Jadeja.
That brought Mathew Wade into the centre and he did reasonably well with Smith going strong at the other end. The manner of Wade’s dismissal was the same as that of Maxwell – caught behind by Saha off Jadeja. Pat Cummins, making his second appearance for Australia in Test matches was dismissed for a duck as Jadeja disturbed his stumps.
Steve O’Keefe was able to frustrate India’s bowlers for 70 deliveries when he scored 25 runs before he was dismissed by Umesh Yadav.
Yadav generated good reverse swing at this time and that had a role to play in the dismissal as he laid the trap for the batsman who took the bait.
Nathan Lyon was dismissed by Jadeja who finished with figures of 5-124 in the first innings before Hazlewood was run out. That brought an end to the Australian innings at 451 with Smith unbeaten on 178 at the other end.
Smith outlined his qualities with the bat for the second successive day as he held out a decent Indian attack while keeping the scoreboard ticking at all times.
Murali Vijay’s return to the top order with Lokesh Rahul as his opening partner has added some much-needed steel to the top of India’s batting lineup. While Rahul went on to score yet another half-century before being caught behind off Cummins, Vijay was unbeaten on 42 runs when the umpires called for stumps.
Incidentally, Rahul was the only Indian batsman to be dismissed on the second day as he walked back after having scored a fluent 67.
Vijay and Pujara were unbeaten on 42 and 10 respectively when the umpires signalled the end of the day’s play.
The two batsmen have done well together in the past and they need to start from scratch tomorrow.
The pitch at Ranchi has been more affectionate towards batting than the previous two and but India wouldn’t want to chase too much in the fourth innings.
With India playing seven batsmen and the quality of their batting lineup, the side should be looking to post a decent first innings lead before their spinners come into play.
The Australians will be acutely aware of India’s game-plan. Mitchell Starc’s loss on this surface could be a problem if Cummins and Josh Hazlewood are unable to exert pressure from one end.
Both Lyon and O’Keefe have proved to be capable customers when it comes to bowling spin in India and the two men will be the key for the visitors come Saturday.
Follow the live scores and blog of the third day of this third Test between India and Australia from 3pm (AEDT) here on The Roar.