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AUS vs IND, 3rd Test, Day 2 Report: Smith scores ton but India fightback

 The second day of the third Test match between India and Australia, being held at the Sydney Cricket Ground, is even-stevens as the visiting team managed to roar back into the game with a dominating performance. The Australians were first shot out for 338, which might be below par at the flat track, and then ended the day at 96 for 2, still trailing by 242 runs. The Indian openers shone as they scored 70 for the first wicket, before Rohit Sharma, who was playing in place of Mayank Agarwal was dismissed. Shubman Gill scored a fine fifty before he was the second batter to be sent back to the pavilion. Cheteshwar Pujara and skipper Ajinkya Rahane ensured that the team saw through the end of day’s play without the loss of further wickets. 

The duo of Gill and Rohit – India’s third opening pair in as many games on this tour – were in fine form as the Australian pacers struggled to get the right line and lengths. Rohit punished anything that was slightly short and had width on offer, while Gill was his aggressive best as well. They scored 11 fours in their stand together along with a six. Gill, who has impressed the experts already, was at ease against Nathan Lyon, using his feet well against the spinner as he stroked his way to a delightful half century. 

Rohit survived a controversial decision after he was given out caught at short leg, but the TV umpire revered the decision after failing to find conclusive evidence that the ball had nicked the bat and not the glove. He was sent back soon after, however, while driving a fuller delivery from Josh Hazlewood straight back to the bowler. Oat Cummins, who was getting some assistance and movement with the old ball then got the wicket of Gill, who outside edged one to gully. 

Pujara, who had struggled against Cummins in the entire series, was troubled yet again as the bowler found his lengths. He was asked to nick one against the balls that seamed away, but the batsman held fort as he left anything that was top of the off stump, as he ended the day not out. 

Earlier, it was all about Steve Smith as he became the first player from his team to get a century in this series. He scored a fine 131, but his runout helped India get plenty of quick wickets as they managed to dismiss the side for a decent score. Ravindra Jadeja was the star of the innings as he picked up 4 wickets. The Australians lost three wickets in the opening session, and then a few more after the lunch break as Smith was running out of partners. 

Also Read: Australia vs India: Twitter goes bonkers as Steve Smith clocks his 27th Test ton

Though Mitchell Starc came to the party with a crucial 24 that helped the Aussies cross the 300-run mark, the rest of the batters were unable to chip in and bear the brunt of Jasprit Bumrah and Jadeja. Smith was spectacular as he held one end up and then switched gears to score some quick runs as the wickets fell at the other end. He was eventually run out off a direct hit by Jadeja, but not before playing a knock that proved why he is regarded so highly. 

Resuming the day at 166 for 2, Smith and Marnus Labuschagne troubled India as they started from where they had left off on Day 1. They were comfortable against both pace and spin, and very soon the boundaries started flowing. Labuschagne was the first casualty as he found an outside edge while getting on to the backfoot only to find Rahane at slip, who took a sharp catch. He was dismissed for 91, and narrowly missed out on a well deserving ton. 

After the second shower break of the day, the Australians started with the same aggressive mode as Matthew Wade attacked Ravindra Jadeja for some quick fours. However, the spinner had his batsman as Wade threw his wicket away in a move to be aggressive. The Indians took the new ball as soon as it was made available to them, and they got rewarded for some tight bowling as they reduced the hosts to 249 for 5 after they were 206 for 2 at one stage. 

Brief scores: Australia 338 (Marnus Labuschagne 91, Steve Smith 131; Jasprit Bumrah 2-66, Navdeep Saini 2-65, Ravindra Jadeja 4-62) lead India 96/2 (Shubman Gill 58) by 242 runs.


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