Dominating the first two days of the Boxing Day Test, India set out to tussle against Australia on Day 3, a day which could arguably decide the fate of the match. The visitors came out on top for the third day in a row leaving the Aussies on the ropes.
Resuming from their overnight score of 277-5, centurion Ajinkya Rahane was Australia’s first scalp. The skipper fell marginally short of the crease and was adjudged run out by the third umpire, just as the lead was about to reach the three-figure mark.
His partner at the other end, Ravindra Jadeja, proceeded to reach his fifty but succumbed to Mitchell Starc’s ploy. The left-arm seamer had deployed a leg-side dominant field including a forward short leg and a leg slip. Bowling short deliveries from around the wicket, Jadeja thumped his shot right into the hands of deep midwicket.
Rest of the wickets fell apart like bowling pins and India’s fragile tail folded at 326, with a crucial lead of 131 runs. The morning collapse saw 5 wickets fall for 32 runs.
India emerged with the ball and similar to the first innings, were right on top of the Aussies. Joe Burns’ woes prolonged as he was victim to an unplayable delivery by Umesh Yadav. The pacer, however, was forced to leave the field following a calf strain. The visitors struck once more before tea with Labuschagne edging one to slip, off Ashwin.
With the game tilted slightly in favour of India, the final session’s play had the possibility to seal the fate of the game. With wickets being the primary priority for the bowling side, they took their time and never dropped the intensity to strike the Aussies where it hurt.
Smith’s dismal series continued with the ace batsman being rattled by Ashwin constantly. He was eventually bowled by Bumrah as he shifted towards the offside in his usual fashion, this time around he missed the ball altogether which clipped the bail on its way.
What followed was an impressive period of play for India. Matthew Wade’s frustrating vigil was ended by Jadeja, who trapped him LBW. The returning Siraj scalped the wicket of Travis Head while Tim Paine had to depart following a controversial DRS call.
Reeling at 99-6, the pair of Cameron Green and Pat Cummins steered them to safety and overcame the trail and began their lead. The pair will begin Day 4 from 133-6, with a lead of 2.
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