The first day of the third test was initially marred with rain and slowly kept tilting in the favour of the hosts. In order to make up for the lost overs, play began half an hour before the scheduled time. Steve Smith single-handedly led the charge with the bat for Australia on Day 2. India fought their way back into the match with an inspiring display after a rather subdued display yesterday.
Resuming the day from their overnight score of 166-2, the well-settled pair of Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith began cautiously as the Indian bowlers aimed a line at the stumps.
The first session was halted twice due to rain in Sydney. Marnus Labuschagne missed out on a century by nine runs courtesy of a sharp catch by captain Ajinkya Rahane in slip.
Matthew Wade sparked up the day’s play with a vintage test match battle with Hanuma Vihari. He was subjected to several blows on his body stationed at short leg following the wicket-keeper batsman’s powerful sweep shots.
Wade’s stay was short as he once again perished after trying to attack the spinner, mirroring his dismissal to Ashwin at MCG. Jasprit Bumrah struck right before lunch and after the session break with the new ball to remove Cameron Green and Tim Paine without much fuss.
Steve Smith stood tall as his teammates perished one by one. The ICC Test Batsman Of The Decade proceeded to turn around his dismal series with his eighth ton against India.
The hosts were bundled out for 338 right before the tea break, leaving India a brief period of time to negotiate Australia’s new-ball attack.
New look opening pair of Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill made use of the batting-friendly conditions. The pair were responsible for stitching India’s first 50-run opening stand in 14 tests.
They were on course to become the first batsmen to register a 100-run opening partnership away from home in a decade, but Sharma’s dismissal dampened the hopes.
Josh Hazlewood was the first to strike with a reflex caught and bowled wicket of Sharma, who got out for 26.
Gill, on the other hand, continued to impress with his handling of a world-class attack. The youngster even brought up his maiden half-century, only to depart one ball after.
The run flow was halted significantly following the dismissal of both the openers with the experienced pair of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane looking to see off the day, especially Pat Cummins’ hostile spell. The No.3 batsman also endured a spell where he did not score a run for 33 deliveries towards the end of the day’s play.
The pair were able to escape unscathed, leaving India at 96-2 after 45 overs, at the end of Day 2, trailing by 242 runs in the first innings.
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