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IND vs AUS, 3rd Test Day 2 Report: Australia Remove India Openers After Smith Century Lifts Them to 338

Steven Smith scored his 27th Test century but India made a strong reply with their openers before the close of play on Day 2.

Published: January 8, 2021 1:10 PM IST

By Sports Desk | Edited by Feroz Khan

steve smith test cricket century sydney india 2021
Steve Smith celebrates after reaching 27th Test century (Screen Grab)

Steve Smith roared back to form with a superlative century but it was India who finished the day slightly ahead having stopped Australia at a relatively low total considering how they had started after opting to bat first. Smith’s 131 and Marnus Labuschagne’s 91 helped Australia to 338-all out before India openers led a solid start on the Day 2 of the third Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Friday.

By the close of play though, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins had accounted for Rohit Sharma (26) and Shubman Gill (50) respectively. Together, Gill and Rohit added 70 runs – India’s best opening stand of the series so far. Pujara was unbeaten on 9 while captain Ajinkya Rahane was on 5, with India 96/2, trailing Australia by 242 runs at stumps.

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Rohit, playing his first Test of the tour, had started well for his 26 but ended up being caught and bowled off Hazlewood. With the pitch offering little to nothing to bowlers, the India openers made a fluent start with neither shying away from taking the aerial route. Rohit even stepped out to hit Nathan Lyon for a six after Gill lifted one from Pat Cummins over third man for four.

However, Rohit fell against the run of play before Gill completed a maiden Test half-century. He though was dismissed immediately after reaching the milestone, caught at gully off the bowling of Cummins.

This was after the day got underway with rain twice interrupting proceedings in the morning session after an early start. Labuschagne and Smith resumed Australia’s innings at 166/2 with the pair, expectedly, scoring without faing much trouble as India bowlers continued their search for a breakthrough.

They stitched a century partnership and it seemed Indian bowlers were in for a long day when Labuschagne, batting on 91, rocked back for a cut but instead managed an outside edge off Ravindra Jadeja to be caught by Ajinkya Rahane in the slips.

His wicket triggered a slide with Australia slipping from 206/2 to 287/7 as India began landing blows with the new ball. Matthew Wade looked aggressive hitting a pair of boundaries to make his intent clear but he was too adventurous for his own good after getting a leading edge to be caught off Jadeja on 13.

Cameron Green struggled to get off the mark with Jasprit Bumrah pinning him in front for a 21-ball duck. Captain Tim Paine lasted 10 deliveries as he was bowled on 1 by a ripper from Bumrah.

Amidst the slide, Smith continued to bat the way he does. He reached his 30th fifty in the company of Labuschagne and eventually scored his first century since 2019 – 27th of his Test career, going past his great rival Virat Kohli with whom he was on level terms.

He picked up the pace once no. 11 Hazlewood walked in with the former hogging the majority of strike. It was his one such attempt to take a quick second run that ended his innings as Jadeja from square leg fired in a direct-hit to catch him short but he had by then lifted Australia to a solid total.

Brief Scores: India 96/2 (Shubman Gill 50; Pat Cummins 1/19) trail Australia 338 (Steve Smith 131, Marnus Labuschagne 91; Ravindra Jadeja 4/62) by 242 runs

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