Day 3: Aussie tail wags, India go on leather hunt

Brisbane: The batsman in Mitchell Johnson was awakened by India’s aggressive tactics as he, along with captain Steve Smith stitched a partnership that changed the course of the match on Day Three of the second Test on Friday.

Smith continued to torment India with his second successive century as Australia relied on their tail-enders to stage an amazing recovery and gain a vital 97-run first-innings lead in the second Test on Friday.

Smith (133) became the ninth Australian to score a century on his captaincy debut as the hosts wriggled out of a precarious 247 for six to post a mammoth 505 in their first innings with Mitchell Johnson (88) and Mitchell Starc (52) making valuable contributions down the order at the Gabba. By the end of third day’s play, India reduced the deficit to 26 runs with Shikhar Dhawan and Cheteshwar Pujara batting on 26 and 15 respectively. They were 71 for one at stumps on what turned out to be a rather disappointing day for the visitors.

The last four Australian wickets added 258 runs to virtually take the game from India, who looked like taking the first-innings lead at one stage.

Resuming the day on overnight 221 for four with Smith unbeaten on 65, Australia lost Mitchell Marsh for the addition of just 11 runs to Umesh Yadav (3/101) before Varun Aaron (2/145) had Brad Haddin caught at short leg. But the Indian bowlers struggled thereafter as the duo of Smith and Johnson quickly went on to share a 148-run stand for the seventh wicket, a record at this venue. The runs came off just 26 overs, giving ample indication of the way they punished the visiting side bowlers.

This was Smith’s second consecutive hundred in the series, having reached the three-figure mark in the opener in Adelaide. With the two batsmen going strong, Australia went to lunch at 351 for six, and consolidated their position thereafter to be sitting pretty at 503 for nine at the tea break.

However, the Indians wrapped up the innings soon after tea with last man Starc being bowled by Ravichandran Ashwin (2/128), bringing some relief to the visitors who toiled in the first two sessions.

When India’s turn to bat came again, first-innings centurion Murali Vijay (27) was snared by Starc after the batsman had hit a few boundaries. Dhawan and Pujara then saw off the last few overs without any further casualty.

Dhawan had opened the innings with Vijay as India looked to bat out the last session and maintain the equilibrium in the Test. Vijay started off well with a string of boundaries and he was looking good at the crease. But a charged-up Starc (1-10) removed him in the 11th over of the innings, the batsman playing on to his stumps.

Dhawan and Pujara then added 30 runs in their unbroken second-wicket stand, with the Indian 50-run mark coming up in the 15th over. Johnson (0-29), Josh Hazlewood (0-24) and Shane Watson (0-6) were the other bowlers deployed in this short session of play.

This was after Smith helped Australia reach a 500-plus total in their first innings and take a comfortable lead. After lunch, India took the second new ball as soon as it became due. But it had little effect on the attacking duo at the crease.

India 1st innings

408 All-out

AUStralia 1st innings

C Rogers c Dhoni b Yadav…………………………..55

D Warner c Ashwin b Yadav………………………..29

S Watson c Dhawan b Ashwin…………………….25

S Smith b Ishant…………………………………….133

S Marsh c Ashwin b Yadav………………………….32

M Marsh b Ishant……………………………………..11

B Haddin c Pujara b Aaron…………………………..6

M Johnson c Dhoni b Ishant……………………….88

M Starc not out………………………………………..52

N Lyon c Rohit b Aaron……………………………..23

J Hazlewood not out…………………………………32

Extras: lb4, w5, nb10………………………………19

Total: For 9 wkts……………………………………505

FoW: 1-47, 2-98, 3-121, 4-208, 5-232, 6-247, 7-395, 8-398, 9-454

Bowling: Ishant 23-2-117-3, Aaron 26-1-145-2, Yadav 25-4-101-3, Ashwin 33.4-4-128-2, Rohit 2-0-10-0.

India 2nd innings

M Vijay b Starc…………………………………………27

S Dhawan not out…………………………………….26

C Pujara not out……………………………………….15

Extras: lb2, nb1………………………………………..3

Total: For 1 wkt………………………………………71

FoW: 1-41

Bowling: Johnson 8-3-29-0, Hazlewood 6-0-24-0, Starc 4-1-10-1, Watson 5-3-6-0.

(For all the latest News, Mumbai, Entertainment, Cricket, Business and Featured News updates, visit Free Press Journal. Also, follow us on Twitter and Instagram and do like our Facebook page for continuous updates on the go)

Free Press Journal

www.freepressjournal.in