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India vs Australia, 1st Test, Day 3: 5 Talking Points

Steve O'Keefe
Steve O’Keefe. (Photo Source: BCCI)

The winning streak of Team India in the home season finally came to an end as they were steamrolled by a spirited Australian team in the opening Test of the 4 match Test series at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Ground in Pune. Courtesy an exceptional bowling performance from left-arm spinner Steve O’ Keefe, Australia thrashed the hosts by a huge margin of 333 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the 4 match series. This was also Australia’s first test win on Indian soil since 2004.

The 3rd day began with Australia 298 runs ahead. Captain Steve Smith went on to complete an exceptional century which would definitely rate as one of his very best Test innings till date. Chasing an improbable target, India lost both their openers in the first 5 overs and with that, they also lost both their reviews with the star-studded batting line-up still in the hut.

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Steve O’ Keefe was exceptional yet again and bagged another 6 wicket haul which derailed the host’s progress. They just made 2 runs more than their 1st innings effort in the 2nd innings and were shot for 107. This will definitely give the visitors a lot of confidence going into the 2nd Test in Bengaluru and make the job that more tougher for the hosts.

That said here we have a look at 5 Talking Points from the 3rd day’s play

1. Steve Smith’s exceptional century

Captain Steve Smith was the standout performer for the visitors with the bat in the 2nd innings scoring an exceptional century. Beginning the day on 59, Smith played some delightful shots en route to his century. He got several chances as he was dropped on 4 occasions but as he mentioned in the post-match presentation, on a rank turner like Pune you need some luck by your side. He applied himself like a monk and played everything on its merit and didn’t go for anything expansive.

Smith reached his elusive three-figure mark in the 71st over and his celebrations suggested how much hundred meant for him and his team. His innings finally came to an end when he failed to read a straighter delivery from Ravindra Jadeja which skidded onto his pads and struck him plumb in front.

Watch: Steve Smith’s toughest Test century with 5 lives: (Video source)

2. Umesh Yadav bowled his heart out

In an otherwise disappointing match for the hosts, Umesh Yadav was the shining star with impressive performances in both the innings. On a pitch that was conducive to the spinners, Yadav bowled with venom and finished with 6 wickets in the match. After bagging 4 wickets in the 1st innings, he dismissed Matthew Wade and Nathan Lyon in the 2nd innings to finish with match figures of 6/71.

While he dismissed Wade with an outswinger which got the outside edge of his bat and was safely pouched by Wriddhiman Saha behind the stumps, Nathan Lyon was struck plumb in front yet another time and there was no hesitation in the mind of the umpire and ruled it in favour of the bowling side.

Also read: I have no excuses, I take the loss on the chin: Virat Kohli

3. Horrendous reviews by Indian openers

Despite having a tremendous home season before this Test match, one area which the hosts need to clearly work on is their choice of taking a review. We have seen in the series against England too, India going for reviews which weren’t really there. Irrespective of whether they are fielding or batting, they have taken some unnecessary reviews which have cost their team in the longer run.

In pursuit of an improbable victory target in the 2nd innings, India lost Murali Vijay early. Steve O’ Keefe bowled a straighter delivery which kept coming with the arm and struck him right in front. Vijay went for the review but replays suggested the ball would have crashed onto leg stump. Within 2 overs, KL Rahul was struck right in front and after consulting with Cheteshwar Pujara he went for the review. Replays again showed the ball would have struck off and middle. So it meant with the star-studded middle order yet to come, India had lost all their reviews till the 80th over.

4. Steve O’ Keefe’s exceptional match figures

After bagging 6 wickets in the 1st innings, the left-arm spinner Steve O’ Keefe replicated his performance in the 2nd essay and finished with figures of 6/35. He had also finished with 6/35 in the first innings. His first wicket in the 2nd innings came early in the innings when he dismissed Murali Vijay with a straighter delivery which went with the arm.

The most prized wicket of Virat Kohli too came with a ball that didn’t turn. It was an error of judgement from Kohli as he left it completely and the ball went on to crash onto the stumps. He further dismissed Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin and Cheteshwar Pujara to finish off the Indian innings.

Also read: Twitter Reactions: India collapse to give Australia the lead

5. Nathan Lyon plays the supporting role to perfection

Yet again right arm offie Nathan Lyon did a commendable job in the 2nd innings and played the supporting role to perfection. His first wicket in the 2nd innings came early in the innings when he dismissed KL Rahul with a ball that turned sharply after pitching. It hit Rahul adjacent to the stumps and the umpire ruled it in favour of the bowling side.

Lyon came back to dismiss Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma and Jayant Yadav to finish off the Indian innings. Jadeja chopped on a short of length delivery on to his stumps, while Ishant got an inside edge which was safely taken by the close in fielder. He was lucky to get the final wicket of Jayant Yadav as replays suggested the ball missed the bat.

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