Twitter Reactions: An intense shared third session keeps Australia-India SCG Test in balance

Australia were bundled out for 338 runs after being 206/2 at one stage.

Ravindra Jadeja celebrates
Ravindra Jadeja celebrates. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

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The ongoing third Test between Australia and India in Sydney hangs in balance after two days of play. Steve Smith was the man in focus who finally found form to notch up his 27th ton in the format. But India kept chipping away with the wickets from the other end especially with the second new ball. They bundled out Australia before Tea and then batted for 45 overs to end the day on 96/2 with Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara in the middle.

The visitors, trailing by 338, started well with Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill looking comfortable against the new ball. They first tackled the nine-over period before Tea and then played their shots in the first hour of the third session of the day. Both the batsmen hit some eye-catching shots with Gill managing his backfoot punches superbly while Rohit taking care of Nathan Lyon.

The latter even came down the track to smack the off-spinner out of the ground. The duo looked largely unsettled as they added 70 runs for the opening wicket before Josh Hazlewood struck against the run of play. Rohit chipped one straight back to him and Hazlewood, the birthday boy, managed to cling on to a catch. Gill, at the other end, looked unfazed and notched up his maiden Test fifty.

The celebratory moment might have affected his concentration a bit as the youngster poked a delivery outside the off-stump off Pat Cummins only to be caught by Cameron Green in the gully. At 85/2, India had two new batsmen in the middle and this was a chance for Australia to make more inroads. However, Ajinkya Rahane and Pujara decided to defend only for most parts of the last hour and ended the day unscathed.

India comeback superbly but Steve Smith hogs the limelight

Earlier in the day, Australia resumed the day at 166/2 and things were looking ominous for India. Steve Smith had found his form while Marnus Labuschagne was also in fine touch. The duo continued batting the same way as the visitors bowled at stumps setting fields largely on the leg-side. India managed to keep a lid on the run-scoring but that didn’t stop Smith from getting to his half-century.

It took India more than 15 overs to strike as Ravindra Jadeja got one to bounce more as Labuschagne edged the ball to the slip. Australia’s score was 206 at this stage and the Indian bowlers latched on to the opening attacking the hosts’ fragile middle order. Matthew Wade, Cameron Green, and Tim Paine didn’t add much to the total and were back in the pavilion.

Jadeja castled Pat Cummins for a 13-ball duck as well as Australia slipped from being 206/2 to 278/7. Out of these 72 runs, only 14 runs were scored by the aforementioned batsmen while Smith controlled the proceedings at the other end. The former Australian captain was in his elements on the day and looked hungry for runs. He got to his century in the process as well yelling out a roar showing how much the knock meant to him as well.

Steve Smith then opened up his arms with Mitchell Starc also supporting him well. However, the short-ball ploy against the latter worked for India. Nathan Lyon also bagged a duck with Jadeja pinning him in front of the stumps. Smith played smartly then to add crucial 23 runs for the last wicket before Jadeja ran him out with a brilliant throw to cut short his 131-run knock.

Australia managed to post 338 runs in the first innings but they would be disappointed for not notching up more than 400 runs, and that too when they were 206/2 at one stage. For India, Jadeja was the pick of the bowlers nipping out four wickets Navdeep Saini and Jasprit Bumrah chipped in with a couple each.

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