Australia vs India 2018-19: First Test, Day 3: 5 Talking Points
The visitors had to wait for a while to finally label a full day as their own, in the ongoing Test match at Adelaide. Finally, that day arrived, and in good measure too.
Carrying on from 191/7 in 88 overs, hosts Australia could survive just another 64 balls, within which they lost their remaining wickets of the first innings while adding 44 more runs. India thus obtained a 15-run headstart to their second innings, and openers Murali Vijay and KL Rahul proceeded with caution and completed their first 50+ partnership outside Asia.
Though the both of them departed eventually, Pujara and later Kohli who replaced Vijay and Rahul respectively, displayed a classic case of Test batting as India's arguably-best Test batsman and definitely-best-across-formats batsman combined at the crease, generating 71 runs in their partnership for the third wicket.
It looked as if the duo would see through the day without further damage when Kohli succumbed to Lyon when only 23 balls were remaining for stumps on Day 3. India opted to send in Rahane instead of a potential night-watchman, and the Mumbai batsman gave Pujara adequate company until play closed.
Brief scores at the end of Day 3:
India 250, 151/3 (Rahul 44, Pujara 40*, Kohli 34)
lead by 163 runs against
Australia 235 (Head 72, Bumrah 3/47), yet to bat.
Let us now shift our attention to some of the key talking points from Day 3's game.
#1 Indian speedsters reaping deserved rewards versus a deteriorating Aussie pace-bowling
India really needed an innings lead to stay within the game, and if a list is made on who they should be thankful for achieving it, India's speedsters would be on top of the pecking order.
Jasprit Bumrah removed Mitchell Starc in the fourth over of the day to give India an explosive start, but Nathan Lyon who came in as a replacement, stayed put and partnered Head to make 31 runs for the ninth wicket, out of which 24 were his.
Meanwhile, there were a minimum of five occasions when the inside edge was beaten, apart from several other near-misses and close calls. It was nothing but a matter of good fortune that the Aussies survived through all these, but not for long, as Shami came in, sending both Head and Josh Hazlewood off successive deliveries, into the gloves of keeper Pant.
It was a good return for Shami as he had remained wicketless after bowling 19 overs on Day 2.
Overall, 7 of the 10 wickets were picked up the Indian speedsters. Given that they are playing against Australia in their own natural conditions, this is a huge takeaway - which maybe has already decided the game for the visitors - as we may or may not find out in the upcoming days.
Meanwhile, all was not well with the home team's quicks as they returned to bowl against the Indians in their second chance. Murali and Rahul, as will be discussed in a later slide, saw off the initial swing and gathered runs with relative ease, after which Pujara and Kohli too made some impact. In a few cases, Cummins, Hazlewood and Starc were even seen attempting verbal jibes at the Indian batsmen in order to unsettle them, but even those were of no avail.
The Adelaide pitch is showing signs that while batting may look difficult, it won't be a good time for the pacers as well, in the coming days. Any impact that Australia's speedsters could have made, they should have done the most of it by now, which I'm afraid they haven't.