A masterclass by the Australian bowlers has put the home side in pole position to win the pink-ball Test. Tim Paine’s pace attack started Day 3 brilliantly and managed to dismiss the India top order in quick succession.
Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood were the stars of the show at the start of Day 3, picking up 3 and 5 wickets respectively in the first session. The morning session meant that India could only manage 36/9 after Mohammed Shami walked off with an injury, with Australia set a target of 90 to win the Adelaide Test.
The home side then started the chase confidently, notching up at 15-0 the end of the first session as they look to wrap up the match in the second session.
Pat Cummins gets things going on Day 3
It was Australia who started Day 3 in promising fashion, with Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood finding their line and length right from ball one. Pat Cummins set up Jasprit Bumrah brilliantly, following up a bouncer with a fuller delivery to dismiss the night watchman. The Indian pacer could only chip the ball back to Pat Cummins, as he departed after a 17-ball 2.
The Indian batsmen didn’t cover themselves in glory during the initial phase of play, with Australia picking up a total of 5 wickets in the first 45 minutes. The Australia bowlers came in with a clear plan, using the hardness of the relatively new ball to look for movement off the pitch.
Bowling good length with a line of the 4th and 5th stump, all the three bowlers got the India batsmen to play the ball tentatively, with the tactic being executed to perfection.
The first one to go was India No.3 Cheteshwar Pujara (0 off 8 balls) who was dismissed by Pat Cummins without troubling the scorers. The India batsman nudged at a simple back of the length delivery outside the off stump, with the ball picking up an edge after slightly moving away from the batsman.
Josh Hazlewood torments India
With India reeling 15-3 after 12 overs, it was Josh Hazlewood’s turn to bowl a game-changing 13th over. The Australia pacer picked up Mayank Agarwal (9 off 40 balls) just like Pat Cummins dismissed Pujara in the last over, with Tim Paine completing a routine catch.
Three balls later the Australia pacer was at it again, bowling a lovely full-length outswinger. Ajinkya Rahane didn’t seem to have an answer for the great ball, with the India vice-captain nicking the delivery with Tim Paine completing his third caught behind in 10 deliveries.
The Aussie attack didn’t relent despite having India struggling at 15/5, with the bowlers showing great concentration to keep up the pressure. It was Pat Cummins who then got the prized wicket of Virat Kohli (4 off 8 balls), with the India skipper throwing away his wicket at a time when the team needed him to be patient at the crease.
The Indian batsman chased a delivery wide outside off-stump off Pat Cummins’ bowling and managed to get an edge, with debutant Cameron Green completing the catch after an initial fumble. Although Virat Kohli stayed at the crease to see if the catch was completed cleanly, the skipper had to depart after the third umpire ruled that Cameron Green had taken the catch legally.
The wicket meant that the India scoreboard read 19/6 at the end of the 14th over. Notably, this was India’s lowest score for the fall of the sixth wicket, with the earlier record being 25/6 against South Africa in 1996.
Hanuma Vihari and Wriddhiman Saha calmed things down for a while at the crease, as they showed great concentration to see off the Australian bowling attack. However, it was Josh Hazlewood who continued to haunt India’s batsmen, with Wriddhiman Saha ( 4 off 15 balls) the next to depart.
The wicket-keeper batsman flicked a delivery off his pads straight to mid-wicket, with Marnus Labuschagne completing the catch to send the India batsman packing. Ravichandran Ashwin, the next batsman to come at the crease departed as quickly as he came, getting a faint edge right off the next ball to depart for a golden duck.
It was the same story for Hanuma Vihari (8 ball 22), who was the latest to fall victim to Josh Hazlewood in a dismissal that has been the order of the day. The batsman nicked a peach of delivery outside off, with Tim Paine making no mistake behind the stumps as Josh Hazlewood completed his 8th 5-wicket hall in Tests.
As if the terrible collapse by Indian batsmen wasn’t enough, a Pat Cummins bouncer hit Mohammed Shami on his bowling arm, with the pacer walking back retired hurt. The departure meant that India registered their lowest ever Test total, with Australia set a target to 90 to win the Test match.
After a brief break, the Australian batsmen made a confident start and will be looking to wrap up the match in the second session of Day 3
India 36/9 ( Mayank Agarwal 9, Umesh Yadav 4; Josh Hazlewood 5 for 8, Pat Cummins 4 for 21 ) lead Australia 15-0 ( Matthew Wade 15*,Joe Burns 0*; Jasprit Bumrah 0 for 6) by 75 runs.Published 19 Dec 2020, 11:58 IST