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India pick three wickets on rain-hit Session 1 of Day 2, Steve Smith approaching a ton

Steve Smith looks set for a century on Day 2
Steve Smith looks set for a century on Day 2
Wasiq Agha
ANALYST
Modified 08 Jan 2021, 07:20 IST
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Brief scores Australia 249/5 (Marnus Labuschagne 91, Steve Smith 76*, Ravindra Jadeja 2 for 43, Navdeep Saini 1 for 32) against India after 84.5 overs

India dominated the morning session which was on a knife-edge for a long time. The visitors picked up three wickets, as Marnus Labuschagne narrowly missed out on a century. However, Steve Smith, who is still at the crease, looks set for a ton as the hosts target to post a huge total on Day 2 of the third Test in Sydney.

India started Day 2 with a set plan in mind. Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj bowled with a leg-side field, as they targeted the stumps.

While the leg stump trap has troubled Australia in the past, it didn’t today. Both Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne were content with playing a waiting game early on, as they cautiously saw off the threat from India.

Rain returned just like it had on Day 1, but wasn’t strong enough to stop play. Siraj thought he had Steve Smith after an in-swinger rapped the Australian batsman on the pads. But India’s review showed the ball going over the stumps, and Australia No.4 stayed at the crease. 

Rain did stop the session after 22 overs were bowled in the day. However, play resumed after a small delay, as both India and Australia continued to play the waiting game in a slow morning session. 

India get the dangerous Labuschagne

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India brought spin from both ends, as Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja tried to break the gritty partnership. Two balls after Smith and Labuschagne reached their fourth century stand in Tests, the latter was sent packing. 

Jadeja got a bit of extra bounce from the wicket, as Labuschagne tried to punch the delivery off the back foot. Australia’s No.3 could only get a thick edge, as Ajinkya Rahane completed a sharp catch at first slip.

With Labuschagne gone, Steve Smith just had enough time to register his first half-century of the series, before rain stopped play for around 30 minutes. 

Smith looked set at the crease and was joined by Matthew Wade in the middle. Wade was his usual attacking self at the start but will be disappointed after having not made the most of it. 

In a dismissal eerily similar to the one in Melbourne, the southpaw got out trying to attack a spinner. Ravindra Jadeja got his second wicket of the day, as Jasprit Bumrah completed a simple catch. 

Steve Smith continued to put pressure on India as he attacked the spinners. But the runs dried down as India took the second new ball after 80 overs. 

And the new ball did the trick a few overs later. A Jasprit Bumrah in-swinger hit Cameron Green on the pads, and the all-rounder was dismissed for a duck as lunch was taken.

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With more batting still to come, the hosts will target posting a huge total as the day goes on. For India, they would have liked the wicket of Steve Smith in the morning session. Having taken three scalps in the morning, the visitors will try and bowl Australia out as soon as possible.

Published 08 Jan 2021, 07:20 IST
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