All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja believes every Indian batsman will need to contribute substantially for the visitors to put up a good first innings total in the 3rd Test.
Jadeja (4-62) played an instrumental role in keeping the hosts down to 338. He broke the daunting 100-run stand between Steve Smith (131) and Marnus Labuschagne (91), took out Matthew Wade, and then came back to knock over the tail.
If that wasn't enough, the all-rounder affected a stunning run-out to dismiss centurian Steve Smith.
Interacting in a press conference on Friday, Ravindra Jadeja said the batsmen will need to play responsibly on Saturday to cement India's position in the match.
"I think all batsmen have to play crucial knocks if we want to put on a good total on board. Not one batsman, but everyone's contribution is necessary if we want to cement our position further in the match and if we play responsibly it will become easier to put runs on board," said Ravindra Jadeja.
India's openers made a statement with their solid 70-run stand. However, both fell in quick succession to give Australia an edge. Chetshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane then stabilized the innings and survived the tricky last hour.
"The plan was simple" - Ravindra Jadeja
Before the middling batting show, the Indian bowlers were spot-on in the morning to restrict Australia under 350, particularly when the hosts seemed set to score over 420 runs.
Ravindra Jadeja talked about India's bowling plans for the day.
"Yesterday, we had talked about being patient so that you can go out and take one or two wickets straight away. The chat was about bowling in the right areas and make them play dot balls. So the plan was pretty simple. Bowling in good areas and not giving them easy boundaries," said Ravindra Jadeja.
Sydney's flat pitches are hunting grounds for batsmen. The average first-innings total at the SCG is 317, which Australia topped by 21 runs today. The par second-innings total here is 313.
Rishabh Pant, Hanuma Vihari, and Ravindra Jadeja can all chip in with useful contributions to help India build a lead that sets the cat among the pigeons in the Australian dressing room. However, the senior-pros Rahane and Pujara will need to set the right foundation.
Pujara, Pant, and Jadeja, all have happy memories of the ground. In 2018, Pujara played a marathon knock of 193 from 373 balls. Pant scored a flamboyant 159 and was ably supported by Jadeja's 81. The match ended in a draw but left an indelible mark on the Australian bowlers' minds.
If India can see off the crucial first spell of Australian pacers, batting will become a lot easier. Considering they have to bat last and the highest chase achieved at the SCG is 288, India will have to eye at least a 50-run lead. Everything above that will be a bonus.Published 08 Jan 2021, 17:46 IST