SK Play of the day: Ravindra Jadeja's presence of mind ends Australia's innings
Ravindra Jadeja adds another chapter to his career highlight reel with a remarkable run-out.
With the possibility of retaining the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Ranchi with a win, the Australian cricket team posted a massive first innings total of 451 on the back of centuries by captain Steven Smith and the returning Glenn Maxwell.
Smith, keen to exorcise the demons from the last Test in Bangalore, was putting on a batting clinic and looked set to score a famous double-century when Ravindra Jadeja intervened with a bit of absolute magic.
Extra cover: Maxwell breaks his bat on the first ball of day 2
Having already picked up 5 wickets with the ball, Jadeja was India’s main threat during the first innings.
With the score at 450/9, he came in to bowl his 50th over of the innings. Smith was on strike and keen to play most of the deliveries himself. Having played a couple of neat strokes on the first couple of deliveries of the over, the skipper decided not to take singles when they were on offer.
Feeling a little jittery, he knocked the 3rd ball of the over to a vacant square leg area and immediately called for 2. Josh Hazlewood at the other end is certainly no slouch and was immediately on his way.
KL Rahul, running in from short fine leg, did well to put in the dive, gather the ball, and make the right decision to throw it to the non-striker's end despite the temptation of trying to run Smith out at the striker’s end.
His throw was slightly off the mark and Jadeja was found in a position ahead of the stumps with Hazlewood in a good position to complete the run.
What followed was a moment that will go down as one of the finest in the all-rounder’s career. He collected the ball with both his hands, ahead of the stumps, and knew that if he had to turn and dislodge the bails, it would be too late.
Displaying great wherewithal, he simply flicked the ball back to where he knew the stumps would be, and in that glorious moment, he ended Australia's innings. After a day and a half of hard work for the Indians, it was just the moment of inspiration they needed when it looked like the game could go away from them.
Australia were bundled out for 451 with Smith unbeaten on 178. The Australian skipper had played a chanceless innings thus far and looked set to push his team towards the 500-run mark.
In retrospect, this might only be remembered as a great run-out. But when put in a larger context, with Smith batting the way he was, an hour or so before lunch on day 2, with India looking slightly dejected, this moment of magic could prove to be the catalyst that team India needed to bring itself back in the game.