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Sublime Smith and Maxwell put Australia on top after Kohli injury

46   //    16 Mar 2017, 17:16 IST
Steve Smith - cropped
Australia captain Steve Smith

Steve Smith let his batting do the talking by crafting a 19th Test century and Glenn Maxwell justified his recall after India captain Virat Kohli suffered a shoulder injury as Australia hit back on day one of the third Test in Ranchi.

Smith and his opposite number Kohli exchanged words yet again after the Australia captain misused the Decision Review System (DRS) when he looked up to the dressing room after being given out leg before during India's victory in Bangalore last week.

The prolific number three had no need to seek assistance on Thursday though, becoming the joint-seventh fastest batsman to score 5,000 Test runs and finishing unbeaten on 117 as the tourists recovered from 140-4 to close on 299-4.

Maxwell (80 not out) made his highest Test score in his first appearance in the longest format since 2014 in an unbroken stand of 159 with Smith, while Kohli could only watch on off the field after damaging his right shoulder in the afternoon session.

Umesh Yadav (2-63) was the pick of the India bowlers, but Smith and Maxwell ensured it was advantage Australia - who also gave a long-awaited recall to Pat Cummins - as they aim to take a 2-1 lead in the Border-Gavaskar series.

The runs flowed freely for David Warner and Matt Renshaw early in the day after Smith won the toss, but an opening stand of 50 was ended when the vice-captain was caught and bowled by Ravindra Jadeja for 19.

Renshaw (44) looked well set until Kohli snaffled a sharp catch at first slip off the impressive Yadav and Australia were three down for 89 when Shaun Marsh (2) fell to Ravichandran Ashwin before lunch.

India were unable to shift a determined Smith, who bided his time with unwavering discipline and worked the strike superbly in another high class innings.

There was major concern for India when Kohli dived to try and prevent a Peter Handscomb boundary and landed awkwardly on his right shoulder, which kept him sidelined for the rest of the day.

Yadav trapped Handscomb (19) lbw with a sharp delivery, but Maxwell initially reined in his usual aggressive approach under pressure from the spinners to support his skipper.

Smith found the gaps with exquisite cuts and drives as he passed the 5,000-run mark while Maxwell grew in confidence at the other end.

Maxwell's patience was rewarded when he smashed a short ball from Jadeja over the midwicket boundary to pass 50 for the first time in a Test and bring up the century stand.

The clean-hitting Maxwell showed his power again by hammering the same bowler for a straight six before the magnificent Smith raised his bat to celebrate a second century of the series after another glorious drive off the fit-again Murali Vijay.

Smith found the boundary 13 times, while Maxwell was closing in on a maiden Test century at the end of a great day for Australia, with no word on the extent of Kohli's injury.

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