Shubman Gill’s maiden Test 50 and Ravindra Jadeja’s brilliant 4-62 helped India stage a great comeback on the second day of the 3rd Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Friday. Indian bowlers got their acts today after a mediocre Day 1 to restrict Australia to 338. In response, India were 96/2, trailing Australia by 242 runs, with Cheteshwar Pujara (9) and Ajinkya Rahane (5) holding the fort at stumps.
Gill along with Rohit Sharma (26) provided India with a strong 70-run opening stand. The duo treated the crowd with some good-looking shots and kept the Aussies at bay till the end of second session.
Post Tea, Josh Hazlewood got the first breakthrough for the Aussies – completing a simple caught and bowled chance – to send Rohit back.
Gill looked in sublime form and completed his 50 without any glitches. However, soon after completing his half-century, he succumbed to Pat Cummins’ length ball outside the off. A half-hearted defensive push took the outside edge and Cameron Green completed a good catch at Gully.
Meanwhile, resuming on an overnight total of 166/2, the Aussies started well but intermittent rains kept halting the play. Marnus Labuschagne was the first one to return to the hut soon after the first rain stoppage for 91. Labuschagne went on the back-foot, making some room to play the drive, only to hand Ajinkaya Rahane an easy catch and Jadeja his first wicket of the match.
Steve Smith, on the other hand, returned to form with a solid 131 off 226. The ace batsman took good advantage of an imbecile track to steer Australia to a commendable total. His strokeful innings was studded with 16 boundaries.
After a successful 100-run partnership with Labuschagne, Smith looked for some support from the other end. However, they kept losing wickets at regular intervals. Jadeja sent Matthew Wade (13), Pat Cummins (0) and Nathan Lyon (0) back while Jasprit Bumrah accounted for Cameron Green (0) and skipper Tim Paine (1). Debutant Navdeep Saini dismissed Mitchell Starc to end his 30-ball 24-run cameo.
Smith held his crease right till the end and had it not been for Jadeja’s mastery in the outfield, Australia would have gone on to add a few more run surely. His one-handed direct throw found Smith short of his crease to bring the curtains down on the Aussie innings.