Steve Smith’s Century boosts Australia Fightback in Sydney Test
Steve Smith produced a stellar display to hold Australia’s batting offense together. This was a big moment for Smith as one the second day of the test he registered his first century on home soil for over three years. Smith and Labuschagne held out for a long while before they were bowled out for 338 by the excellent Ravindra Jadeja who took 4-62 through the innings.
Despite Australia’s excellent batting display, India would fight back hard with opener Shubman Gill posting his maiden test half-century as they reached 96-2. With these vital runs on the scoreboard, the deficit was reduced to 242 before heading into day three, where India will continue to bat. Josh Hazlewood broke India’s initial stand of 70 by removing opening batsman Rohit Sharma for 26.
Australia’s batting play resumed on 166-2, their momentum would halt due to the persistent rain which aggravated the on-field players. Labuschagne looked set for his first hundred of the test series as he and Smith took their third-wicket stand to a three-figure total. Labuschagne has been highly successful since joining the national team becoming a fan favorite alongside Steve Smith and David Warner’s.
Despite his ongoing momentum Labuschagne was eventually dismissed getting caught up at slip by Ajinkya Rahane, becoming Jadeja’s first victim. Try as they might, India could not find the power to remove the excellent Smith as he continued striving for his century. Smith managed to maintain his form despite the middle order crumbling in an orderly fashion.
First, to go was Matthew Wade scoring 13 runs then dismissed after picking out Jasprit Bumrah at mid-on. After the second new ball was introduced the seamer struck twice more reducing Australia to 255-6 just after lunch. Despite their worrying position, Australia still had Smith not-out giving them hope above all else. The Indians will be grateful that their plan to continue international cricket during COVID was able to materialize.
Jadeja and Bumrah grind Australia to a Halt
Jadeja and Bumrah are two of the most fearsome bowlers in test cricket, while Jadeja is a left-arm spinner, Bumrah is an explosive right-arm pace bowler. This innings proved to be incredibly fruitful as the game turned into something like Whack-a-mole with the dismissal of Australian batsman coming quicker than the bowls themselves.
Bumrah nipped one back to trap Cameron Green lbw before bowling Tim Paine in almost identical fashion. They scored only one run between them. Smith continued to frustrate India’s bowlers, slowly advancing to his ton with an array of ramps and scoops, resulting in some of the finest shots of the day.
Jadeja’s expert spin bowling struck out both Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon, neither managed to score a single run and with this surge in India’s momentum they looked all but set to gain the overall advantage. The introduction of Mitchell Starc would hamper their ambitions as he struck 24 from just 30 deliveries to take Australia’s overall score over 300.
Despite Australia’s honorable defense, Jadeja eventually wrapped up the innings by running Smith out with a direct hit from the deep as the batsman stretched for a second. This inning as defined by the excellent bowling of both Jadeja and Bumrah taking seven wickets between them.
Indian Batsman Get Off to a Shaky Start
Once Australia’s excellent batsman had fallen, it was time for India to go on the offensive. They opened with Gill and Rohit Sharma, returning to the side from a knee injury that had kept him out for months. The two put together an excellent opening display scoring 70 either side of the tea interval.
Their partnership wouldn’t last much longer as Hazlewood began to get into his stride, he swiftly dismissed Sharma having bowled and caught the batsman. Pat Cummins stepped up to remove Gill from the crease caught by Green at off barrier. India finished the days’ cricket 96-2 they currently trail Australia by 242 runs. This is the third test of four and Australia are penned as the clear favorites with a live win probability of 58%.
Recent controversy circles the Indian cricket team as they recently asked to move the test away from Queensland due to growing frustration over the state’s hotel quarantine protocols. Cricket Australia responded by asking the Board of Control for Cricket in India for the official stance on the Gabba Test, the whole situation has created a lot of confusion for the future of the test series.