Day 3 of the first test match was a rain-marred affair where only 71.4 overs of play were possible. India dominated mostly the entire day when the game was possible by bundling down the Aussies to 235 and getting a lead of 15 runs, which in this match could be somewhat same to a handsome lead of 50–70 runs.
All Australia wanted to get into this match was early wickets, which could have disrupted the Indian batting order and would have made them played slow. However, KL Rahul had other things on his mind. After batting cautiously and watchfully in the wee hours of the day, the Karnataka batsmen went all guns blazing and scored freely with a positive mindset. And he was well supported by his opening partner Murali Vijay until the latter committed the same mistake that he did in the first innings. Trying to drive off Starc’s delivery, he edged thickly through a lazy push which was caught by Peter Handscomb at second slip.
Rahul too soon departed, getting caught behind by the Aussie captain Tim Paine off Josh Hazlewood’s delivery. missing out on a well-deserved half-century. The score at this juncture was 76 for the loss of two wickets. Virat Kohli along with Cheteshwar Pujara, then steadied the Indian innings with an outstanding partnership of 71 runs. This partnership tired the Aussie bowling attack while stretching the Indian lead to 162 runs. Virat was dismissed soon to Lyon, who was unlucky to have not got wickets earlier having bowled superbly in the second innings with the pitch too aiding his cause. At the end of day’s play, Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane kept India in an advantageous position with a score of 151 runs at the loss of 3 wickets with a lead of 166 runs.
First Session: The first session started late as there was heavy rain in Adelaide. When the play resumed, overnight batsmen Mitchell Starc and Travis Head faced Ishant Sharma. Jasprit Bumrah soon removed Starc who edged while playing a drive to the Indian wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant. This also resulted in a brief break as the rains again disrupted the session. 40 minutes later, the play resumed. Nathan Lyon along with Head displayed some resistance with a crucial partnership of 31 runs. But Mohammed Shami had other plans when he dismissed Head caught to Pant and reducing the Aussies to 235 for 9. On the very next delivery, Shami got the better of Josh Hazlewood too dismissing him caught-behind to Pant. The Australian innings succumbed at 235, thus handing the Indians a lead of 15 runs. Rain again started to pour down and thus the umpires decided to take lunch.
Second Session: The play resumed after a slight delay due to a bit of drizzle. India opener Rahul faced Mitchell Starc for the first delivery of the Indian second innings. Murali Vijay partnered Rahul to open the Indian innings. Initially, Rahul was watchful and cautious, but once he was set, he completely dominated the Australian bowlers who had hoped for early wickets to wreck the Indian innings. But the Indian openers posted a 50-plus stand before Vijay was dismissed when the Indian score was 63 with a lead of 78 runs. Rahul too soon followed Vijay back to the pavilion as he missed out on a well-deserving 50. Virat and Pujara took India to a lead of 101 at tea with the score reading 86 for the loss of 2 wickets.
Third Session: Lyon started the innings for Australia post tea. Pujara and Kohli played a patient and watchful innings and tired the Australian bowling attack. Lyon although bowled in tandem, bowling at a perfect line and length. With the pitch getting slower, it became more difficult to score runs at will. The Indians although scored unwearyingly, thus taking away the match from the grasp of Australia. Both took the Indian lead to a surplus of 150 before Kohli was dismissed off Lyon when the score read 147 for 3. Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara played the final overs as India managed to score 151 at stumps with a lead of 166.
What should Australia aim for tomorrow?
Australia needs to pick wickets and dismiss India in the first session itself or else all will be lost for them. Anything below 220 could be achieved by the Australians but runs surplus to 220 would be difficult as the pitch is getting slow and India have Ashwin at their disposal who can single-handedly dismantle the Australian batting set-up.
What should India aim for tomorrow?
India should like to score patiently and watchfully, thus enabling them a lead of anything between 270–320. If they play like this, the Kangaroos will get tired in the field and then the Indian bowlers can come hard onto their top-order and demolish them at ease. Having already have had a 166 runs lead, India should definitely try to have a lead more than 300 and then let Ashwin take the anchor role for bowling Aussies out in a slow, spin-friendly Adelaide wicket.
Day 4 is set to be the decisive day for this test match, and whosoever goes on to seize the important moments in the day’s game they would come up on top. As far as things stand now, India are at an advantageous position than the Australians.