India surges on top and dominates Australia after posting a mammoth total at the conclusion of Day 2 in the Third Test. Thanks to a ton by Cheteshwar Pujara, India posted 443/7 before declaring their innings. Indian Captain Virat Kohli 82 and Rohit Sharma 63* too scored half-centuries apiece that helped India gain an advantage in the Boxing Day Test played at the MCG.
First Session: Resuming the day’s play at 215/2, skipper Kohli reached to his 20th career test-fifty in the very first over of the day. Both once again played patiently and watchfully to steady the Indian innings and continue dominating the Australian bowling attack. At Lunch, India managed a mere 62 runs in 28 overs in the first session of the second day, however, what was more important was the fact that the Australian bowlers grew tired and were left feeling dejected. Pujara meanwhile had also reached to his 17th Test Century, a knock full of vigilance and prudence.
Second Session: Resuming the Indian Innings post lunch, Kohli soon jarred his back after trying to pull off Mitchell Starc’s short delivery. This injury eventually led to his dismissal as he was dismissed trying to play a hook shot to Starc which was comfortably been caught by Aaron Finch who was positioned at third man region. The Indian vice-captain for tests, Ajinkya Rahane, soon joined Pujara in the middle as the Mumbai man looked positive from ball one. After a couple of overs, Pujara was undone by the pitch as he had expected the ball to bounce the same way it did in the previous ball, however, this time the ball stooped low and went past Pujara to hit the wicket. A very resilient and gritty inning came to an end, thanks to Pat Cummins. Rohit Sharma, the limited overs’ vice-captain joined the test vice-captain as both marshaled the Indian innings with a strong partnership of 62 runs. Though Rohit was seen to play defensively, in a role reversal, the viewers saw Rahane constantly playing attacking shots as India made 346/4 at the end of the second session.
Third Session: The third session saw India resuming to play a bit aggressively which was evident after Rahane was adjudged LBW off Nathan Lyon’s delivery, who was possibly trying to play the delivery in the leg side. Rishabh Pant joined Rohit in the middle, and both played aggressively to steer the Indian total past the 435-mark with a solid partnership of 76 runs. In the midst of this partnership, Rohit reached to his 10th career-fifty. Pant, however, lost his cool as he was dismissed trying to hit Starc for two consecutive boundaries mistimed his shot and was easily caught by Usman Khawaja just outside the gully. Ravindra Jadeja was the next man in and he showed his attacking instincts when he hit Josh Hazlewood on the very first ball that he faced in the innings. He was caught by Tim Paine within a couple of deliveries off Hazlewood through a bouncer, and this prompted the Indian Captain Virat Kohli to declare the Indian Innings which read 443 for the loss of seven wickets at that juncture.
The Kangaroos were needed to bat for just six overs, however, it was very difficult for them as the pitch started misbehaving. Some odd balls remained low while some balls also bounced extensively. Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma clearly created havoc in the minds of the Aussie openers Aaron Smith and Marcus Harris as both were constantly troubled time and time again. At Stumps, the Aussie score read 8/0 after the completion of six overs.
What should Australia aim for tomorrow?
The Baggy Greens should aim to get as close to the Indian total as possible. As the pitch has started misbehaving, batting would be difficult. The Aussies should play just like the Indians, playing patiently and watchfully. If Australia can reduce the deficit within 100, then the game will certainly be heading towards a draw, otherwise, it is an advantage to team India.
What should India aim for tomorrow?
The Indians should make the most of the pitch and get Australia all-out cheaply. If they manage to get a lead of 150 or more, then it is all for India to win this test match.
Day 3 would be an interesting day of the match as we will get to know who will be the favorites to win the match. As per now, either the match would go to India’s favor or both the teams will play out a draw. What do you think, what will be the result of the match?