After dominating Australia for the entirety of the first day, India continued to subjugate the Baggy Greens on the second day too. First Cheteshwar Pujara assaulted the Aussies with his defense, taking the life out of the Australian bowlers and in the process scoring a well-deserved 193. Later it was Rishabh Pant who traumatized the Kangaroos by his free-flowing 159* runs innings that completely took away the match from the hands of Australia.
India posted a comfortable 622 runs for the loss of seven wickets and then declared their innings. Australia were then asked to bat in the twilight of the day’s play in which they looked tired and their shoulders dropped. At Stumps, Australia managed a total of 24 runs in 10 overs without losing any wickets, although Usman Khawaja was dropped by Rishabh Pant in the very third over of the Australian innings off Mohammed Shami’s delivery.
First Session: Cheteshwar Pujara and Hanuma Vihari resumed the Indian innings from the overnight score of 303/4. Pujara looked solid, however, Vihari struggled to make runs. Soon, Vihari perished off Nathan Lyon’s delivery handing over a simple catch to Marnus Labuschagne stationed at forward short-leg while trying to play a sweep towards fine leg, however, before his dismissal in the very same over, Cheteshwar Pujara reached to his 150 in style by dispatching the ball past extra-cover for a handsome boundary.
Rishabh Pant then replaced Vihari in the middle and the duo went past the Australian bowlers at ease by scoring runs cheaply without playing rash shots. At Lunch, India managed to post 389/5, adding 86 runs in 27 overs and losing just a solitary wicket of Hanuma Vihari.
Second Session: Both Pujara and Pant resumed the second session on a positive note, countering the Australian bowlers effortlessly. Adding to the Australian woe, Usman Khawaja dropped a tough yet manageable chance off Lyon’s bowling to dismiss Pujara at first slip as the Aussie players’ body-language looked listless and flat. However, a few overs later, Pujara was caught and bowled by Nathan Lyon as the Saurashtra man missed a chance to score a double-century by just seven runs.
As Pujara departed the crease, another Saurashtra star, Ravindra Jadeja, joined Rishabh Pant in the middle. In the meantime, Pant reached to his third test half-century which was well appreciated by the SCG faithfuls. Being in a commanding position in the match, it was expected that Pant and Jadeja would slog and try to score runs quickly, however, both decided otherwise and piled runs playing watchfully and carefully.
As Jadeja settled with the condition of the pitch, he then decided to start slogging and up the ante of the Indian run rate. This motive of his was ably supported by Pant, who although was nearing to his second test century, decided to make some quick runs. The duo soon added a quickfire-82 runs partnership which kind of faded any Australian hopes of leveling the series. At Tea, India managed to post 491 runs for the loss of six wickets with Pant 88* and Jadeja 25*still present at the crease.
Third Session: In the third session of the day, the Indian batsmen came all guns blazing, scoring runs almost every ball. Rishabh Pant reached to his second Test century after he dispatched the ball for a boundary. This made him the first Indian wicketkeeper to score a century in Australia. The duo then slammed the Australian bowlers all round the park as Jadeja reached to his tenth Test fifty, while Rishabh Pant getting to his maiden Test 150. The duo added a partnership of 204 runs before Jadeja was clean bowled by Nathan Lyon while trying to smash him for a six. At this juncture, Indian captain Virat Kohli declared the innings with Rishabh Pant being unbeaten on 159 runs while Jadeja contributed 81 valuable runs to the Indian total of 622/7. The Australians were asked to bat for 10 overs in the twilight of the day’s play.
Marcus Harris was joined by Usman Khawaja to open the Australian innings, while Mohammed Shami started the proceedings for India. Although Harris looked solid, Khawaja looked unsettled and was even dropped of a healthy edge off Shami’s delivery by Pant. The Australians ended day 2 after scoring 24 runs for the loss of no wickets in 10 overs. They trail India’s first innings total by 598 runs.
What should Australia aim for tomorrow?
Australia would like to not lose many wickets tomorrow, even if they score at a tortoise pace. This would, in turn, help them to at least draw the match. However, with the pitch expected to turn heavily Day 3 onwards, it will be a battle for Australian batsmen to negate the threats of Indian bowlers and especially Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav.
What should India aim for tomorrow?
With a massive total on board, India should allow the Australians to attack them by keeping fielders within the inner circle. This, in turn, would lead to the Australian batsmen mistiming few shots that would eventually lead to the wickets of Australia.
India are well on top and they would like to dismantle the Australian batting order quickly and would then hope to enforce the follow-on and then go on to win the match. Even if Australia bat through the day, India can’t lose the match unless a miracle happens, thus, India are almost certain to become the first Asian side to win a Test Series in Australia and create history.