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08-Jan-2021 08:10:00 GMT
Aus vs Ind - 3rd Test, SCG, day 2

Jadeja, Gill star turns as India dominate day

India 96 for 2 (Gill 50) trail Australia 338 (Smith 131, Labuschagne 91, Pucovski 62, Jadeja 4-62) by 242 runs

Sydney: Steve Smith's typically gutsy hundred was neutralised by Ravindra Jadeja's four-wicket haul and rookie Shubman Gill's fluent half-century as a resolute India reached 96/2 after dismissing Australia for 338 on the second day of the third Test at Sydney Cricket Ground on Friday.

The Indian bowlers, especially Jadeja (18-3-62-4) and the ever-dependable Jasprit Bumrah (25.4-7-66-2), were brilliant with their length on a flat SCG deck where Smith (131 off 226 balls) along with Marnus Labuschagne (91 off 196 balls) raised visions of a 450-plus total by taking the side to 206 for 2 at one stage.

But in the end, 338 was all they managed in a little less than 106 overs with none of the other batsmen making any telling contribution.

It was only fitting that Jadeja's split second brilliance from the deep found Smith short of his crease.

Then it was the calm and collective Gill (50, 101 balls), who was assured during those cover drives off Nathan Lyon and equally breathtaking while presenting his forward defence to Pat Cummins.

He and Rohit Sharma (26 off 77 balls) added 70 in 27 overs but more importantly set the stage for skipper Ajinkya Rahane (5 batting off 40 balls) and Cheteshwar Pujara (9 batting off 53 balls) to cash in on the batting-friendly conditions on the third day.

Despite the cloud cover for the better part of the day, there was no swing on offer and lack of moisture meant that there wasn't any turn or for that matter, even some movement off the pitch.

The Australian attack looked more insipid than ever and Rohit, playing his first game in nearly two months, did all the hard work for nearly two hours before failing to check an uppish drive that was pouched by the bowler.

But it was a day when India had two openers, who were both ready to pull the fast bowlers during their opening spells and dominate Lyon with precise footwork.

Both frittered away good starts but in broader context, provided the launchpad which the team failed to get in the first two Tests.

Earlier, australia were all out for 338 in their first innings on the second day.

After Will Pucovski (62) and Marnus Labuschagne (91) gave the hosts their strongest start of the series, Steve Smith struck a gritty 131-run knock to ensure that the team had a fighting score on the board.

For India, all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja was the top wicket-taker with four scalps, conceding 62 runs in his 18 overs.

Pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah and debutant Navdeep Saini chipped in with two wickets each to keep the visiting side firmly in the match after the hosts claimed the day one honours.

The series is currently locked 1-1 after India's remarkable eight-wicket comeback win in the Melbourne Test, off-setting a humiliating loss in the opener in Adelaide.

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