India vs Australia 3rd Test: Ravindra Jadeja shines as India fightback on Day 2

After a disappointing opening day, Ajinkya Rahane and co. finally managed to pull the plugs on Day 2 of the third Test between India and Australia in Sydney. Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara finished the day unbeaten on 5 and 9 respectievly as India reached 96/2 at stumps.   

Earlier in the day, Steve Smith, who was going through a rough patch, completed a brilliant century and helped Australia pile 338/10 on the board. He found great support from Marnus Labuchagne as the pair added 100-runs for the third wicket. 

In response to Australia’s first innings total, the opening duo of Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill gave visitors a solid start. The pair added 70 runs for the first wicket, before Rohit was caught and bowled by birthday boy Jos Hazlewood on 26. Gill continued his resistance in the middle and went on to complete his maiden half-century. However, his celebration was soon cut short by Pat Cummins, who dismissed the flamboyant opener on 50 from 101 deliveries. 

Starting the day from where they left, Marnus Labuschagne and Smith added 40 runs to their overnight score of 166/2, before star of the day Ravindra Jadeja provided India with the much-needed breakthrough. The all-rounder removed Labuschagne with a quicker delivery, which also saw the end of a crucial 100-run partnership. After his dismissal, Jadeja maintained the pressure on the Aussies but Smith kept things calm from the other end. 

Showing fine touch right from the start of his innings on Day 1, Smith went on to complete his 27th Test ton. This was a much-needed century, both for him and his side, especially after just adding 10 runs in the previous two encounters. His last century came against England in Manchester in 2019, when he scored 211 during the Ashes. The former Australian skipper was the last man to be dismissed after a brilliant effort in the field by Jadeja saw the 31-year-old being run-out on 131 from 226 deliveries. 

For the Indians, Jadeja emerged as the standout bowler, conceding 62 runs in his 18 overs. Jasprit Bumrah and debutant Navdeep Saini shared two wickets each, while Siraj claimed one. R Ashwin, who has been in sublime form in the previous two matches, remained wicketless. 

Brief Scores: 

India 1st Innings: 96/2 in 45 overs (Shubman Gill 50; Cheteshwar Pujara batting 9, Ajinkya Rahane batting 5; Josh Hazlewood 1/23, Pat Cummins 1/19).
Australia 1st innings: 338 all out in 105.4 overs (Will Pucovski 62, Marnus Labuschagne 91, Steve Smith 131, Ravindra Jadeja 4/62, Jasprit Bumrah 2/66).  

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Sagar Biswas

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