Sat, Mar 18, 10:24am by Head Editor
The honours were shared much more evenly on the second day of the Third Test in Ranchi, with India making a solid start to their first Innings to finish the day at 1/120, 331 runs behind the tourists first innings of 451.
That impressive total was attributed to Glenn Maxwell’s first century in the baggy green and Steve Smith’s 19th. The 28-year-old Victorian celebrated with an outburst of emotion when he hit a cut shot past gully to bring up his ton.
The “Big Show” was right to celebrate, becoming just the second Australian behind Shane Watson to have scored centuries in Tests, ODIs and T20 internationals.
Maxwell may have gone just four runs after he reach three figures, but his skipper was out for a big one, and looked superb in his knock of 178 not out.
A determined Smith occupied the crease for 512 minutes and soaked up 361 deliveries, refusing to throw his wicket away. You can tell he desperately wants to lead his country to victory in this series after the drama that occurred in Bangalore.
Australia started the day as a $2.40 favourite but that figure has drifted out to $3.50 with India coming in from $4.40 to $3.25. The draw, which was $4.40 at the start of the match, has come in further to $2.15.
Pat Cummins then took the new ball in his first Test since 2011 and was right on the money from the start. There was no breakthrough though for the tearaway quick, until the 32nd over, when he produced a brilliant short ball to Kannur Lokesh Rahul, to remove the opener for a well-made 67.
India have patiently made their way to 1/120 off 40 overs in reply and in a stat that would have kept Smith awake last night, the last five times India have conceded over 400 in the first innings on home soil, they’ve replied with scores of 482, 499, 488, 631 and 759 respectively.
The pitch is completely different to what we’ve seen in the opening two Tests, offering no help to the spinners but Josh Hazlewood was starting to get the ball to reverse swing late in the day.
Another huge day awaits us in Ranchi, Australia will be out for quick wickets, while India will want to bat all day. Indian skipper Virat Kohli was nowhere to be seen on day two, as speculation mounts on the severity of his right shoulder injury.
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