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Steve Smith has made a drought-breaking century for Australia on day two of the third Test as India bowled the hosts out for 337 on day two at the SCG.
Smith made 131 from 226 balls before he was runout by Ravindra Jadeja to bring the Australian first innings to a close before tea.
In reply, India is 0-50 with Rohit Sharma (22) and Shubman Gill (237) at the crease, with the rookie opener unperturbed by constant chatter from Marnus Labuschagne.
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Smith’s century innings in all its glory
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Stationed at bat-pad, Labuschagne repeatedly asked Gill who his favourite player was.
“Who is it? Come on who is it? Sachin? Virat? AB? Laxman, Laxman? Whose your favourite player?” the Australian pestered.
““I’ll tell you after the match,” Gill eventually replied.
Australia has a solid total defend but will lament losing 8-132 on Friday.
“They’ll be very disappointed with that,” Shane Warne said of the collapse.
“Steve Smith will be happy, he made a brilliant 100 but Australia will be disappointed to lose 8-132 today.”
Nathan Lyon was the man to fall before Smith, trapped in front by Jadeja for a duck before taking a review with him.
“This is where they’re making an a** of the DRS, isn’t it?” Kerry O’Keeffe said of his decision to review. “Because he walked but thought, ‘I might as well try and save myself.
“Lyon knew in his heart of hearts that it was plumb but decided to roll the dice anyway … I disagree with that. Just accept that (decision).”
Steve Smith hits back at his critics
Having scratched his way to just 10 runs across his first three innings of the summer, Smith looked serene on his way to a 201-ball ton at the SCG as he held Australia’s batting order together against an Indian attack that while not quite as stellar as it has been was still highly impressive.
Smith went to stumps on day one at the SCG unbeaten on 31, and rarely looked troubled on day two as he nudged, drove and clipped his way to triple figures for the 27th time and ended Australia’s six-Test run without a ton against India.
As for Smith, he hadn’t scored a Test century in 490 days and eight Test matches.
“He was absolutely pumped,” Mike Hussey said after Smith reached three figures.
“An outstanding 100 for an outstanding cricketer. A statement of the highest quality for Steve Smith after being suppressed for two Tests, this fine batsman rises again,” Adam Gilchrist said.
Paine undone by a Bumrah SEED
Australia XI: David Warner, Will Pucovski, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Matthew Wade, Cameron Green, Tim Paine (c, wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood
India XI: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (c), Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini
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OUCH! Wade drills Vihari not once, twice
Meanwhile, India has fought back with the ball on Friday. The last wicket to fall was that of Pat Cummins, bowled by Ravindra Jadeja, while Tim Paine (1) was bowled through the gate by a Jasprit Bumrah stunner shortly after lunch.
Bumrah also took the wicket of Cameron Green, who was trapped in front for a 21-ball duck on the stroke of lunch.
Green was in trouble against the new ball after the dismissal of Matthew Wade, who had taken a liking to sweeping spinner Ravindra Jadeja, much to the discomfort of Hanuma Vihari who was hit at short leg three times by full-blooded shots.
Green departs for a duck before lunch
In the end, Wade was overly aggressive to Jadeja who beat him with in flight. Wade charged down the wicket recklessly but topedged the ball to be caught out for 13.
“It’s a poor dismissal. It’s a Test match, you don’t need to do that,” Mark Waugh said of Wade’s dismissal.
“If the ball isn’t there (to hit) you need to pull out of the shot. It was a nothing shot, you’ve got to do better than that. That’s a really poor dismissal.”
“That was a reckless shot,” Kerry O’Keeffe added.
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Pucovski draws rave reviews on debut
Earlier a brief rain delay halted play, much to the frustration of Fox Cricket commentators Mark Waugh and Kerry O’Keefee.
“Is it just a rule now that any sort of precipitation we are off?” Mark Waugh said, baffled by how play was stopped.
“Come on, you’ve got a good crowd in, two teams that want to play and you’ve got a sprinkle that would not even water the roses, and we’re off.
“All they had to do was be patient for one minute … get back out there.”
Earlier, Mike Hussey and Shane Warne noted a change in Smith’s stance this Test as he aims to make his first big score of the summer.
Smith has been standing slightly pigeon-toed as the bowler runs in, before opening his stance back up slightly before the ball is delivered.
“Look at that front foot how it’s pointing towards gully almost. Definitely a bit of a change,” Hussey noted.
“He’s got some of the weirdest theories I’ve come across … who knows where he comes up with this stuff. I think batting is a lot about feel … sometimes it just feels right and he obviously tinkers a lot.
“He does open it back up before the bowler bowls, so I don’t know.”
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INDIAN COMMENTARY LEGEND HARSHA BHOGLE JOINS TOM MORRIS FOR AN IN-DEPTH CHAT. TO LISTEN, TAP HERE
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