Ajinkya Rahane and Co conceded their upper hand on the third day of the Sydney Test as they perished for 244 runs, chasing Australia’s 338. Three run-outs and an injury scare pretty much summed up the day for the visitors as Australia took control before stumps on Saturday. The hosts concluded Day 3 on 103/2 stretching their lead to 197. Steve Smith (29) and Marnus Labuschagne (47) remained unbeaten.
Coming out on Day 3, Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara had an uphill task at the Sydney Cricket Ground. The hosts came out with a plan and executed it commendably. With no help from the pitch, the Aussies still managed to keep their lines and length intact, banging in occasional short balls which frustrated the Indian batters throughout.
The hosts’ attacking fielding and bowling choked Rahane and Pujara for runs. Going at 2 runs per over, the pressure was ever-increasing and India got caught off guard. Rahane chopped a short ball onto his stumps on 22, thus failing to replicate his Melbourne heroics. It too Pujara 101 ball to hit his first boundary as he trudged along with Hanuma Vihari.
It didn’t take long before Vihari (4), under pressure was run-out. A direct hit from Hazelwood raised brows whether that run was necessary or not. Post lunch, the new ball was the icing on the cake for the hosts. Hazelwood and Starc made it tough for Rishabh Pant and Pujara in the middle. Pant got a good start but failed to get going yet again. He nicked one to the slip off Hazelwood before getting hurt and taken for a scan. Even Pujara took a blow to his shoulder but went on to get his slowest Test fifty.
Cummins’ plan to get a nick from Pujara worked yet again as the latter fell prey to drive one after a couple of other length deliveries. Pujara’s endeavor came to an end on 50 as he got dismissed by Cummins for the 4th time in this series. Two more run-outs and a firm resistance from Jadeja ensued post that. Jadeja stayed unbeaten on 28 and India’s fight came to an end on 244. The left-arm spinner was taken for scan post their innings, after getting hit on his finger.
Coming out to bat in the last session, Mohd. Siraj gave India an early breakthrough in the form of Will Pucovski (10). Ashwin managed to get Warner (13) trapped in front of the wicket. Smith and Labuschagne took the fight to India’s bowlers, yet again as the duo concluded the day stretching the lead to197.