Melbourne Test Match: India build after another Smith special

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December 27, 2014

Brief Scorecard: India 1 for 108 (Vijay 55*) trail Australia 530 (Smith 192, Harris 74, Rogers 57, Haddin 55, Watson 52) by 422 runs

Steve Smith’s golden run with the bat continued as he struck 192 before Australia were bowled out for a commanding 530.

December 27, 2014

Brief Scorecard: India 1 for 108 (Vijay 55*) trail Australia 530 (Smith 192, Harris 74, Rogers 57, Haddin 55, Watson 52) by 422 runs

Steve Smith’s golden run with the bat continued as he struck 192 before Australia were bowled out for a commanding 530.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – The opening day may have ended with honors even, but on Saturday (December 27), the second day of the third Test between Australia and India in Melbourne, there was little doubt that Australia were the better side for much of the remainder of their innings. Steve Smith’s golden run with the bat continued as he struck 192 before Australia were bowled out for a commanding 530.

India’s openers began their reply on a positive note and put on a 50-plus opening stand before Ryan Harris prised out Shikhar Dhawan for 28. Cheteshwar Pujara (25 not out) then joined M Vijay (55 not out) to take India to 108 for 1 when stumps were drawn at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Smith found ample support from Brad Haddin and Ryan Harris. That India’s pacers dropped the ball too short, often in the morning session and at a pace that was hardly threatening, didn’t help matters as Smith and Haddin extended their sixth-wicket partnership to 110. Haddin, who has endured a rough patch with the bat, was hardly troubled by India's plan of peppering him with short balls as he got to a much-needed half-century. He eventually fell for 55 when his indecisiveness over leaving a length delivery from Shami induced a bottom edge that carried to the wicketkeeper.

Ashwin gave India their second breakthrough of the morning when a charging Johnson was beaten and stumped by MS Dhoni for 28. Australia had plundered 130 runs in 25 overs by the time the teams broke for lunch. But with the hosts heading into the break on 389 for 7, India still had the chance of restricting them to a reasonable total.

But they let the Australian tail wag in what has now become a rather familiar sight in overseas Tests as Ryan Harris joined Smith to punish the Indian bowlers.

Harris was as efficient in driving the fuller balls as he was while executing the pull when India chose to drop it short as he scored a valuable 74 and added 106 for the eighth wicket with his captain.

Smith, who largely played second fiddle to his more dominant partners, had quietly gone past the 150-run mark. But after Harris's dismissal, he cut loose and was especially severe on R Ashwin, whom he carted for three boundaries and a six in one over as Australia raced past 500. He missed out on the chance to complete a double-century when he was bowled, trying to scoop Umesh Yadav, but not before he had put Australia on the driver's seat.

Dhawan and Vijay did not hesitate in playing their strokes and India went along at a healthy rate of almost four an over. Vijay looked especially assured as he left anything short or slightly outside the off stump well alone.

Dhawan, coming on the back of a confident 81 in the previous Test, caressed three lovely boundaries and looked good for his 28. But Harris dropped one slightly short outside the off stump and Dhawan, who tried to open the face of the bat, gave a catch to Smith, who took a good, low catch at second slip.

Vijay, India's most consistent batsman in overseas Tests recently, collected a couple off Nathan Lyon to complete yet another half-century.

Pujara looked tentative at times and was handed a reprieve on 12 when Haddin attempted a one-handed low catch behind the stumps only to spill it. But he and Vijay slowly built after Dhawan's dismissal to ensure there was no further damage.


Courtesy: PTI