Jharkhand: Australian Captain Steve Smith has done it again. He’s scored his 19th Test century and led from the front in the charge against India in the third Test in Ranchi.
And this Test so far hasn’t looked as fired-up as the second match in Bengaluru. It was a slow slug to the hundred, with Smith knocking it away after 227 balls, but it has left Australia looking strong heading into day two on Friday.
It also came as part of a 139-run partnership — Australia’s strongest of the series so far, with ring-in number six batsman Glenn Maxwell who smacked away his maiden Test fifty after 95 balls with a six straight over the boundary. The sky is blue, the outfield is green and the pitch is dry. In other completely unsurprising news, a Marsh brother was dismissed cheaply in the first session of the third Test between Australia and India in Ranchi.
Mitchell Marsh was not considered for this match, sent home for shoulder surgery, which no doubt saved him the ignominy of being dropped. Replacing him at number six in the batting order is Glenn Maxwell. But Mitchell’s older brother Shaun is still in the team, despite averaging just 22 in this series before he was dismissed for two not long before lunch. He now averages 18.
Initially given not out, India reviewed the bat-pad appeal, and were rewarded when Snicko and slo-mo replays clearly showed the ball had grazed the bat. When Marsh departed, it was 3 for 89. That meant the fate of the Australian team again rested largely on the slim shoulders of captain Steve Smith, who reached his 50 during the second session.
Earlier, David Warner looked comfortable before he miscued a full-toss and was caught-and-bowled by Jadeja. Normally Warner would give a member of the crowd catching practice on a ball like that. But for whatever reason, he just looks out of sorts. Maybe it’s just the bad series every player has once or twice in their career.
Meanwhile Matt Renshaw looked smooth as silk in amassing 44 runs before he edged one to first slip from Yadav. In the process, he became the first Australian under 21 to get to 500 Test runs.
Australia was 3 for 109 at lunch. In the second session, Peter Handscomb was trapped LBW to Yadav for 19. His scores in this series are 22, 19, 16, 24 and 19. That means he’s hung around long enough to get the feel for the tricky pitches, but not long enough to make a really meaningful contribution to Australia’s score. Australia’s captain and coach would be as frustrated as he is. Australia had reached 4 for 290 after 87 overs.