It was a fascinating Day 2 in the second Test between India and Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on Friday. A total of 268 runs were scored and 10 wickets were lost in the day’s play which saw fortunes fluctuating from one team to the other.© Provided by News18 India vs Australia: Steve Smith Slams Magnificent Ton But Sydney Test Still in Balance
Steven Smith’s 27th Test hundred dominated the day but the Indian bowlers did well to bowl out Australia for 338. At close of play, India were 96 for 2 with Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane at the crease. The day started with Australia resuming their innings on 166 for 2 after a rain-hit start on Thursday. Marnus Labuschagne, overnight on 67 and Steven Smith, unbeaten on 31 went about their business as usual and soon put together the second hundred partnership of the Australian innings – off 220 deliveries.
Just when it seemed that the duo would go on and bat India out of the match, Ravindra Jadeja gave the visitors the first breakthrough of the day against the run of play. The ball bounced a bit more, took a thick edge for Rahane to take an excellent catch at slip. Labuschagne had been dismissed for 91 with the team score at 206.
That opened the floodgates for India and it exposed the relatively inexperienced Australian middle order. Jadeja, the man with the golden arm, got his second wicket of the day, when he sent packing an impatient Matthew Wade back to the pavilion. Soon after Jasprit Bumrah got one to come in sharply and had Cameron Green plumb in front of his wickets – the all-rounder was dismissed for a 21-ball duck. Australia had lost three wickets in the morning session which belonged to India.
Meanwhile, Smith was unfazed at one end and had moved to 76 by Lunch. Continuing from where he had left off yesterday, Smith was far more positive and attacked the Indian bowlers in this innings. He deliberately chose to target R Ashwin – the off-spinner had dismissed him twice already in the series – and unsettle him early in his spell. Smith made a few adjustments to his game – he held the bat firmer, showed urgency between the wickets and put the bad balls away taking calculated risks. He did not allow the Indians to bowl to their successful leg-side field to him.
However, India dominated the second session too and picked the last 5 Australian wickets conceding just 89 runs – a commendable effort given their struggle against the opposition tail overseas. Jadeja was the pick of the bowlers returning with 4-62 off 18 overs. The highlight of the session, though, was Smith’s 27 Test hundred and the animated celebrations that followed thereafter on his home ground in Sydney- not typical of Smith!
It was a timely hundred for the Australian – his first in 16 months for Australia. It was a knock which not only showed his class and skill as a batsman but also his temperament and mental toughness. India bowled out Australia for 338 – a great effort after losing the toss on a batting wicket. Basically they had picked 8 Australian wickets on Day 2 giving away just 172 runs!
The visitors were given a great start by Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill. Both of them got a flurry of boundaries, played the pull shot to perfection and had time to play the fast bowlers. However, just when it looked that India had fought back and dominated Day 2, Josh Hazlewood saw the back of Rohit dismissing him for a patient but confident 26. India had lost their first wicket with the score at 70.
It was an unusually solid start for India overseas in their recent Test history. Gill again impressed with a fine fifty – a knock which included some sublime boundaries – before falling to Pat Cummins near the close of play. Pujara and Rahane were very watchful and ensured no further damage to India who ended Day 2 on 96 for 2.
It was a seesaw battle for supremacy in Sydney today. Despite Smith’s hundred it was India’s day till Australia fought back with the two late wickets. A fascinating day 3 awaits – a day which could well decide the course of this match and the fate of the series!
Courtesy – MSN