Smith’s ton takes Australia to fine total as India trail by 242

AFP
India continues to bat on day 2 of third Test while trialing by 242 runs / Photo: Cricket Australia 

Australia got two wickets in the final session of day two of third Test after putting a 338-run first innings total following Steve Smith’s first century in 490 days on Friday in Sydney.

Coming on to bat after dismissing the Australian XI, India are 96 for two at stumps on the second day of the Test.

Pacers Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins got the breakthroughs for the hosts while dismissing Rohit Sharma (26) and Shubman Gill (50) as India continue to trail by 242 runs in their first innings.

Captain Ajinkya Rahane (5), who scored a ton in Melbourne in second Test along with Cheteshwar Pujara (9), will resume the game tomorrow.

Earlier today, Australia continued their first innings at the Sydney Cricket Ground on 166 for two, but only managed another 172 in the face of India´s spirited fight back led by spinner Ravindra Jadeja who took 4-62.

Smith, though, was the star attraction, smacking 131 -- his 27th century, and his first since the 2019 Ashes in England -- before being the last man to fall. Marnus Labuschagne made 91 and Will Pucovski 62 on debut.

Meanwhile, Matthew Wade was undone by his natural aggression, recklessly skying a Jadeja ball to Bumrah.

Green went without scoring, trapped lbw by Bumrah who then clattered the stumps of Tim Paine (1).

Cummins was then bowled by Jadeja as Smith began running out of partners.

He found an ally briefly in Mitchell Starc to ensure he made his century, before the tail enders were mopped up.

"I think it´s a decent total (338), although it would have been nice to score a few more. You always want more," said Smith.

"It´s a bit up and down the wicket," he added.

"I think the boys bowled pretty well this evening and if we continue to bowl really disciplined tomorrow, we will get some opportunities."

India´s openers negotiated a tricky nine overs before tea to be 26 without loss, and they put on another 44 before Hazlewood struck, removing Sharma.

The veteran right-hander hadn´t played since straining a hamstring in October and only joined the team last week after a fortnight in quarantine.

But he quickly shook off the rust, hitting a big six off Nathan Lyon before surviving a scare on 24, when he was given out before the decision was reversed on review.

The reprieve proved short-lived, however, as Sharma scored just two more before being caught and bowled.

At the other end Gill, who made his debut in Melbourne, scoring 45 and 35 not out, again showed his composure and skill, reinforcing his status as a potential long-term opener.

Just 21, he brought up a maiden Test half-century before nicking an edge to Cameron Green off Cummins.

It left Pujara and Rahane to dig in and see India safely to stumps as the runs dried up.

Jadeja said the key to India´s taking eight wickets Friday was patience.

"We just tried to put the balls in the right area, make them play dot balls," he said.

"The plan was pretty simple -- bowl in the right areas and not give them easy boundaries so we could create pressure and get the wicket."

Read: Brad Haddin takes a dig at India for ‘whinging’ over Test venue

Aus vs Ind: Match Report - Stumps Day 2 - Third Test - Jan 8 - Sydney