Final Session Highlights : Australia finished the third day’s play with a huge lead of 382 runs despite being in a bad position at 50 for 3 in their second innings. It was an entertaining period of 14 overs that the Aussies got to bat before the close of play with Ashwin extracting plenty of turn and bounce to take two wickets while Zaheer Khan getting a wicket. However, these blows have come very late for India in this Test Match with Australia running away with the game after bundling out India for 292.
It was in the 10th over that R Ashwin got his first wicket when he took a lovely low return catch to his left when the left-handed David Warner (28) looked to whip his flighted delivery off the pads but ended up with a leading edge. In the next over, Shaun Marsh (0) fell across to a full length inswinger from Zaheer Khan to be plumb infront of middle. Ashwin in the very next over got Ed Cowan (10) lbw when the left hander went too deep in the crease and missed a drifter which got him plumb infront of middle and leg.
At stumps on Day 3, Australia have got Ricky Ponting on 1* along with Skipper Michael Clarke who has looked very positive with his 9*. The hosts would be looking to bat for one session tomorrow and may be declare leaving India with a target of around 500.
India Bowled Out : Virat Kohli scored a superb maiden century to provide some sort of consolation for the Indian cricket fans on their Republic Day. Kohli was last man to be dismissed as India got bowled out for 272 about an hour after the Tea Break. Virat Kohli finished with 116 from 213 balls with 11 fours and a six. He is the only player from India to score a century in this Series!
Australia who have got a huge lead of 332 runs have decided against the follow on to give their bowlers the much needed break having bowled 95.1 overs to dismiss India. The final session saw an early wicket with R Ashwin (5) shuffling across in a flick and missing a full length delivery from Siddle to get out lbw. The very next ball, Zaheer Khan was caught behind, slashing at a widish short ball and leaving Peter Siddle on a hat-trick. Ishant Sharma at no.10 denied the hat-trick and stayed for enough time to aid Virat Kohli in getting to his maiden Test hundred which came in 199 balls.
In the 94th over, Ben Hilfenhaus cleaned up Ishant Sharma (16) with a full length late away swinger. The innings was wrapped up by the same bowler when Virat Kohli looking to smash a full toss to squareleg across the line was late in bringing his bat down to be dismissed lbw. Peter Siddle who took 5 for 49 led the Aussies back to the comfort of the dressing room.
Afternoon Session Highlights : It was a great session for India post lunch as youngsters Virat Kohli and Wriddhiman Saha batted out solidly to keep the Aussies under bay perhaps for the first time in this series. However in the final over before Tea, a well set Wriddhiman Saha for once erred in his judgment and offered no shot to a good length inswinger from Ryan Harris with the second new ball which went onto strike his off stump.
Wriddhiman Saha fell for a brave 35 having batted out 94 balls to score a four and a six (off Nathan Lyon) and putting up a solid 114-run stand along with Virat Kohli. India at Tea are 225 for 6 in 84.4 overs and are trailing behind by 379 runs. Virat Kohli is closing in towards a maiden Test century, batting on an impressive 91 from 182 balls with 7 fours and a six.
Morning Session Highlights : India are staring at a possible follow on after losing three big wickets in the morning session! The visitors are now left with Kohli, Saha and the lower order to follow! At Lunch, India have been reduced to 122 for 5 in 51 overs.
The morning session looked alright for about 40 minutes until a bowling change from Michael Clarke which introduced Peter Siddle changed the fortunes for India. Siddle got Sachin Tendulkar (25 from 69 balls with 3 fours) pushing hard at a full length away swinger outside off and the result was a thick edge which was caught very low by Ricky Ponting at second slip. Tendulkar could have so easily left that delivery but paid the price for his poor shot in the 32nd over.
In the 34th over, Gautam Gambhir (34 from 94 balls with 4 fours) got dismissed in the same fashion in which he got out to Mitchell Starc in the Perth Test. This time the bowler was Peter Siddle coming up with a nasty lifter around Gambhir’s face and all the left hander could do was to fend it off in the air to gully where Michael Hussey lunged forward to pull off a great low catch.
VVS Laxman perhaps playing for his place in the side got dismissed for 18 (from 43 balls) when he went back to play a forcing cut to a full delivery from Nathan Lyon. That delivery went straight on with extra bounce and Laxman playing under the bounce got a faint top edge to Brad Haddin. By Lunch, Virat Kohli has looked impressive with 21* and Wriddhiman Saha has shown good technique so far in his 5*.
Start of Play on Day 3 : India resumes the third day’s play at the Adelaide Oval under pressure at 61 for 2. The visitors are facing a huge deficit of 543 runs. Exactly since a month ago, this Test Series had begun on the Boxing Day at MCG and since then none of the Indian batsmen had scored a century. Today being the Indian Republic Day and also the Australia Day, something special could be in store!
The two batsmen to resume play for India are Gautam Gambhir on 30* and Sachin Tendulkar on 12*. The morning session perhaps could set the tone for the rest of this Test match about India’s survival. India’s first target is to avoid the follow on and for that they need to get 405 on the board! The pitch remains to be a beauty for the batsmen and the cracks haven’t opened up yet because of the grass binding them together.