Recent Match Report – Australia vs India 3rd Test 2020


Join us for updates, analysis and colour from the second day of the SCG Test

Welcome to our live report of the second day of the Australia-India Test from Sydney. Join us for updates, analysis and colour. You can find our traditional ball-by-ball commentary here

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2.10pm local time/8.40am IST: Smith gets to his 27th century

After spending what might have felt like a lifetime in the late 90s, Steven Smith reaches his 27th Test hundred, his eighth against India, and his third at the SCG. He whips the ball to leg (where else) and returns for two, takes his helmet off and points his bat to the dressing room before acknowledging the applause from this limited crowd at the ground. Here’s Gnasher from the SCG:

Amid Australia’s collapse, Steven Smith has his first Test century in Australia since late December 2017. Of course he missed an entire season but, still, it’s been a while. After two lean Tests it is a welcome return to normal service – it was always unlikely he would be quite down for too long. He has batted at a nice even tempo with his game looking in good order and Australia will be grateful for every run he can manage from here on. He’s certainly enjoying batting at the SCG this season: he scored two 62-ball centuries here during the one-day series.

1.45pm local time/8.15am IST: Bumrah with the new ball: 7-3-12-2

After 19 wicketless overs since yesterday, Bumrah had the second new ball and he now has these figures in this spell: 7-3-12-2. With the new ball he has accounted for Cameron Green and Tim Paine in similar fashion: teasing them outside off with a hint of away movement or those that hold their lines and then suddenly bringing one in sharply for an lbw or bowled. He actually started with this new ball well outside off and Smith was leaving him rather easily, but Bumrah gradually started to tighten his line which led to the two dismissals. Not only that, he has also dried up the runs as the tail has opened up with Pat Cummins joining Steven Smith.

12.35pm local time/7.05am IST: Bumrah strikes with the new ball

After what was appearing to be Australia’s session in the first hour, India have fought back strongly with three wickets in a two-and-a-half-hour session. The third wicket of the morning is Bumrah’s first of the innings, with the ball only four overs old. He has been bowling with a lot of zip and pace with the new Kookaburra, getting some away movement and good carry as well. Bowling to Cameron Green, who was dismissed in similar fashion against Siraj at the MCG, Bumrah gets to nip one back in sharply from good length and traps Green right in front for a 21-ball duck. India will have their tail up after the break with the ball new, and they’ll be so pleased with that session, and Australia a bit disappointed.

Australia 249 for 5 at lunch.

12.10pm local time/6.40am IST: Wade throws it away again

Here’s Gnasher again:

Second time in three innings that Matthew Wade has been out attacking the spinner. In the first innings at the MCG he lofted R Ashwin to midwicket and now here he has picked out mid-on against Ravindra Jadeja. There is a fine line between being aggressive and being reckless. Wade was clearly intent on taking on Jadeja. Just a handful of overs before the second new ball you need to ask if it was a wise choice. Cameron Green is now potentially exposed to that challenge.

Twelve of the 16 balls Wade faced were from Jadeja and Wade was clearly looking to dominate him; sweeping him regularly (although three of those struck Hanuma Vihari at short leg) and hitting him for two fours. But this approach of stepping out and producing a leading edge won’t sit nicely with the Australian management. Here’s what Ricky Ponting said on Channel Seven:

“Matthew Wade needs to have a lot more game awareness, as far as I’m concerned. In a situation like that, Matthew Wade has been opening in the last couple of Test matches so the new ball is not going to faze him. But what he’s done by getting out is expose Cameron Green to the new ball, a guy in his third Test, and for mine that is just not thinking enough about the situation of the game. We talk about game awareness, understanding what’s happening in the game. There was a phase there that Matthew Wade had to make sure he was there when the new ball came out.”

P.S. After 80 overs, India have taken the new ball with Australia 245 for 4. Sid Monga observes:

When the new ball was taken, Steven Smith had faced 142 balls and left alone only seven balls. Only one of those leaves was outside off, that too to spinner Jadeja. With the second new ball, though, there seems a shift of plans. There were straight leaves first up. The field seems to have moved to off, and the line has got wider. India looking to test him more traditionally now.

11.55am local time/6.25am IST: Rahane’s safe hands

Gnasher chimes in as well, from the SCG:

So Australia are still waiting for their first century of the series (over to you, Steven Smith). Labuschagne could hardly believe it when he edged Ravindra Jadeja to slip. He is a player with big hundreds to his name, including a double-hundred on this ground a year ago against New Zealand. A word, too, on the catch from Ajinkya Rahane that removed him. It was a very sharp effort to a chance that came off an almost horizontal bat which are especially tough for slip catchers off spinners. The India captain is one of the best around in that position.

11.20am local time/5.50am IST: India get the breakthrough

Marnus Labuschagne was looking solid as ever. He wasn’t giving any chances, he was threading the gap between square leg and backward square leg and driving so well. And now when there is spin from both ends, he gets a thick edge to Rahane at first slip to fall nine short of a hundred. Here’s Gaurav with a wonderful stat and observation:

Indian bowlers have been outstanding since 2018. Only seven centuries have been scored against them in this period across all conditions. Their planning and execution makes it very hard for batsmen to score freely. Oppositions need a lot of patience to score against this kind of an attack. For the Australian batsmen since 2018, it’s been extremely hard. Across six Tests before this one, the highest individual score made by an Australian batsmen was 79 by Marcus Harris in Sydney in 2019. Labushagne went past that score with a solid innings but could not convert it into a century. Smith, meanwhile, has crossed 50. Can he get to triple-figures? Time will tell

Australia 213 for 3 now as rain comes back after a brief session of play.

10.45am local time/5.15am IST: Drizzle arrives but what’s India’s Plan B?

The odd ball is sitting up on the batsmen and it’s mostly been Smith at the receiving end. There was one in the first over of the day that got his glove and surprised him, another a few overs later rose on him from just short of good length and Smith gave the pitch a stare with a few words.

Meanwhile, India seem to be relying heavily on the leg-side plan for the fast bowlers. Smith and Labuschagne have not left a single ball outside off this morning yet and are being made to play almost everything with a packed leg-side field. It’s because there’s no assistance for the bowlers in the pitch and they’re waiting for the batsmen to either miss one and be trapped lbw or hand a catch to one of the fielders on leg, which now includes Rohit Sharma at silly mid-on for Siraj. The question is, what is India’s Plan B because soon it will be an hour without a wicket. Bumrah has been replaced by Ravindra Jadeja meanwhile from the eighth over of the day, and now a slight drizzle has taken the players off.

10.05am local time/4.35am IST: Siraj starts day two

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