With Virat Kohli forced to watch from the dressing room as he recuperates from a shoulder injury, India found a bit of inspiration from Ravindra Jadeja, whose five-for ensured Australia would not get anywhere close to the 500-run mark in this third Test match. Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell and Australia did get the run-scoring going along nicely on day two, with the visitors finishing on 451 in their first innings.
If India were to keep Australia to a total of around 400 on this flat wicket in Ranchi, they needed to get both Smith and Maxwell out early, but with the fast bowlers disappointing with the new ball again and the fielding well below par, India allowed the two score a few quick runs.
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The two, having added 159 together on day one, put on a further 32 runs to push the total close to 350. During that time, Maxwell managed to get to his maiden Test hundred, albeit not without a bit of drama, with the batsman stuck on 99 for quite a while, before a flash outside off sent the ball in between the two slips for a boundary.
Smith celebrated just as loudly as Maxwell (104, 185b, 9x4, 2x6) after the latter got to his hundred, but soon after, the all-rounder was walking back after Jadeja got one to spin and bounce, before taking a thin edge through to the wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha.
That wicket came in Jadeja's fourth over of the day, all of which were maidens. Indeed, he bowled 29 straight deliveries without conceding a run, but, unfortunately for the left-arm spinner, he just did not get any sort of support from the fast bowlers.
For some reason, Ajinkya Rahane, standing in as captain in Kohli's absence, insisted on bowling the pacers from one end, and kept at it, even when it was clear the plan wasn't working. Umesh Yadav and Ishant tried, and there were a few good balls in there, but there were also quite a few bad ones, all of which were put away for boundaries by Smith, Maxwell and Matthew Wade.
R Ashwin, despite left-hander Wade coming in after Maxwell's wicket, was not given the ball until the final half hour of the first session, and by then the momentum was firmly with Australia again, with India's premier bowler riding against the wave, trying to quell the run flow rather than trying to attack a new batsman.
Wade, after a quick 37 (50b, 6x4), which pushed the total to within five runs of 400, was inevitably picked up by the only bowler who has looked capable of picking up wickets –Jadeja. This was another caught behind, and two balls later, Pat Cummins (0, 2b) was dismissed, off a corker off a ball that came in on the angle, spun, beat the outside edge, before taking off-stump.
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After Lunch, Australia continued to frustrate India, with Steve O'Keefe showing he is pretty handy with the bat, by playing a nice little innings. With Smith unmoved and unconquerable at the other end, the two put on 51 runs in 18 and a half overs.
The India spinners toiled for a while without much result and it needed Umesh Yadav to come back, bowl a short ball on leg, and induce O'Keefe (25, 71b, 5x4) to pull the ball to fine-leg.
Nathan Lyon (1, 6b) then fell soon after to Jadeja off a nice catch at silly point from Karun Nair, giving the spinner his five-for, before Jadeja was involved to help run Josh Hazlewood (0, 2b) out to end Australia's innings, while leaving Smith unbeaten on a quite fantastic 178 (361b, 7x4).
First innings: Australia: 451 all out in 137.3 overs.
Overnight score: 299/4 in 90 overs, stumps day one.
Bowling: First innings: India: Ishant Sharma 20-2-70-0; Umesh Yadav 31-3-106-3; R Ashwin 34-2-114-1; Ravindra Jadeja 49.3-8-124-5; Murali Vijay 3-0-17-0.
Fall of wickets: First innings: Australia: 50/1, David Warner (9.4 overs); 80/2, Matt Renshaw (22.3 overs); 89/3, Shaun Marsh (25.1 overs); 140/4, Peter Handscomb (42.2 overs); 331/5, Glenn Maxwell (101.2 overs); 395/6, Matthew Wade (115.4 overs); 395/7, Pat Cummins (116 overs); 446/8, Steve O'Keefe (134.3 overs); 449/9, Nathan Lyon (136 overs); 451/10, Josh Hazlewood (137.3 overs).