Stumps, Day 3,
India 250, 3-151
Pujara – 40 Rahane – 1
Not done just yet.
That should be the message in the Australian dressing room after a grinding performance with the ball kept them in contention at stumps on day three of the first Test in Adelaide.
India will resume on day four at 3-151, and with an overall lead of 166 with 7 wickets in hand.
First-innings century-maker Cheteshwar Pujara (40*) and Ajinkya Rahane (1*) hold the key to India’s prospects of batting Australia out of the game.
Nathan Lyon’s wicket-taking ability was underlined once again as he claimed the vital wicket of Virat Kohli (34) late in the day to keep Australia believing.
Lyon has now dismissed Kohli six times, proving his credentials as a world class operator.
It was a just reward. The Australian bowlers worked hard to restrict India’s scoring and pinch a few wickets in the process as the home team tries to stay within striking distance of a target they can chase down and win the match.
— Fox Cricket (@FoxCricket) December 8, 2018
Earlier, Josh Hazelwood had Lokesh Rahul caught behind for 44, which brought India skipper Virat Kohli to the crease.
Just moments before, Nathan Lyon thought he had claimed the wicket of Pujara, caught behind only for the decision to be overturned on review.
Soon after tea, the luckless off-spinner had another decision overruled when the Decision Review System (DRS) deemed an LBW decision against Pujara was also incorrect.
Mitchell Starc made the first breakthrough of the innings, dismissing Murali Vijay and giving Australia a morale boost as India looked set to bat them out of the game at the Adelaide Oval.
Vijay was caught at slip by Peter Handscomb for 18 as India’s lead was starting to bloom.
OUT! Starc gets the breakthrough.
— 7 Cricket (@7Cricket) December 8, 2018
Lokesh Rahul and Vijay started their 2nd innings with a 50 run partnership as they look to build the foundations of a match-winning lead for Virat Kohli’s tourists.
The first 10 overs produced just 19 runs as Australia attempted to restrict India’s top order.
At the start of the day, Travis Head’s (72) tilt at a maiden Test century came up short as Australia were dismissed for 235 on day three of the Adelaide Test.
Head’s runs, grafted from 167 deliveries, may prove vital as Australia closed to within 15 runs of India’s first-innings total.
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) December 8, 2018
The fate of Australia’s cricketing summer could be determined over the next few sessions.
The last team to win a series in Australia after losing the first Test was Sir Len Hutton’s touring Englishmen in 1954-55.
In that Ashes campaign, England lost the opening encounter at the Gabba but recovered to win the series 3-1.
For the next 64 years, it has been mission impossible for teams getting off to such a bad start in the heat of the Australian summer.
Australia resumed on day three at 7-191 as the tail had to withstand an early onslaught of quality Indian fast bowling on a pitch that has no doubt been livened up after sweating under the covers due to rain.
Starc wasn’t able to offer much resistance. He was the latest Australian to offer an edge to wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant and was out 15 just before rain forced the teams from the field.
Lyon made a feisty 24 from 28 deliveries to help Australia get within touching distance of the Indian first-innings total.
Virat Kohli was booed as he walked to the wicket to bat. Kohli polarises opinions and, clearly, the Australians are wary of his talent and presence.
Australian coach Justin Langer admitted he felt the Indian captain’s celebrations after the fall of a wicket was something his team can no longer get away with.
“He’s a superstar of the game and he’s the captain.
“We’ve talked for as long as I can remember in Australian cricket teams that you want to keep the opposition captain down as much as possible. You love seeing that passion in sport,” Langer told Fox Cricket.
— Fox Cricket (@FoxCricket) December 7, 2018
“Mind you, I think if we did that at the moment we’d be the worst blokes in the world. It’s a fine line isn’t it?” Langer said.
Australia will need to focus on its own challenges rather than worry about Kohli’s behaviour if it is to win here.
Their first-innings batting performance doesn’t inspire confidence that they are capable of chasing a victory target of anything beyond 250.
One way for this Australian team to regain the affection of a sceptical cricket public would be to engineer a stirring run chase.
They will get the opportunity to do so in what has become an absorbing test match.