A brilliant Josh Hazlewood run out has threatened to swing the SCG Test in Australia’s favour with India 4-180 at lunch on day three.
Mid-spell and with India fighting to match Australia’s first-innings 338, Hazlewood moved low to his right to intercept a drive from Hanuma Vihari on four.
The 196cm Australian quick then got his throw away in one motion before he can hit the ground for a direct hit to catch Vihari short of the crease.
The dismissal will expose Rishabh Pant to the second new ball just one over after lunch, with the wicketkeeper-batsman threatening to unleash on 29.
The play had all the hallmarks of Pat Cummins’ brilliant effort to run out Cheteshwar Pujara on the last ball of the opening day in Adelaide two years ago.
Pujara, meanwhile, is again proving to be India’s stone wall, soaking up 144 balls to be unbeaten on 42 at the break.
The 32-year-old survived a bat-pad appeal off Nathan Lyon, with the unsuccessful review infuriating Tim Paine who believed he saw an edge on hotspot.
Pujara has been tested by Cummins again, negotiating 38 balls from the speedster for just one run.
The paceman has claimed his wicket three times this summer.
Hazlewood’s run out aside, Cummins was the pick of the hosts in the opening session.
He regularly tested the Indians and got the day’s opening wicket when he bowled Ajinkya Rahane for 22.
The quick managed to cramp the tourists’ captain for room with one that seamed back, forcing him to chop it onto his stumps.
Nathan Lyon was again unlucky with Rahane dropped by Matthew Wade at bat-pad, before having a Pujara review go against him.
With the series level at 1-1 and a finale to be played in Brisbane next week, a win in Sydney would be enough for India to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.