Ranchi: Captain Steven Smith struck a pluckyhalf century to guide Australia to 194 for four at tea on day one of third Test against India here today.
Smith (80*) was in the middle alongside comeback man Glenn Maxwell (19*) in a session where Australia scored 85 runs in 30 overs at the loss of Peter Handscomb (19).
It was a less productive session for the hosts, who had taken three crucial wickets in the first two hours of play, reducing the visitors to 109 for three.
Ajinkya Rahane was the stand-in captain in the middle as Virat Kohli missed majority of the second session after hurting his shoulder with an awkward dive in the morning.
Trying to save a boundary at deep midwicket in the 40th over, Kohli landed heavily on the fast and hard outfield of the Jharkhand State Cricket Association International Stadium Complex.
Such was the impact that he had difficulty in standing up and was seen grimacing in pain, clutching his right shoulder to be rushed out of the field immediately.
However, it was a memorable outing for rival skipper Smith, who became the third fastest batsman in terms of matches played to complete 5000 Test runs in his 53rd Test.
Sir Don Bradman had reached the milestone in his 36th Test, while Sunil Gavaskar took 52 matches to get past 5000.
Smith went about his job as usual on way to his 21st half-century and shared undefeated 54-run partnership with Maxwell.
Umesh looked the most impressive Indian bowler and gave the the only breakthrough of the session when he trapped Handscomb LBW with a brilliant inswinging yorker.
After Handscomb’s departure, Smith found a fine ally in Maxwell.
Earlier, Smith won a fine toss as their openers Matt Renshaw and David Warner played with a positive intent and cruised to 50 for no loss in 9.3 overs.
But after spin was introduced at both ends in the 10th over, Ravindra Jadeja (1/49) struck in his first over with Warner (19) offering a simple return catch to the left-arm spinner.
Renshaw’s first 24 runs came only in boundaries as once he cleared a fielder the ball would race past the rope.
Seventh over and Ashwin came in with his ‘bunny’ Warner at the opposite end.
At the other end, Warner took his time and hit his first boundary after 22 balls with an elegant cover drive off Yadav.
With Warner looking to break free, Kohli employed spin attack at both ends and Jadeja was welcomed by the Aussie vice-captain with another crunching drive.
The next ball, a juicy full-toss and Warner offered Jadeja a return catch for the first breakthrough for India.
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