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by Chetan Narula Friday 19 December 2014
Day three in Brisbane was expected to provide some clues as to where the second Test between Australia and India was heading to.
There were some early wickets, a little banter from Rohit Sharma after which Mitchell Johnson exploded, Steve Smith became the ninth Australian skipper to score a hundred in his first match in charge and then India managed to cut down the 97-run lead to just 26.
Day four might have the answers then.
"We were six down for 240-odd and Mitchell Johnson came out and took the charge to the Indian bowling," said Smith on Friday.
"He took them on and played some terrific cricket. He was positive from ball one. They tried to get stuck in to him and he took them on because it played into his favour. They didn’t really have an answer to him after that.
"To be fair the whole tail batted beautifully to get us up over the 500-mark. It was remarkable and we had a good day of cricket in the end. It was outstanding from Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon as well.
"Josh Hazlewood on debut was very good with the bat as well. They gave us a lead of 90-odd and it was a very good position," he added.
The skipper was humble about his own Test hundred on debut as captain, his sixth overall and second of the series so far. Smith thus became the ninth Australian skipper to achieve this feat.
"I said before in the pre-match conference that I wanted to lead from the front. So obviously I am delighted with this hundred as well.
"I have done it in this game and hopefully it will continue in the future. Any hundred you score for Australia is a good one, but I am happier that we got 500 runs on the board.
"There is no point thinking about individual performances if the team is not doing well. So I am really happy with lead of 90," said the young captain.
Perhaps the conditions got the better of the Indian team as they were simply unable to counter the opposition’s charge.
They kept bowling short and helped the Australian tail-enders to double the score after Brad Haddin had got out.
"I think it was a little frustrating for the Indians. It is tough work in this heat. We faced it while bowling in our first innings and we had a couple of bowlers going down.
"The heat and humidity really gets you out there. So when the tail bats like that, it is really a nightmare for the opposition," said Smith.
Indian medium pacer Umesh Yadav has conceded that his side might have gone awry with their plans.
"In the morning session the ball had gone soft and we thought we will stick to line and length. We did that and got two wickets too," he said.
"But when the tailenders came we thought we will bowl bouncers because of some difficulty they had against the bouncers. So we focused and planned on the bouncers.
"On Australian wickets if there is bounce then fast bowlers tend to bowl short balls and bouncers. We just did that.
"There is no point saying we bowled too many short balls. We did because if you are trying to follow a plan, then you have to.
"Otherwise there is no point in planning at all. At one stage, it was too much you can say. But that was our plan and we worked on that," he added.
© Cricket World 2014