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Smith, Lower Order Give Australia Vital Lead

Smith, Lower Order Give Australia Vital Lead
Steven Smith, scoring an exceptional century on the captaincy debut along with Mitchell Johnson.
©REUTERS / Action Images

India 71-1 (Dhawan 26no) & 408 v
Australia 505 (Smith 133)
Second Test, Brisbane, day three

Steven Smith, scoring an exceptional century on the captaincy debut along with Mitchell Johnson, turned the tide in favour of the hosts on day three of the second Test against India at Brisbane.

Australia scored 505 runs in 109.4 overs, thereby getting a vital 97-run lead at the end of the first innings.

Later in the day, bowlers helped the hosts close the day strong as India ended day 3 at 71 for one, trailing by another 26 runs.

India started the day's proceedings on a fine note as Ishant Sharma and Varun Aaron struck early in the first session, removing Mitchell Marsh (11) and Brad Haddin (6) respectively as Australia slipped to 247 for six.

From then on, the momentum shifted as Mitchell Johnson (88) along with Steven Smith (133) put on a 148-run partnership which came at a very brisk pace to entirely change the complexion of the game.

The duo departed in quick succession after lunch as Ishant had Johnson caught behind as Smith played-on a delivery onto his stumps.

However, the tail continued to wag for Australia as Mitchell Starc (52), Nathan Lyon (23) and Josh Hazlewood (32 not out) weighed in with useful contributions as the hosts continued to stretch the lead.

Varun Aaron had Lyon caught at mid-on while Ravichandran Ashwin got one through Starc’s slog to end the innings eventually.

Ishant Sharma (3-117) and Umesh Yadav (3-101) were impressive for India whereas Varun Aaron (2-145) was expensive while Ravichandran Ashwin (2-128) toiled hard for his wickets.

An error in judgment cost Vijay his wicket as he shouldered arms to a delivery angling across him to just clip the off bail. It was an important wicket considering Vijay’s form in the series and gave the Australians an opening to work at. 

Dhawan, along with Cheteshwar Pujara (15 not out), dug in to ensure India got to stumps without any further damage.

India are still behind by 26 runs and with two days left, the game is well poised for a good finish. 

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