On day three of the second Test, India’s first innings was brought to a close at 283 runs as Australia garnered a 43-run lead. By the end of Sunday’s play, the hosts had racked up a further 132-4 to take their overall second innings lead to 175.
With the Test still balanced on an edge, we look at the key takeaways from day three at Perth.
POOR OPENING SESSION COSTS INDIA DEAR AS LYON EXCELS AGAIN
With the match finely poised after two days of exhilarating Test cricket, the opening hour on Sunday was going to be crucial in deciding the ultimate outcome of the game.
However, all the momentum that the unbeaten 90-run stand Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane had put up on Saturday quickly evaporated when the latter was dismissed by Nathan Lyon off the very first over of the day.
Hanuma Vihari was looking good for India as he stitched together a 50-run stand in no time with the skipper but once he edged Josh Hazlewood to the slips, the wheels started coming off for India.
When Kohli departed in controversial fashion, India finally ran out of gas and even a handy 35-run cameo from Rishabh Pant was unable to prevent Australia from mustering a crucial 43-run lead in the first innings.
It was Lyon who was once again the pick of the Aussie bowlers with the off-spinner completing a five-wicket haul. His performance on a pitch clearly deteriorating rapidly makes India’s insistence to line up without a single spinner in the Test all the more baffling.
CONTROVERSY ENDS KOHLI’S BRILLIANT INNINGS
Despite the early fall of Rahane, Kohli was continuing to grow strong for India as he brought up a 25th Test ton and his sixth in Australia with a flowing straight-drive off the bowling of Mitchell Starc.
With Kohli still at the crease, a first-innings lead was always within reach of the tourists but then disaster struck as the Indian skipper’s innings was brought to a controversial end just before lunch.
The tussle between Pat Cummins and Kohli had been building up nicely throughout the Test and it was the Aussie pacer who had the last laugh as Peter Handscomb claimed a low catch at second slip.
Multiple replays of the catch proved to be inconclusive but with umpire Nigel Llong having made the soft signal as ‘out’, the third umpire was left with no choice but to send Kohli on his way.
It was a decision that could ultimately prove to be the turning point of the Test and the series as a whole and it ended all Indian hopes of taking a first-innings lead at Perth.
AUSSIE SUFFER FINCH BLOW BUT KHAWAJA AND CO EXTEND LEAD
Following from their fine display in the first innings, Australia’s openers Aaron Finch and Marcus Harris once again started brightly in the second go.
The two openers had to endure some uncomfortable moments early on with the ball shooting up wildly from the various cracks that had started to develop on the pitch.
Finch was at the receiving end of a couple of such blows and he ultimately had to retire hurt just before the stroke of tea.
Jasprit Bumrah made the Aussie batsman jump and hop with some sensational deliveries but the India pacer was unlucky to return with just the sole wicket of Harris from the day’s play.
Shaun Marsh, Handscomb and Travis Head fell cheaply in the final session but Usman Khawaja propelled Australia’s innings with an unbeaten 41.
The left-hander looked out of sorts in the first innings but showed much greater composure and authority in his second go. With Australia’s overall lead now swelling to 175, the hosts are in the driving seat heading into the fourth day’s play as the pitch continues to deteriorate at an alarming rate for India who will need to bat last.
Skipper Virat Kohli, however, continues to go strongly for the visitors and has notched up a 25th Test ton and a first of the series with a glorious drive off Mitchell Starc. Hanuma Vihari fell for 20 before Pat Cummins dismissed Kohli for a well-made 123.
Lyon completed a five-wicket haul as India were eventually bowled out for 283 in their first innings. In the second innings, Australia saw opener Aaron Finch retire hurt before his partner Marcus Harris was dismissed by Jasprit Bumrah. Post tea, the hosts lost Shaun Marsh and Peter Handscomb as they attempted to push their advantage.
Travis Head fell cheaply to Mohammed Shami but the hosts did well to reach 132-4 at stumps on day three with their overall second innings lead now 175.
Earlier on day two at Perth, Australia had been bowled out for 326 runs in their first innings before India reached 172-3 at stumps. India currently lead the four-match Test series 1-0 after their 31-run win in the Adelaide Oval.
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A decade since the infamous ‘monkeygate’ scandal, former Australia all-rounder Andrew Symonds has revealed that Harbhajan Singh broke down crying when the pair finally reconciled their differences in 2011.
The incident had occurred during the Sydney Test in India’s 2008 tour of Australia with Singh being accused of calling Symonds a ‘monkey’.
Speaking to Fox Sports on Sunday, Symonds revealed how the duo had made up during their time as team-mates with IPL franchise Mumbai Indians three years later.
“We go to a very wealthy man’s place for a barbecue, drinks and dinner one night and the whole team’s there and he had guests there, and Harbhajan said ‘mate, can I speak to you for a minute out in the garden out the front’,” Symonds recalled.
“He goes, ‘look, I’ve got to say sorry to you for what I did to you in Sydney. I apologise, I hope I didn’t cause you, your family, your friends too much harm and I really apologise for what I said, I shouldn’t have said it’.
“And he actually broke down crying, and I could just see that was a huge weight off his shoulders, he had to get rid of it. We shook hands and I gave him a hug and said: ‘Mate, it’s all good. It’s dealt with’,” Symonds continued.
Following the Sydney spat, Singh was charged with racial abuse and handed a suspension of three matches although he denied any wrongdoing on his behalf.
After the BCCI threatened to walk out of the tour, the ban was overturned. The incident, however, started a downward spiral for Symonds who felt let down by the system in place.
The all-rounder took to drinking heavily and alcohol-related indiscretions saw his Cricket Australia contract rescinded in 2009.
Revealing the emotional toll, Symonds said, “I suppose this would be the moment where my whole persona to cricket changed.”
“I didn’t realise how powerful one player, one incident, how much money was at stake and the ramifications.”