Ranchi: Captain Steven Smith once again scripted Australia’s onslaught against India to lift his team from a pressure situation to dominate the third of the four-Test series at JSCA International Stadium Complex here on Thursday.
At Stumps on Day 1, Australia looked at the driving seat with 299/4 on the scoreboard with Smith (117 off 244, 13 fours) and Glenn Maxwell (82 off 147, 5 fours, 2 sixes) batting at the crease.
Winning the toss, Australia decided to bat first and got off to a breezy start with openers Matt Renshaw (44 off 69) and David Warner (19 off 26) putting up 50 runs for the first wicket, before the latter departed.
Indian bowlers managed to send back two more Aussie batsmen (Renshaw and Shaun Marsh) back to pavilion in quick successions to put the visitors on back foot. Shaun Marsh could only add 2 runs off 8 balls, leaving team under pressure at 89/3.
Peter Handscomb started off nicely but failed to utilize the opportunity and got out after scoring 19 runs off 47 balls.
Smith, along with Maxwell, took the charge and kept the Indian bowlers under check by scoring singles and doubles. They waited for loose deliveries to score boundaries and remained unbeaten at the end of day’s play. They have added 159 runs for the fifth wicket, which is the highest ever for Australia in India for the fifth wicket. During the course, Smith completed his 19th ton, while Maxwell scored his maiden Test half-century.
Umesh Yadav was the pick of the bowlers as he bagged two wickets, while Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja plucked one each. Ishant Sharma remained wicket-less on first day of the match.