India salvage a draw on a thrilling test match, series level at 1-1. This was an amazing game of cricket here at the SCG, Sydney. Up until the last hour of the match, all 4 results were possible. This is definitely a moral victory for India as Australia were well on course to win this match.
1st innings Australia 338-10 (105.4 overs). S Smith 131(226), M Labuschagne 91(196), R Jadeja 4/62, N Saini 2/65.
India 244-10 (100.4 overs). S Gill 50(101), C Pujara 50(176), P Cummins 4/29, J Hazlewood 2/43.
2nd innings Australia 312-6 dec (87 overs). C Green 84(132), S Smith 81(167), R Ashwin 2/95, N Saini 2/54.
India 334-5 (131 overs). R Pant 97(118), C Pujara 77(205), J Hazlewood 2/39, N Lyon 2/114.
Man of the Match- Steve Smith
After winning the toss, Australian captain Tim Paine decided to bat first on a very flat wicket. The wicket was good for batting throughout the match. Amidst all the non-cricketing chatter going around, the quality of cricket from both sides in this match was top notch.
On a rain-marred Day 1, Australia did well to be just 2 down at the end of the day. Debutant Will Pucovski scored a well compiled half century. The overnight not out batsmen Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne made a strong partnership and at one stage Australia were 206-2 and were well set for a very high first innings score. But then Ravindra Jadeja opened paths for the visitors, by dismissing Marnus.
Although Smith completed his century, none of the other batsmen were able to get going. Bumrah and Jadeja cleaned up the middle order and tail of Australia.
In India’s first innings, they had a very strong foundation because they had a opening stand of 70. Shubman Gill and Cheteshwar Pujara made half-centuries but other batsmen failed to convert their starts to big scores. Pat Cummins was the wrecker in chief for the hosts as he took 4 wickets.
Australia tried to score quickly in their second innings.
Once again Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne stitched an important partnership. Then Cameron Green also played a quickfire knock of 84. Australia then declared their innings and India were set a target of 407 and they had 4 sessions in hand.
India again started off brilliantly with the openers having another 71 run stand. But both of them were dismissed in quick succession and on the final day Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane were at the crease. Rahane was dismissed in only the second over of the day. Then Rishabh Pant, who was promoted up the order, played a defining innings of 97 runs in just 118 balls.
Pujara also played a handy knock of 77 runs .
But it was upto Hanuma Vihari and Ravichandran Ashwin to bat out the final session of the match. They were absolutely brilliant in this job, blocking everything coming their way. Ashwin even took some blows on his body. Vihari had pulled his hamstring so he was also not able to run between the wickets. Therefore, this draw is no less than a win for India, because of the circumstances it came in.
Steve Smith was man of the match for his twin good scores of 131 and 81. The series is level at 1-1 and we expect a cracking contest at the Gabba, Brisbane. This series has been very lively. Hope we get a good decider.
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