Pujara, Pant put Australia to the sword in Sydney

Elena Summers
January 5, 2019

Australia end day three on 236/6 and trail India by 386 runs.

The partnership between the two had accumulated 204 runs in the meantime with Rishabh Pant unbeaten on 159 runs.

But for some unusual reasons, the Australian captain deployed defensive tactics and thereby played into the hands of the Indian batsmen.

Australia got an early breakthrough with Josh Hazlewood tempting Rahul into a defensive shot that took an outside edge and carried to Shaun Marsh at first slip, and he was gone for nine.

The chinaman returned after the break and picked up the wicket of Tim Paine in the first over of the final session as the Australia captain played all around a flighted delivery on off-stump.

In a surprise throw of the dice, leg-spinning all-rounder Marnus Labuschagne was called up and will come in at three. The Indian domination was complete at Sydney when the Aussie bowlers were made to toil for two days bowling 167 overs for just seven wickets.

Pujara came up seven runs short of his fourth double century but there can be little doubt that his nine-hour, 373-ball knock will nearly certainly deliver India's first test series victory in Australia. "Mitch gives us another all-round option with his ability with both bat and ball". Let's not forget the incredible contribution from Che Pujara who unfortunately was dismissed for 193. The only way Australia could have come back into the match at the start of the second day was by setting the attacking field and by terminating the Indian first innings to a premature closure. The 21-year-old left-handed batsman broke a slew of records too, during his stay at the crease.

When Australia bat, they will have a new look opening pair with Usman Khawaja padding up with Marcus Harris after the underperforming Aaron Finch was axed.

The home team was trailing by 598 runs at Stumps on Day 2, and will have their task cut out for Day 3.

The other two matches of the three-ODI series will be played in Adelaide (on January 15) and Melbourne (January 18). It will be exciting to see if there is any dramatic change of events in the Test match.

India need only to avoid defeat at the SCG to secure their maiden Test series triumph in Australia.

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