Smith heads Australia fightback in 3rd test
RANCHI: Under-fire skipper Steve Smith hit a gutsy unbeaten half century as Australia rallied against a persistent Indian bowling attack on the opening day of the third Test in Ranchi Thursday.
The visitors were 194 for four at tea after electing to bat first in their 800th Test. Smith seeking his second century of the series has so far made 80 and Glenn Maxwell was unbeaten on 19 at India’s newest Test venue.
Smith, accused by India of systematically abusing the decision review system (DRS) in the last Test, put on 51 runs for the fourth wicket with Peter Handscomb (19) after Australia lost three wickets in the morning.
While Smith registered his 21st Test fifty with a single off fast bowler Umesh Yadav, Handscomb was trapped lbw off the very next delivery that reverse swung to hit his foot.
Smith, who struck nine boundaries during an otherwise sedate knock, then hunkered down with Maxwell as the duo put on an unbeaten 54-run stand.
Meanwhile India skipper Virat Kohli injured his right shoulder while fielding and went off the field in the 40th over, leaving Ajinkya Rahane to lead the side.
Earlier opening batsman Matt Renshaw (44) gave the visitors a brisk start before undoing his hard work by edging a wide Yadav delivery, with Kohli taking the catch at first slip.
Renshaw and David Warner had put on 50 runs for the opening wicket before left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja struck in his first over to get Warner (19) trudging back to the pavilion.
The four-match series is tantalisingly poised at 1-1 with India needing at least a draw to have any chance of winning back the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.