Captain Steven Smith took a sharp catch to snare India’s first wicket after scoring a big century to fire Australia to a mammoth first innings total of 530 on day two of the third Test in Melbourne on Saturday. (Full Coverage: India tour of Australia)
AS IT HAPPENED…
Standing in for the injured Michael Clarke, Smith scored a personal best 192 to anchor a stunning tail-end assault on India’s bowlers, who leaked 314 runs for the final five wickets at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Also Read: No double ton, no problem for Smith
Returning to the field after tea, the 25-year-old ended a 55-run opening partnership by diving low at second slip to catch an edge from Shikhar Dhawan (28) off the bowling of Ryan Harris.
Opener Murali Vijay (55 not out) and number three batsman Cheteshwar Pujara (25 not out) pushed India to 108-1 at stumps, still 422 runs adrift of the hosts’ total.
Also Read: Warner injured, fails to take field
The tourists were lucky not to be two wickets down, however, with wicketkeeper Brad Haddin spilling an edge from Pujara when the batsman was on 12.
Vijay’s unbeaten half-century, his fourth knock over 50 in the series, will give India some hope of reeling in the total on the benign drop-in wicket.
But Smith’s third century from three Tests has all but sealed the four-match series for Australia, who lead 2-0.
Photos: Skipper Steve, You Beauty!
Smith smashed 15 boundaries and two sixes to all corners of the sun-bathed ground, before falling short of a maiden double-century when attempting an audacious ramp shot off paceman Umesh Yadav.
Smith’s wicket brought the innings to a close and he walked off at tea to a standing ovation from the crowd of over 51,000.
Smith and Haddin had resumed in the morning with Australia still vulnerable on 259-5 but plundered 67 runs before the wicketkeeper dismissed himself with a botched leave that bottom-edged through to India captain and wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Mitchell Johnson struck a quickfire 28 before he was stumped attempting to slog Ravichandran Ashwin down the ground, before bulky paceman Ryan Harris joined in the run feast, belting a personal best of 74 and raising raucous cheers from the terraces after registering his third Test half-century.
He slogged a big six to reach 74 and was out next ball, trapped lbw by Ashwin, but by then Australia were 482-8 and in complete command.
Mohammed Shami bowled Nathan Lyon for 11, before Yadav wrapped up the innings with Smith’s wicket.