India had Australia in trouble at Lunch. By Tea the hosts still were in it. But by stumps, the momentum and balance in Ranchi had shifted entirely in Australia’s favour. On the opening day of the third Test in Ranchi, which is hosting its first Test, Australia were 299/4 when played drew to a close. At this juncture, Steve Smith stood unbeaten on 117 and had Glenn Maxwell for company on 82. For India, Umesh Yadav had been the pick of the bowlers with two wickets to his name.
Smith once again made the most of the good batting surface on offer to score his sixth Test century against India in seven Tests and his 19th overall. The skipper spearheaded the visitor’s charge and brought about his 5000th Test run in just 97 innings. Smith scored his second century of the series after repeating his heroics in the opening Test on a much poorer wicket. Barring an inside edge between his legs early on to Umesh, Smith barely gave anything India’s way.
Elsewhere, Maxwell got a chance to step in with injury to Mitchell Marsh and made the most of it. Playing his first inning since 2014, Maxwell rode on his luck a couple of times early on and then was beaten on numerous occasions but showed tremendous grit and determination to slog it out and stay not out when the bails were drawn.
If things weren’t going badly enough for the hosts with the ball, they had other concerns too with skipper Virat Kohli stepping off the field of play in the second session after landing awkwardly on his right shoulder. He wouldn’t come off the dressing room until stumps.
There was little support for the spin of Ashwin and Jadeja with batsmen expected to make merry. And that is how it worked. Pace attack of Umesh and Ishant found support in patches, with the former getting the ball to move around and maintain good length and variety. But the wicket is understandably suitable for the batsmen early on before the cracks deepen to create trouble. Kohli rued that luck didn’t go his way with the toss.
And Australia cruised early on with David Warner and Matt Renshaw scoring boundaries with ease and had support from the quick outfield. They were off to 50/0 in under 10 overs before Warner’s poor run continued. Instead of smacking a low full toss by Jadeja to any part of the ground, he could only slash it back and the left-arm off spinner held on to a quick catch.
Umesh struck thereafter to eke out an edge from Renshaw and Kohli held on to a comfortable take at first slip. Two overs later, Shaun Marsh was caught bat-pad by Ashwin and a review finally went India’s way. This is how it remained at lunch.
In the next session, Peter Handscomb and Smith put together 51 before the previous was caught leg before thanks to a gorgeous yorker by Umesh that pinged him late.
In terms of team personnel, India had brought Murali Vijay back in place of Abhinav Mukund while Australia have Pat Cummins and Maxwell in the team in place of the injured M Marsh and Mitchell Starc.