India vs Australia: Steve Smith leads from the front as Australia give India a mountain to climb

India vs Australia: Steve Smith leads from the front as Australia give India a mountain to climb

Australia have built a strong position for themselves and scored 451 runs in their first innings of the third Test against India at Ranchi.

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Steve Smith made the highest score by an Australian skipper on Indian soil. (Source: Reuters)

The Australian innings was one that was constructed and anchored by their captain Steve Smith. Coming at no. 3 after the now-routine early dismissal of David Warner, Smith batted through the innings. When Josh Hazlewood fell to a brilliant run out by Ravindra Jadeja on Day 2 signalling the end of the Australian sojourn at the crease, Smith was batting on 178, the highest by any Aussie skipper and the fifth highest by any captain on Indian soil.

He was ably assisted by Glenn Maxwell on Day 1. Making his first Test appearance for Australia since 2014, Maxwell made good on his opportunity by scoring his maiden century in the longest format of the game. He and Smith made a partnership of 191 runs. Maxwell couldn’t last long on Day 2 and was dismissed in the second over of the day bowled by Ravindra Jadeja.

Other than these two, Peter Handscomb, Matthew Wade and Steve o’Keefe stuck around with their skipper to make 50-plus partnerships for the fourth, sixth and eighth wickets respectively. Josh Hazlewood was the last man to go and Australia have thus accumulated a first innings total of 451 runs.

Michael Clarke had earlier made the highest score by an Australian captain on Indian soil when he had made 130 in the 2012-13 series. His fifth wicket stand with Glenn Maxwell is the fourth highest against India in India. On Day 1, Smith had reached a career milestone of 5000 Test runs. He is the seventh fastest batsman to get to the mark in the history of the game.