Steve Smith proved once why he is the world’s no. 1 Test batsman and the man with the highest ratings for Australia in the ICC Test rankings while Glenn Maxwell made good on the opportunity he was given in longest format of the game. At stumps on Day 1, Australia are 299/4 with Smith on 117 and Maxwell on 82. The two have put up 159 runs for the fifth wicket.
The day started well for the visitors as David Warner and Matt Renshaw put up a 50-run opening stand. Warner’s lean run in this series continued and he was dismissed by Ravindra Jadeja. Steve Smith then joined Renshaw in the middle but the latter was dismissed relatively quickly by Umesh Yadav. This was followed by the wicket of Shaun Marsh, who was intially given not out by the umpire. Virat Kohli went for the review and, as it turned out, this time he got it right.
Peter Handscomb was the man to come in next and he stuck around with Smith for a 51-run partnership. Glenn Maxwell came to the crease only after Handscomb became the second man to fall to Umesh Yadav. Maxwell’s aggressive style of batting has made him one of the most formidable T20 and ODI batsmen in the world but it has hurt him in his Test career. But at Ranchi, he showed surprising levels of maturity as he ably assisted Steve Smith. During that period, Smith got to his 18th Test century and also became the joint seventh fastest to get to 5000 Test runs. His century is also the second of this series and the sixth against India. Maxwell also got to his maiden Test half century. He did take more than 95 balls but he brought up the fifty in emphatic fashion, hitting a six over midwicket off Jadeja.
Here is how twitterati are reacting to the day’s action:
India will be hoping to bat as much as possible while the pitch plays like this. At the moment, wonderful batting track.
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) 16 March 2017
— Ryan Harris (@r_harris413) 16 March 2017
This partnership of 157 runs is the highest of the series by either team & the fourth highest by Australia in India since 01/01/00. #IndvAus
— Freddie Wilde (@fwildecricket) 16 March 2017
Steve ‘unstoppable’ Smith. What. A. Player. #IndvAus
— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) 16 March 2017
Two centuries in 3 Tests on bowler friendly pitches where no other batsman has reached three figures. Take a bow @stevesmith49
— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) 16 March 2017
Australia will be looking to continue in the same vein on Day 2 and put India on the backfoot.