3rd Test: Murali Vijay keeps India in fight after Australia’s dominance

first_imgMurali Vijay was unbeaten on 55 at stumps on day two. (AP Photo)Murali Vijay brought up his fourth half-century of the series as India reached 108 for 1 at stumps in reply to Australia’s daunting first-innings 530 after Steven Smith fell eight runs short of a double century on the second day of the third Test on Saturday.Smith snapped up the catch of Shikhar Dhawan at third slip off Ryan Harris (1 for 19) for the only wicket of the third session after the Australia captain earlier smashed an imperious 192 for his highest first class score, his third century of the series and seventh of his Test career.Vijay was 55 not out with Cheteshwar Pujara unbeaten on 25 at the end of play.The Indian batsmen made a watchful start to their chase, content to leave the ball rather than risk a wicket before stumps. However, Pujara got a lucky escape while on 12 when an edge carried to Brad Haddin, who fumbled the catch.Smith was earlier ably assisted by Brad Haddin (55) and fast bowler Harris (74), who brought up entertaining half-centuries to help the Australians add 271 runs to their overnight score.With India’s field ranged against the boundary, Smith was the last Australian out, bowled middle stump playing at an Umesh Yadav (3 for 130) ball to usher tea. Smith’s knock came off 305 balls with 15 boundaries and two sixes.Harris scored his third Test half-century in style with eight fours and a six before he was trapped lbw while attempting a big sweep off Ravichandran Ashwin (3 for 134).advertisementNathan Lyon added 11 and was bowled by Shami. Smith and Haddin turned an evenly poised match in Australia’s favour with an aggressive start to the morning, sharing a 110-run, sixth-wicket partnership until Haddin (55) offered a bottom edge to India wicketkeeper MS Dhoni off Mohammed Shami (4 for 138).Smith added another 50 runs with Mitchell Johnson, who scored 28 before being stumped off Ravichandran Ashwin (3 for 134) shortly before lunch.After resuming the day on 72 with Australia at 259 for 5, Smith brought up his century with a four down the leg side off Shami, raising his bat and helmet in celebration before an appreciative Melbourne Cricket Ground crowd. The Australia captain’s 100 came off 191 balls with nine boundaries and a six.Haddin proved an able partner at the other end, seeing off a barrage of short balls from the Indian pacemen to reach his half-century off 75 balls with seven boundaries and a six.Smith’s previous highest first-class score was 177 scored for New South Wales against Tasmania. He has now scored 1,132 Test runs this year, eclipsing Warner’s 1,096. Australia can clinch the four-Test series and reclaim the Border-Gavaskar trophy with a win or draw in Melbourne after a 48-run win in the first Test and a four-wicket victory last week in the second Test at Brisbane.last_img

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