India bowled Australia out quickly to take a first innings lead on the third morning of the first Test in Adelaide, after which their batters put in a solid performance as they started building a potentially imposing fourth innings target for their hosts to chase.
Mitchell Starc was the first man out in the morning session after Australia had pushed past 200, and Travis Head added just 11 runs to his overnight score before he was the ninth wicket to fall with his score on 72 off 167 balls (6×4). Josh Hazlewood fell for a golden duck off the next ball, caught behind by Rishabh Pant off Mohammed Shami to bring the innings to a close.
It was Pant’s sixth catch of the innings, and in completing it he became only the 24th wicketkeeper to make it six or more dismissals in a Test match innings.
Australia’s first innings score of 235 off 98.4 overs left them 15 runs behind India as the wickets were shared between Jasprit Bumrah (3-47), Ravi Ashwin (3-57), Ishant Sharma (2-47) and Mohammed Shami (2-58).
India got their second innings off to a good start, with KL Rahul (44 off 67, 3×4, 1×6) and Murali Vijay (18 off 53) adding 63 for the first wicket, with Rahul falling 13 runs later to leave India on 76-2.
First innings centurion Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli added 71 off 197 balls for the third wicket before Kohli was caught at short leg off the bowling of Nathan Lyon for a well-played 34 off 104 (3×4). The key wicket of Kohli was secured just a few overs before the close, but his efforts had helped India to start building a target that will surely challenge Australia in the final innings of the Test.
Pujara ended the day on 40 off 127 balls (4×4) as he once again set his stall to keep India in the game at all costs. At the close with him was Ajinkya Rahane on one run off 15 balls.
Starc (1-18), Hazlewood (1-25) and Lyon (1-48) were the only Aussie bowlers to taste second-innings success as India ended day three on 151-3 off 61 overs. Unless Australia can make quick headway into the India batters tomorrow, they will face a stern test chasing what could be a target of upwards of 300 in the final dig.
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