India started the day with hope to secure an upper-hand against Australia in the Sydney Test. However, the side ended up conceding a 94-run advantage after a middle-order collapse, and lost two of its key players to potential injuries for the entirety of Australia’s batting in the final session of the day’s play.
Rishabh Pant (elbow) and Ravindra Jadeja (thumb) took body blows while batting and both are undergoing scans for a potentially serious injury. The duo didn’t take the field when Australia came out to bat in the second innings, meaning that India are now a bowler short, and playing a substitute-keeper in Wriddhiman Saha behind the wickets.
An uneven bounce on the surface remained a persistent issue for the Indian batsmen throughout the day. Skipper Ajinkya Rahane (22) was caught in an awkward position as he failed to adjust to the lower bounce off Pat Cummins‘ short-pitched delivery, as the ball deflected off from the bat to stumps.
Cheteshwar Pujara scored his first half-century of the series but remained at the centre of criticism for being too slow. He faced 176 deliveries for his 50, while Hanuma Vihari (4) failed to make the most of the opportunity, succumbing to a direct-hit from Josh Hazlewood.
Pant, who looked good during his 36 off 67 balls, was hit while trying to pull a short ball from Cummins.
He was in pain immediately and after on-field treatment that included strapping a bandage, he was back in action but lost the flow due to hindered movement as Josh Hazlewood had him caught behind.
If that was not enough, the Australian fast bowlers inflicted further pain on the Indians as Jadeja suffered a nasty blow to his left thumb. He is unlikely to bowl in the Australian second innings after being taken for scans to ascertain the damage to his bowling hand.
Jadeja’s 28-run knock allowed India to limit Australia’s first-innings lead to less than 100 but towards the end, a short ball from Mitchell Starc hit him on the gloves and he needed immediate medical attention.
For Australia, Pat Cummins registered the best figures (4/29), while Hazlewood (2/43) and Mitchell Starc (1/61) complemented the world no.1 Test bowler.
Australia faced early setbacks in the second innings with wickets of Will Pucovksi (10) and David Warner (13), but the duo of Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith did well to neutralize the early blows and end Day 3 on a strong note for the hosts.
While Labuschagne remains three runs shy of his half-century, Smith is unbeaten on 29 off 63 deliveries.
Australia (1st innings): 338 all out (Smith 131, Jadeja 2/6)
India (1st innings): 244 all out (Gill 50, Pujara 50, Cummins 4/29)
Australia (2nd innings): 103/2 (Labuschagne 47*, Smith 29*) – Lead by 197 runs.