PICS: Australia vs India, 3rd Test, Day 3

Images from Day 3 of the third Test between Australia and India, at the SCG, on Saturday.

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An ultra-defensive approach by their senior batsmen put India in a spot of bother before Rishabh Pant’s impressive stroke-play lifted them to 180 for four against Australia at lunch on the third day of third Test, at the  Sydney Cricket Ground, on Saturday.

Cheteshwar Pujara found it difficult to keep the scoreboard ticking during an extended first session as he crawled to 42 off 144 balls.

Skipper Ajinkya Rahane managed 22 off 70 balls before playing an off-cutter from Pat Cummins on, while Hanuma Vihari (4, 38 balls), who has been in terrible form, was needlessly run-out going for a quick but non-existent single.

It was Pant (29 batting, 45 balls), who showed some intent as he tried to release the pressure created by Pujara’s negative approach.

A total of 84 runs from 34 overs during the session, with lack of intent especially from Pujara, did not help India’s cause. Rahane’s dismissal was purely due to the scoreboard pressure.

India’s captain failed to get a move-on initially on a slow track, where bounce became variable as the session progressed.

He did hit a cover drive and then tried to take on Nathan Lyon by lofting him for a six over long-on.

However, Cummins bowled one which had extra bounce in his off-cutter; Rahane was cramped for room and played on. The duo added 32 runs in 22.3 overs and it did not help the team in any way.

Had KL Rahul been fit, there could have been a case of Vihari getting dropped as he hardly looked in control during his 30 minutes’ stay at the crease.

Pujara, at the other end, was bowled to an off-side field and he was unable to find ways of scoring. Even the drive through covers or the one wide off mid-on could not fetch him boundaries. He did not have a single boundary off the first 100 balls.

The only notable shot he hit during the session was a backfoot punch through cover off Lyon, which got him a boundary.

It took an aggressive approach by Pant to give the Indian total some muscle going into the break.

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