Here’s a look at the major talking points from the third day’s play of the second Test between India and Australia in Bangalore
It only took Ravindra Jadeja five overs on day three to wrap up Australia’s first innings and he went on to finish with six for 63 to restrict the visitors’ lead to 87 and bring India back in to the game. Even though he polished off the tail, the performance begs the question on why he was so under used on day two. While Ravichandran Ashwin sent down c49 overs in Australia’s first innings, Jadeja was bowled for only 21.4 overs. Shaun Marsh and Matthew Wade, who were instrumental in handing their team the crucial lead, played only 22 and 12 deliveries, respectively from Jadeja in comparison to 56 and 25, respectively, from Ashwin. This is not to say Ashwin bowled badly, in fact, he was best of the Indian lot and his figures of two for 84 at the end of the innings don’t indicate the way he bowled. But maybe, Virat Kohli’s over reliance on Ashwin might not have been a good thing for once.In his second essay, KL Rahul looked better prepared to counter the Bangalore track and the Australian bowlers and with a watchful 51 he led India’s charge. He combined with Pujara for a 45-run stand for the second wicket to steady India. He departed owing to a marvellous catch at first slip by Steve Smith. But Pujara looked set and India could have very well build on it but Josh Hazlewood had other plans in mind. A probing spell from the fast bowler led to the downfall of Abhinav Mukund, Kohli and Jadeja. He got the ball to jag back in and one such delivery, that also kept low, had Kohli trapped in front. Kohli departed for 15 and three overs later, Hazlewood knocked over Jadeja for 2. At tea, India were 122 for four with a lead of 35.Kohli was given out leg before wicket by the on-field umpire Nigel Llong and at first look, it seems the Indian skipper has nicked the ball before it crashed on to the front pad. Hazelwood, the bowler and his team-mates looked pretty convinced and so did Kohli who looked quite confident when signalling for the DRS. But, as it turned out it was much more complicated. The ball was pitched outside off and hit Kohli in front but it was unclear whether the ball thudded onto the pads before or after taking an edge from the bat. From one angle it looked as if both the events had occurred simultaneously. However, the Hawkeye projection showed the ball would have gone on to hit the stumps. With no clear evidence suggesting whether or not there was a nick involved before the impact, the third umpire told Llong to stick with his decision. Kohli, expectedly, wasn’t impressed and his body language while walking back to the dressing room cleared what he thought of the decision.
India were effectively 35 for four going in to the final session and for them to have any glimmer of hope in the Test match, they needed to win the battle of attrition and who better than Rahane and Pujara to consume time and frustrate Australia? The intensity of the bowlers was right up there in the first two sessions but it waned in the final and both Indian batsmen took advantage of that. Nathan Lyon continued to find turn and bounce from a good length area but this time around Rahane and Pujara were better prepared and luck also went their way. Lot of balls that turned sharply and bounce in excess could very well have been bat-padded to the close in fielders, but that did not happen. A lot of deliveries from pacers Starc, Hazlewood and Mitchell Marsh kept dangerously low but both Rahane and Pujara managed an edge. As the session progressed both looked confident and trusted the pitch better and runs came. Pujara racked up his 14th Test fifty off 125 deliveries with a flick towards square leg. A lead of over 200 would be set up the contest beautifully and with six wickets in hand India could have a good shot at winning this one with two more days to go on the crumbling Bangalore track. They rescued the hosts with a valiant 93-run unbeaten stand for the fifth wicket – the best partnership in the series for either team – helping India (213/4) to a lead of 126 runs on day three.