India vs Australia | Talking points from second Day of the third Test

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BCCI

India vs Australia | Talking points from second Day of the third Test

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SportsCafe Desk

03/17/2017

Riding on a defiant 67-run innings by KL Rahul, India ended the Day 2 with 120/1 on the board, chasing the 451 that the Australia posted in the Ranchi Test. Ravindra Jadeja was the star of the show for India as he claimed five wickets stopping the visitors from going past the 500-run mark.

Brief scores: Australia 451/10 (Steve Smith 178*, Glenn Maxwell 104; Ravindra Jadeja 5/124) lead India 120/1 (KL Rahul 67, Murali Vijay 42, Pat Cummins 1/22) by 331 runs.

Pitch shows signs of turn:-

The pitches in the ongoing series have been the center of attention ever since the first match got underway in Pune, where an unknown entity in the form of Steve O’Keefe grabbed 12 wickets to end India’s unbeaten home run of 19 Tests. The Bangalore wicket was similar to the Pune one as spinners from both teams ruled the roost yet again. However, the result was the exact opposite thanks to some phenomenal bowling performance by Ravi Ashwin, who led the charge as India leveled the series.

Going by the trends, no one quite knew what to expect from the Ranchi pitch as this is the first international Test being played on this track. However, one thing was certain that there would be assistance for the spinners. And true to that expectation, the pitch at the JSCA has begun to turn with the Indian spinners getting sharp turns on the second day of action. While this was always going to be the case, the invariable bounce on offer can the make the life worse for the batsmen. As the match goes into the final days, batting on such a wicket is not at all going to be easy, and maybe from tomorrow, batsmen might have a Pune like situation at their hands. Having said that, the batsmen still hold the aces in the match and patience is going to be paramount over the next three days.

Glenn Maxwell and the virtue of patience:-

On the very first ball of Day 2, Maxwell's willow broke down into two pieces when he tried to block an Umesh Yadav delivery. While that incident was funny, Maxwell made a strong statement by scoring a well-deserved century. What was even more, sweeter, though, was that he scored these runs, after making a comeback to the Test team, after a gap of almost two and half years.

Before the Test, there had been a lot of scrutiny over Maxwell’s selection ahead of his Victorian teammate Marcus Stoinis for the ongoing Test, but the otherwise swashbuckling Maxwell justified his selection by playing an uncharacteristically patient innings. Although Maxwell is known for his hard-hitting game, the right-hander showed a tremendous amount of concentration and application to adapt to conditions that have always proven challenging for overseas batsmen. Not only did Maxwell play his part in leading Australia to a position of strength, he also provided the much-needed supported for Steve Smith in the middle. Maxwell’s performance proves that he does possess the necessary temperament for Test cricket and is more than just a one-dimensional batsman.

KL Rahul continues his good form:-

Indian opener KL Rahul has been one of the most consistent performers for India in the series so far. Regardless of the difficult conditions and the volatile nature of the pitches, Rahul has found a way to keep scoring runs for the team.

Today, once again, Rahul has managed to play a defiant knock, scoring a brilliant 67 to nullify Australia’s attempts to make early inroads into the Indian batting lineup. The most impressive aspect of Rahul’s innings has been the fact that he is willing to play the waiting game and not just throw away his wicket fishing for runs.

Before falling to a Pat Cummins bouncer, Rahul patiently left all the good deliveries outside the off-stump, while punishing the bad ones. But perhaps the most important thing that Rahul accomplished in his 102-ball stay is the fact that he steadied himself and got his eye in.

There’s only one ‘King Kohli’:-

Virat Kohli’s shoulder injury in the 40th over of Day 1 meant that the Indian skipper did not take the field for the remainder of the Australian innings. And even though Ajinkya Rahane stepped up to lead the Indian side in the absence of Kohli, he did not have the same composure as his more esteemed teammate.

While there is no denying the fact that, India missed Kohli’s energy and enthusiasm on the field, Kohli’s absence showed just how much he means to the Indian side, not just as a batsman, but as a leader. Kohli isn’t just the best batsman in the Indian side at the moment, he is the one the team turns to when they seek inspiration. And given how indispensable Kohli is to this Indian side, Indian fans will be praying that their skipper makes a quick return to the side if India is to take anything away from the game. Clearly, there’s nobody like ‘King Kohli’.

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