After ending two days in England’s shadow, Day 3 well and truly belonged to Australia thanks to a brilliant unbeaten 141 by Steve Smith who was well assisted by Pat Cummins (42). After taking a slender lead, Australia managed to restrict England to 33/2 by the end of the day’s play in Brisbane.
The innings of the year
This year has been a great advertisement for Australian Test cricket so far. Be it the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, where they started off as the underdogs, or the Bangladesh series, where they showed great resilience after losing the first Test, it has been quite a ride. With
With Bancroft and Khawaja falling cheaply, Smith came in with the team struggling at 30/2. It wasn’t too long before Warner and Handscomb were back in the dressing room as well with a collapse looking ominous. However, Smith, who had scored 19 off 47 balls at that time, looked like a man on a mission. England never stood a chance. Along with Marsh, who played past a nervy start, Smith built a 99-run partnership to stabilize the collapse. After a mini-recovery from England, who picked up 3/34, Smith again went into his shell and saw off the new ball, protecting Pat Cummins from the English pacers. Once the ball had lost its shine, he began rotating the strike and built yet another important partnership. Eventually, he just ran out of partners in his innings, 141 off 326 balls, because there was no way England could send him back any other way
Australia’s tail wagging again
After surrendering the Border-Gavaskar Trophy to India, and drawing against Bangladesh a lot of questions were being asked of the Australian lower order. Traditionally, the Aussies had been able to add some valuable runs at the fag end of their innings which would pull them out of precarious situations. However, the best they could manage in 2017 was just 51 scored by Steve O’Keefe and Steve Smith on a docile Ranchi pitch.
However, a true mark of a great team is the way they react to adversity. After losing three quick wickets in the morning session of the third day, Pat Cummins came to Australia’s rescue. With Australia still, almost a hundred runs behind the English,
Such was the poise with which Cummins played, England
That’s the Gabba we know
During the match, Ricky Ponting had explained that showers in Brisbane had been the main reason for the way the pitch was reacting. He also promised that the pitch would show its true nature a couple of days into the match and that is what happened today. As Starc and Hazelwood ran in and hit the deck hard, the bounce was back and with it was the confidence of the pacers. The fabled, and fearsome, short pitch bowling of the Aussies looked as menacing as one from the bygone era. England would have been pleased to see the umpire flip the bails to signal the end of the Day’s play. But one thing that fans can be sure of, tomorrow will be the best day of the series so far.
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