Category Archive: India Cricket

India Cricket News

Mar 22

Virat Kohli falls down ICC batting rankings with Steve Smith still top

  • Kohli no longer top-ranked Indian as Cheteshwar Pujara passes him
  • Australia captain Smith remains world’s best batsman according to ICC

Captain Virat Kohli is no longer the most important wicket in India’s Test side, at least according to the International Cricket Council’s rankings.

Kohli has slipped below team-mate Cheteshwar Pujara in the latest table released by the ICC. Australia skipper Steve Smith remains the top-ranked batsman in the world with 941 rating points out of a possible 1000.

Related: Handscomb and Marsh guide Australia to draw and keep India series alive

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Mar 20

Handscomb and Marsh guide Australia to draw and keep India series alive

  • Australia 451 & 204-6; India 603-9 dec | Australia secure draw in Ranchi
  • Peter Handscomb and Shaun Marsh’s half-centuries save the game

Defying lowly expectations derived from modern history in this part of the world, Australian batsmen Shaun Marsh and Peter Handscomb skilfully navigated their side to the safety of a crucial draw with India on the final day at Ranchi, maintaining the series ledger at one apiece.

The reward for Steve Smith’s gallant tourists is a blockbuster, winner-takes-all series decider in Dharamshala from Saturday. Common wisdom is that Tests in India speed up at their conclusion, and that if you find yourself batting on the final day, well, best of luck. When Australia lost two late wickets on the penultimate evening – including opener David Warner – the final script threatened to read that way.

Related: Australia keep Border-Gavaskar series alive in Ranchi – as it happened

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Mar 20

Australia keep Border-Gavaskar series alive in Ranchi – as it happened

  • Australia (240-6) bat out entire final day to secure third Test draw
  • Peter Handscomb and Shaun Marsh keep Border-Gavaskar series alive

11.27am GMT

And one final thing: here’s the match report from Adam Collins in Ranchi.

Related: Handscomb and Marsh guide Australia to draw and keep India series alive

11.07am GMT

It all started for Australia on day one with Matthew Renshaw and David Warner. Another 50 partnership. Then Steve Smith, batting forever and ever. Then Glenn Maxwell, the good news story, grinding out an atypical ton and reaching that milestone for the first time in Tests. The second Australian to do it in all three international formats. Smith’s 19th ton, 361 balls, unbeaten.

Then India. Runs from everywhere, bar their captain. Doing it without him, unworried. Grinding Australia into the dirt. Rahul and Vijay opening with fifties, then Pujara’s long-haul double hundred, and Saha’s down-the-order century addition. O’Keefe bowled 77 goddamn overs in the one innings. Maxwell bowled four. You do the maths.

10.58am GMT

What a performance from Australia. No touring side has batted out a fifth day draw in India since 2010/11, I’m reliably informed, but this sometimes fragile batting team has done it here. At four wickets down before lunch, with Smith and Renshaw done within four balls of one another, surely that must have been game over? But no. The erratic Shaun Marsh and the new boy Peter Handscomb batted through 62.1 overs to run down the clock, soak up the balls, and push Australia into the lead. Not a big one, but enough that India wouldn’t be able to chase it down. And even when Marsh fell, and Maxwell went quickly, there was not enough time left for India to force the result.

10.57am GMT

100th over: Australia 204-6 (Handscomb 72, Wade 9)

Wide by Jadeja, and Handscomb punches another four. Takes his score into the 70s. They face out the over, then finally Kohli signals for the draw. The batsmen accept, and Australia have escaped.

10.54am GMT

99th over: Australia 200-6 (Handscomb 68, Wade 9)

Smith lurks on the balcony. I don’t know why. Kohli is concentrating on the field. Ashwin is bowling. Wade is driving him through cover for four. The 200 is up. Starting to grasp the significance of this Australian performance, from where it began before lunch on this final day.

10.51am GMT

98th over: Australia 196-6 (Handscomb 68, Wade 5)

Handscomb is remaining oh-so-sensible and mature in the circumstances. No silly shots. Just another defensive over. Another Jadeja maiden. Apparently if Australia declared now India would need 44 from 2 overs. Or something.

10.46am GMT

97th over: Australia 196-6 (Handscomb 68, Wade 5)

Kohli has given up. I speculate. Watching him out there, his shoulders have finally slumped. Ashwin bowls on the pads and Wade punches four through midwicket. The lead is 44. Meaning that even if India ran through four more wickets in an over, they’d only have a couple of overs left to chase those runs.

10.44am GMT

96th over: Australia 192-6 (Handscomb 68, Wade 1)

Jadeja working away. Two singles, no real danger. “Let’s hope some of the England players are watching Handscomb and Marsh bat, eh?” emails Kevin Wilson. That seems like a turning of the tables, looking to Australians for tips on batting out a draw.

10.41am GMT

95th over: Australia 190-6 (Handscomb 67, Wade 0)

Wade in to weigh in. Defends two. Wicket maiden for Ashwin. His first from 28 overs.

10.39am GMT

Not that comfortable, ok then. Ashwin fires one in, Maxwell si trying to defend but goes with hard hands, gets an inside edge into his pad, it skips up to Vijay in close on the off side. Australia 38 in front with seven overs to play.

10.37am GMT

94th over: Australia 190-5 (Handscomb 67, Maxwell 2)

Jadeja. Handscomb edges into his pad. Then puches a single. Maxwell works another, he’s comfortable enough so far.

10.33am GMT

93rd over: Australia 188-5 (Handscomb 66, Maxwell 1)

Another appeal as Ashwin bowls, but Maxwell has been hit outside the line. Sees out the over competently enough, using his feet. He’s in the baggy green now, classic stuff.

10.30am GMT

92nd over: Australia 188-5 (Handscomb 66, Maxwell 1)

Maxwellball. It’s that time. An appeal against Maxwell first ball as the contact may have been pad first. India’s players think about it but don’t review. Tension. He flicks a single to end the over.

10.28am GMT

Finally, India break a 124-run partnership that has saved a match for Australia. Floated down, Marsh plays yet another forward defence, edges to short leg and Vijay snaps it up. Australia 35 ahead with five in hand and 10 overs after this.

10.26am GMT

91st over: Australia 187-4 (Marsh 53, Handscomb 66)

That’s more like it! Spanked through square leg by Handscomb, as Sharma drops short and the in-touch batsman gets every bit of it, airborne but safe. Clunked.

10.21am GMT

90th over: Australia 183-4 (Marsh 53, Handscomb 62)

Another quick over from Jadeja, just the single from a Handscomb straight drive. That’s not going to get you to a hundred, feller.

10.16am GMT

89th over: Australia 182-4 (Marsh 53, Handscomb 61)

Finally, some pace. With an eight-over-old ball. Ishant Sharma hasn’t bowled for so long that he trips over his front leg and commando-rolls down the pitch in his follow-through. The Australians know this style of bowling better though. A Marsh glide to third man, a Handscomb flick to turn a dangerous full ball on the pads into a single to fine leg. With 13 overs left, should Handscomb hit out and go for a ton? Australia only 30 ahead. Risk-reward.

10.11am GMT

88th over: Australia 180-4 (Marsh 52, Handscomb 60)

Jadeja keeps wheeling away. Left-arm round the wicket to the right-handed Handscomb. Defending, then driving hard through cover. but there’s a man back there, no run. Nearly nicks the final ball as it spins away. But this isn’t India’s day. It ends up as another maiden. I’ll revise my 11 overs, this is actually the first of the last 15 overs required in the last hour. Should Australia declare and set India 60 from four overs? It would be pointless but fun. Like most limited-overs cricket.

10.07am GMT

87th over: Australia 180-4 (Marsh 52, Handscomb 60)

That warms the heart. Shaun Marsh gets a round of applause from Virat Kohli. Gets an equally unexpected round from various members of the Australian public. He’s done a job this series, first in Bengaluru and again here. Another long and determined innings. Raises the fifty with a straight drive after skipping down at Ashwin, finally choosing his preferred ball after seeing so many of them. 11 overs left at drinks, the last hour called by Gaffer Gaffaney, and Australia 28 runs to the good.

10.02am GMT

86th over: Australia 175-4 (Marsh 48, Handscomb 59)

Jadeja, another maiden. Gets one to bounce and rip and beat the outside edge of Marsh’s bat. But that’s it. For the last two sessions India’s bowlers have been all threat, no execution. Which is how you want your relationship with the Mafia to be.

9.59am GMT

85th over: Australia 174-4 (Marsh 48, Handscomb 58)

Another one-run over from Ashwin. 13 remaining. No sign of India’s quicks.

9.58am GMT

84th over: Australia 173-4 (Marsh 48, Handscomb 57)

“Gidday Geoff,” writes Roman from Thailand. “Following your posts on the Guardian website. Sounds like gripping & thrilling Test match cricket from two of cricket’s most combative & proud cricketing nations. Great to see! Should be an enthralling end to this Test.”

9.53am GMT

83rd over: Australia 172-4 (Marsh 48, Handscomb 56)

Ashwin round the wicket, bowling flat and full at the left-handed Marsh. Gets through him, strikes him on the pad. India go for another wasted review. They love this stuff. Clearly that was going down leg. Gould the umpire again. Somehow, HawkEye is claiming that was clipping leg stump, when it looked like it would go six inches wide. But clipping is not enough to overturn the umpire’s correct call. Another maiden, but that’s just fine for Australia. Their lead is only 20, but they have only 15 overs to survive.

9.50am GMT

82nd over: Australia 172-4 (Marsh 48, Handscomb 56)

Marsh drives a single first ball, Jadeja into the covers. Handscomb isn’t exactly defending the rest, he nails one on the off side and one on the leg, but straight to the field.

9.47am GMT

81st over: Australia 171-4 (Marsh 47, Handscomb 56)

Except it won’t be India’s quicks with the new ball. It will be Ashwin at first. Inside edge from Marsh immediately. A couple of defensive strokes. Drives a quick single wide of mid on. Handscomb is struck from the last ball, almost in the stomach as he lunged forward in a crouching defensive position. Umpire Gould isn’t interested. Handscomb eschews the helmet at the end of the over for the baggy cap.

9.43am GMT

80th over: Australia 170-4 (Marsh 46, Handscomb 56)

Jadeja bowls the 80th. A maiden to Handscomb. A new ball will be available now, if India’s quicks want to use it. That might just help the Australians score more quickly though. The lead is up to 18. More importantly perhaps, the 80th over sees India get their reviews back. Get ready to burn, baby, burn.

9.40am GMT

79th over: Australia 170-4 (Marsh 46, Handscomb 56)

Ashwin. Marsh. Maiden.

9.40am GMT

78th over: Australia 170-4 (Marsh 46, Handscomb 56)

Handscomb finally living up to his billing as a good player of spin. He’s looked very comfortable out here today, and never more so than against a rare short ball from Jadeja. Crash. Cut shot. Four.

9.36am GMT

77th over: Australia 166-4 (Marsh 46, Handscomb 52)

Outlive. Outlast. Outmarsh. That is the Marsh motto, and he soaks up a Ravi Ashwin over like a washcloth on a kitchen spill.

9.34am GMT

76th over: Australia 166-4 (Marsh 46, Handscomb 52)

Marsh versus Jadeja. Defends, defends, defends. Gets a run when one ball keeps low and is edged on the bounce behind point. Fielded in the deep. Handscomb comes on strike, and gets a ball a bit like the Smith one. Except that Handscomb gets enough pad in the way. Jadeja appeals madly. But he’s bowling over the wicket, so he’s appealing madly for a ball that has pitched well outside leg. As he’s been appealing madly all day. It’s… kind of embarrassing. I don’t necessarily agree with the lbw law the way it’s written, but there’s no value in ignoring it completely.

9.30am GMT

75th over: Australia 165-4 (Marsh 45, Handscomb 52)

Yadav continues. There’s that scent of desperation just starting to creep in. It’s like burning hair, distinctive and cuts through everything else. You never have to ask if it is what you think it is. He’s hammering the stumps, bowling yorkers to Handscomb, but the batsman is playing these ripping deliveries well, and when Yadav slips a bit too far towards leg stump, Handscomb works him through fine leg for four for the milestone. Handscomb has had a brief sojourn from making half-centuries, but now he’s back.

9.25am GMT

74th over: Australia 159-4 (Marsh 45, Handscomb 46)

Marsh is finding his way off strike easily enough now, working Jadeja to leg again. Handscomb immediately swaps back with a push to cover. Two runs from the over make it an expensive one by Jadeja’s standards.

9.22am GMT

73rd over: Australia 157-4 (Marsh 44, Handscomb 45)

Four! And Australia surge ahead. Yadav bowls straight, Marsh flicks behind square. That’s one of his best strokes, and he’s been very good today. Times it well enough to beat a weary Ashwin running around from a finer fine leg position. Marsh flicks a single towards Ashwin, straighter.

9.18am GMT

72nd over: Australia 151-4 (Marsh 39, Handscomb 45)

Jadeja will just attack the stumps all day. He has 3 for 34 from 29 overs. Marsh scrambles a leg bye after one hits him on the thigh, Handscomb was sharp to the chance for a run, and scores are level. Whatever Australia scores now, India has to knock off. That’s the only score, so its’ another maiden for the bowler. His 15th from what is now 30 overs. Absurd.

9.14am GMT

71st over: Australia 151-4 (Marsh 39, Handscomb 45)

Yadav to Handscomb and that is out. Except it isn’t. Isn’t given, that is. A fast fullish ball that cuts in off the pitch, beats the inside edge of the defensive stroke, and nails Handscomb on the back pad in front of middle. That is out, live, every single minute of every day. But Umpire Gould doesn’t give it. Thinks that the height may have spared Handscomb. Hit just above the knee roll, but he was way back on his stumps and it was his back leg. Kohli reviews, as you should, and misses out by about a millimetre. DRS shows it as umpire’s call, even though most of the ball is hitting most of the top of middle stump. Bad call for mine. A couple of balls later, Yadav gets one to keep low, and Handscomb jams down for a single. How close these margins. Marsh works a single from the last. The 150 is up.

9.08am GMT

70th over: Australia 149-4 (Marsh 38, Handscomb 44)

Ashwin to start things off. Nearly has Marsh stumped second ball, but the batsman just shoves the toe back behind the line before Saha gets the bails off. Just a leaning defensive stroke that dragged the batsman forward. Marsh faces out a maiden. The pitch is beginning to puff up.

9.05am GMT

Let’s have a look at the options. Australia could bat India out of the match. Australia could lose 6 for 11 again and India could knock off a few token runs. Australia could be bowled out after an hour at 60 or 70 ahead and leave India a tricky chase. Australia could be bowled out after an hour and a half at 60 ahead and leave India to make a crash-bash attempt to win. Australia could send Maxwell out to make a hundred from nine overs and then run through 10 Indian wickets in the last 20. Some of these things are more likely than others. But everything is on the table. Some things more on the table than others.

8.45am GMT

Hello friends, hello foes, hello family. Hello fingers, hello toes, hello ramblings. What a tasty scenario ahead of us. Thanks Russell, Geoff here, let’s do some cricketing. Drop me a line via the email on the left of screen, or the top if you’re on a phone, or twitter at me via @GeoffLemonSport.

8.43am GMT

69th over: Australia 149-4 (Marsh 38, Handscomb 44)

And that is tea on day five. Australia’s Shaun Marsh and Peter Handscomb have survived the entire second session on a day-five pitch in India, which is a feat worthy of applause. The final over featured a flick to leg by Marsh, who trotted through for one, and Handscomb handled the rest with characteristic excellence, turning two runs to deep square leg and defending stoutly otherwise.

8.39am GMT

68th over: Australia 146-4 (Marsh 37, Handscomb 42)

Some minor drama here as Handscomb skips down the track and misses an attempted flick to leg. It hit him in line but would have spun past leg stump, and the home side knew it. There is plenty of noise and puffs of dust in the Ashwin over, but no breakthrough. A positive for India: he got through it quick enough for Jadeja to bowl one more.

8.36am GMT

67th over: Australia 145-4 (Marsh 36, Handscomb 42)

If Jadeja and Ashwin play their cards right here this could be the first of three overs before tea, though it’s a moot point anyway with the Australian pair handling things so well. My worry, for Australia: a break in the momentum they’ve built in this session favours India and India alone. Another maiden for Jadeja. He’s collected those at will today.

8.33am GMT

66th over: Australia 145-4 (Marsh 36, Handscomb 42)

With no offence to his dear Mum, Robert Lewis drops by now with a craptacular Ranchi anecdote in keeping with India’s bowling efforts in this session. “Just thought I’d drop by at this tense moment to tell you – apropos of nothing at all – that my Mum was born in Ranchi in 1923,” he writes. “She’s still going strong at 93. I visited the city in 1975, on my way back from Australia. I can remember almost nothing about it. Pretty dull place, really. Good bung lassi though.”

8.29am GMT

65th over: Australia 144-4 (Marsh 36, Handscomb 41)

Vis a vis Michael Clarke’s soft ball insights of earlier, India now request a harder one. Ian Gould tells them to turn it up, and well he might. He also says no to a Ravindra Jadeja LBW appeal against Marsh, which wouldn’t have hit Wriddhiman Saha in his protective box if he was doing a star jump. India are getting a bit desperate now. Australia trail by just eight runs.

8.26am GMT

64th over: Australia 143-4 (Marsh 36, Handscomb 40)

Ashwin continues, and the Australians have 15 minutes to see off the pre-Tea threat. So often in this series a wicket has fallen with the end of a session in sight. Both batsmen will be desperate to avoid that fate. Another thing: I can’t help but feel as though denying Ashwin any wickets today could be a symbolic blow for the likes of Handscomb when he and his younger cohorts return for other Indian trips. Right now they’re blunting India’s spin spearhead on his own decks. Australia don’t have a history of doing that.

8.23am GMT

63rd over: Australia 141-4 (Marsh 35, Handscomb 39)

Scrap everything I said before: Jadeja has merely changed ends, so Ashwin might have been a fill-in. Or he’ll keep bowling and Ishant is gone from the attack. Kohli might as well throw Wriddhiman Saha the ball, to be frank. Handscomb is defending with aplomb and ever-alert to runs. Jadeja was jumping around like John Lydon earlier, and bowling with venom. Now he’s just another trundler.

8.20am GMT

62nd over: Australia 139-4 (Marsh 35, Handscomb 37)

Interesting. Ashwin didn’t set the world on fire earlier but now he replaces Jadeja – India’s biggest threat. KL Rahul is the man in Virat Kohli’s crosshairs in this over. He fields a ball at deep mid-wicket and sends in a woeful through to Wriddhiman Saha. It sails straight over the keeper’s head and runs away for four overthrows. Not great.

8.17am GMT

61st over: Australia 134-4 (Marsh 35, Handscomb 32)

Like a faithful basset hound, Ishant’s long and longing face tell the tale of a bowler not being rewarded for his wholehearted efforts. He removed Matt Renshaw earlier in the day with a low skidder, but Handscomb does his Handscomb thing here and gets a single from the second delivery of the over. That forces the bowler to adjust for the left-handed Marsh. The Australian batsmen are settled, but the bowler is not. One thing Ishant does have going for him is reverse swing, and he bowls a gem of an in-swinger to Marsh, who is nevertheless solid in defending it. With 25 minutes left in this second session, Australia trail by 18 runs and the Marsh-Handscomb partnership is worth 71 from 31.5 overs.

8.10am GMT

60th over: Australia 133-4 (Marsh 35, Handscomb 31)

There is a little bit of a pattern developing here, and it works perfectly for Australia: Handscomb gets a single early in the over and Shaun Marsh absorbs the rest. He has two slightly hairy moments in this over, moving back and across to defend Jadeja and then getting a leading edge to a forward defence. Neither goes close to doing him in though, so wotevs, as the kids probably don’t even say anymore.

8.08am GMT

59th over: Australia 132-4 (Marsh 35, Handscomb 30)

Ashwin’s nightmare over a few minutes ago comes with repercussions; he’s banished from the attack and Ishant returns with some pace. With Marsh on strike the big quick has two slips and a short mid-wicket, and soon a short leg moves in too. None troubles Marsh too much, because he’s moving through this final day in determined silence, like Alain Delon’s ice-cold hitman Jef Costello in Le Samourai.

8.01am GMT

58th over: Australia 131-4 (Marsh 35, Handscomb 29)

There is a layer of comedy underlying this Australian effort, it has to be said. Remember a week ago when the travelling press was claiming skullduggery at their first sight of this pitch? How surreal it would be if Australia confidently bats out a final day spin onslaught in India. Maiden for Jadeja, though it’s not as pregnant with possibilities as his pre-lunch efforts.

7.58am GMT

57th over: Australia 131-4 (Marsh 35, Handscomb 29)

Ashwin errs too, offering up a full toss for Handscomb as the batsman advances down the wicket and batters the ball through mid-wicket for four. A few balls later Handscomb shuffles back and cuts hard through cover to get four more, then makes it three boundaries in the over with an imperious on-drive. Ashwin is bowling like a drain. Australia trail by only 21 now; only 40 minutes from tea they’re look increasingly capable of forcing a draw to keep themselves in the series. Let’s be honest: a winner-takes-all fourth Test is a dream scenario for all concerned.

7.55am GMT

56th over: Australia 117-4 (Marsh 34, Handscomb 16)

Marsh puts his foot down now, latching onto a rare bit of flight from Jadeja and driving square on the half-volley to claim a boundary from the spinner; they’ve been as rare as hen’s teeth today. I tell you what else is rare: Australians actually making things. A friend has just sent me a rather depressing video from inside the old R.M. Crockett cricket equipment factory in Melbourne’s west. It’s been converted into “warehouse-style” apartments. Of course it has.

7.52am GMT

55th over: Australia 113-4 (Marsh 30, Handscomb 16)

Marsh has an opportunity to hammer an Ashwin full toss into the heavens here but he’s set on defence, so merely pats it along the ground for a single to mid-on. A few more singles are handy runs, pushing Australia along to trail by just 39 runs. With that the partnership between Handscomb and Marsh is worth 50 from 156 deliveries.

7.48am GMT

54th over: Australia 109-4 (Marsh 28, Handscomb 14)

Jadeja welcomes Handscomb back from the drinks break with a straight and not entirely penetrating over, and the batsman punches a back-foot drive out to deep points to finish the over and retain the strike.

7.41am GMT

53rd over: Australia 108-4 (Marsh 28, Handscomb 13)

Ashwin has a slip, a leg slip and a short leg for Shaun Marsh, who continues with his reverse-Gooch pad work. I wouldn’t say he’s making batting look easy, but for Australia’s sake there is certainly a comforting level of security in his defence. Another maiden, and that is drinks.

7.40am GMT

52nd over: Australia 108-4 (Marsh 28, Handscomb 13)

It’s been an enigmatic series for Handscomb so far; he’s never looked significantly troubled by the bowling but he just keeps getting himself out once he’s in. On that note, he’s now in the danger period – 13 from 67 deliveries as Jadeja spins one past his outside edge. No nick. Maiden. Eleven maidens for Jadeja. The outfielders could have a stretch while he’s bowling.

7.38am GMT

51st over: Australia 108-4 (Marsh 28, Handscomb 13)

I spend a fair bit of time laying into Brett Lee and Matthew Hayden, so it is only fair to point out that Michael Clarke is growing into a quite shrewd analyst early in his TV career, because he offers insights beyond the bleeding obvious. In this over he’s talking about the softening of the ball, which is a step up from pizza toppings. It’s a maiden for Ashwin and continues a period of intense pressure, though Jadeja remains the real threat.

7.35am GMT

50th over: Australia 108-4 (Marsh 28, Handscomb 13)

With the pace threat gone, Peter Handscomb calls for his baggy green cap. At the risk of labouring the point, this manoeuvre hasn’t always come up trumps for his team-mates in this series. Jadeja has a slip, a silly point and a short leg, but no luck drawing a rash stroke from the Victorian. Maiden. Jadeja now has 10 of those in his 3-22 from 20 overs.

7.33am GMT

49th over: Australia 108-4 (Marsh 28, Handscomb 13)

Michael Clarke’s mooted Umesh-Ashwin switcheroo finally happens, and the batsmen have about ten minutes to get through before they stop for a drink, which is among many mini-milestones they’ll hope to tick off. Handscomb advances to the off-spinner and turns a single through mid-wicket, and there was one earlier in the over for Marsh.

7.30am GMT

48th over: Australia 106-4 (Marsh 27, Handscomb 12)

First delivery of this over from the returning Ravindra Jadeja draws an unhinged celebr-appeal from the bowler when Handscomb bends his front leg forward to pad up. It was a very hopeful shout, but Jadeja carries on as though he’s watching Shane Warne’s Gatting ball for the first time. If he actually takes a wicket he might combust. We’re half an hour and ten minutes from tea now, and Australia are set to face spin from both ends for the first time today.

7.26am GMT

47th over: Australia 106-4 (Marsh 27, Handscomb 12)

So yes, it was more Umesh in this over, and more of the same from him. The partnership is now worth 43 runs from 108 deliveries, which is putting Australia in a far better position to secure a draw than many of us expected two hours ago. In Marsh we trust? Australia trail by 46 runs, and India desperately need a wicket.

7.24am GMT

Not only was it hitting him outside the line of off stump, but it also pitched outside leg stump. Kohli chuckles and raises an apologetic hand to his bowler, who wasn’t entirely committed himself. A terrible review, really.

7.23am GMT

But he shrugs those infamous shoulders as his as he calls for it, which doesn’t fill India with hope. This is a speculative review at best. Marsh shouldered arms but it appeared to hit him outside the line of off stump.

7.21am GMT

46th over: Australia 105-4 (Marsh 27, Handscomb 11)

Ashwin continues with a maiden at the same end, so Michael Clarke will not get his wish just yet. As that is happening Ruth Purdue arrives with a question, which is so wide in its scope I have trouble offering much in the way of a coherent response. “Is Brett Lee the antithesis of Matthew Hayden?” she writes. They’re both the antithesis of informative commentators, I know that.

7.18am GMT

45th over: Australia 105-4 (Marsh 27, Handscomb 11)

The law of diminishing Yadavs continue to be proven here, with Umesh groaning his way through an unimposing over. Michael Clarke reckons Ashwin should be bowling from Umesh’s end, and Jadeja from Ashwin’s. Virat Kohli had a word to Ashwin at the end of the last over, so that may well happen. Australia trail by 47 runs now, so Kohli has some thinking to do. A 60-run chase in the third session is far from ideal for India.

7.13am GMT

44th over: Australia 101-4 (Marsh 27, Handscomb 8)

Wonderful stuff here by the newly-confident Marsh, who takes half a little shimmy-step down the track to Ashwin and then cracks a quite sublime on drive to the rope to take Australia past 100. You don’t say this often, but I reckon it’s time to give Ashwin a rest. Ravindra Jadeja is the man for the occasion here.

7.10am GMT

43rd over: Australia 97-4 (Marsh 23, Handscomb 8)

Umesh continues to Marsh, who I’ve been describing in slightly unflattering terms of late. In actual fact, he’s starting to look a bit more comfortable against the paceman now, mainly I think because Umesh is angling it too far across him towards the slips. “He’s a very, very nice fella, Shaun Marsh,” says Brett Lee with typically searing insight. Marsh gets a very, very nice single, and that’s about it for the over.

7.05am GMT

42nd over: Australia 96-4 (Marsh 22, Handscomb 8)

Holy moly. Handscomb advances down the pitch to a full toss but he almost cracks it straight into the hands of the man at short mid-wicket, and the Indians around the bat are really whooping it up at the prospect of a wicket. Still, had he timed it, Handscomb would have just as easily smoked that for a boundary.

7.02am GMT

41st over: Australia 96-4 (Marsh 22, Handscomb 8)

Much like Steve Smith earlier, Handscomb leads India to believe he’s an LBW candidate with that shuffle across in front of his stumps. He almost refuses to use his front foot to the quicks, so Umesh is looking to send a low shooter into his stumps and almost succeeds but for an inside edge. To fuller balls outside off stump, Marsh is swishing his way through that lovely Trescothickesque leave of his. It’s a stylish leave, though not as stylish as the straight drives he cannons past Umesh when the paceman over-pitches. That’s four bits. Australia now trail by 56. Maybe they can make India bat again.

6.58am GMT

40th over: Australia 91-4 (Marsh 18, Handscomb 7)

A drop! It was a tough but very gettable chance for Karun Nair at short leg. Handscomb was forward and flicking it towards the man under the lid. Nair keeps low enough, and shifts his hands to the right quickly enough, but the ball doesn’t stick in either mitt. Ashwin is a little cheesed but he knows it was no fait accompli. A single to Handscomb to finish the over relieves Marsh of his ongoing ordeal at the hands of Umesh Yadav.

6.55am GMT

39th over: Australia 90-4 (Marsh 18, Handscomb 6)

Umesh is coming around the wicket to Marsh and first up this over he tails one away from the left-hander’s outside edge. The other arresting sight early in the over is the neat queue of three helmets strategically placed behind wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha. They act as a warning for what’s to come in the next over. But to matters present: Umesh is bowling a treat in this over, and Marsh is doing nothing more positive than squirming his way through a thorough examination from the paceman. You wouldn’t be surprised if Umesh walked down the pitch and asked him to cough. Marsh survives the over without having to claim his Medicare rebate.

6.51am GMT

38th over: Australia 90-4 (Marsh 18, Handscomb 6)

Ashwin appears now for his second over, which means Ravindra Jadeja is taking his first break of the day after that sublime spell in the first session. Handscomb squirts one down the leg side and Rahane almost cleans up his mess at leg gully, diving athletically to his left but narrowly missing purchase on the ball. Marsh turns three through mid-wicket to finish the over, and looks far less jittery against the spinner.

6.47am GMT

37th over: Australia 86-4 (Marsh 15, Handscomb 5)

OK, we’re off and away in the session which may or may not seal Australia’s fate in this Border-Gavaskar Trophy series. Umesh Yadav is the bowler and Peter Handscomb the Australian batsman on strike. He neatly deposits one down to third man to pick up one, and Yadav soon has Marsh hopping in the air like he’s defending a corner. Two leg byes around the corner finish an over of odds and ends.

6.38am GMT

Signs of life? “Is it cowardly to pray for a monsoon?” asks reader Gervase Greene. No Gervase, no it’s not.

Here is #WinViz at the start of the afternoon session in Ranchi. Can Australia salvage a draw? #IndvAus

6.24am GMT

Australia complete a third of the day having lost only a quarter of their remaining batsmen. Massively on top. #INDvAUS

6.07am GMT

What’s happening in the cricket? Haven’t had the chance to watch today #INDvAUS

6.03am GMT

36th over: Australia 83-4 (Marsh 15, Handscomb 4)

And that is lunch on day five in Ranchi, ending a session in which Australia lost Matt Renshaw and Steve Smith in quick succession after they’d looked good to bat out the day. The last over of the session was not Jadeja’s best and Handcomb sent a compact drive through cover to finish it with three runs, but the Indian spinner has bowled his side into a commanding position here. His 3-22 from 18 overs has featured nine maidens and he might well bowl India to victory after lunch.

5.59am GMT

35th over: Australia 79-4 (Marsh 14, Handscomb 1)

Ravichandran Ashwin finally gets his first bowl of the morning, which is perhaps a bit harsh on India’s most prolific bowler of the decade. He has a throaty LBW shout against Marsh, but Ian Gould deems it to be hitting the batsman’s pad slightly outside the line of off stump. Marsh knows the danger here; Ashwin has nipped him out four times in Test, but he survives. We’ll have one more over from Jadeja.

5.56am GMT

34th over: Australia 78-4 (Marsh 13, Handscomb 1)

BREAKING: RAVINDRA JADEJA BOWLS BAD BALL. Incredible, I know. It’s short, straight, and Shaun Marsh recovers well enough from his surprise to whip it through mid-wicket for a boundary. That means Jadeja has 3-18 from 17 overs by the end of this one, which features a fast arm-ball that nearly does Handscomb in. He’s been a real handful for the Australians bowling unchanged throughout this session, the left-armer.

5.53am GMT

33rd over: Australia 73-4 (Marsh 8, Handscomb 1)

Kabir Sethi has a question. “Renshaw and now Smith – how much of this was because of the fracas at the start of Ishant’s last over? Did they get unsettled with all the chatter?” I think it definitely ruffled Renshaw, but then the ball that got him did keep very low, now that I see replays. Smith’s was just a minor lapse in concentration of the type we didn’t see from Pujara yesterday. Back in the moment, Ishant is now bowling a seventh over in the spell, so the best Ashwin can hope for is one speculative over before lunch. Four byes in this over are handy for Australia, because they’re still hoping to push past India’s total today and make them bat again. Right now they’re 79 runs away from that.

5.46am GMT

32nd over: Australia 65-4 (Marsh 6, Handscomb 0)

Handscomb is mindful of what happened to his skipper moments ago, so all of his forward movements to Jadeja are exaggerated, perhaps even a little too much so. His main intention, like Marsh’s, seems to be removing his bat from the path of the ball. That carries its own dangers. This is a torrid little spell to endure before lunch. Jadeja is looking a million bucks.

5.42am GMT

31st over: Australia 64-4 (Marsh 5, Handscomb 0)

Not surprisingly given the way he bowled in his last, Ishant is granted a sixth over in this spell. In truth it can only be a let-down given the theatrics of his last, and so it proves; Marsh has one eye on the clock and only plays when he really needs to, pushing a single towards gully from the final delivery but otherwise making sure ball doesn’t meet bat. With just under 20 minutes to go until lunch, survival is the name of the game.

5.37am GMT

30th over: Australia 63-4 (Marsh 4, Handscomb 0)

What a task Shaun Marsh and Peter Handscomb have ahead of them here. Handscomb is encircled by close-in fieldsmen for the final five deliveries of the Jadeja over but survives some nervy times.

5.35am GMT

Jadeja clean bowls Steve Smith! Oh my word, that is a hammer blow for Australia’s chances, and their hero has departed shouldering arms, of all things. Mindful of the huge spin Jadeja was getting in the last over, Smith moves forward to one that angles in to about a leg stump line, but it spins across in front of his pad a little less than the outrageous turner of the last over and subsequently uproots Smith’s off stump. Australia are in disarray here, and Jadeja finally gets reward for a superb spell.

5.33am GMT

29th over: Australia 63-3 (Smith 21, Marsh 4)

Shaun Marsh gets an edgy boundary from the first ball he faces, but Ishant finishes a barnstorming over by angling a nasty one into the left-hander’s hip and he’s really hopping about as it thuds into him.

5.31am GMT

Ishant strikes! What a wicket this is for India as Ishant traps Matt Renshaw in front, and Ian Gould has no hesitation raising the finger. The prelude to that one was fascinating; Renshaw pulled away from the first delivery of the over, citing some kind of distraction near the sight screen. At the time, Ishant was almost into his delivery stride, so angrily piffed the ball down the pitch and Umpire Ian Gould to come in and settle a few tempers. Virat Kohli was in the thick of it, of course, and Steve Smith too when Ishant Sharma gave the Australian skipper a mouthful. Renshaw blocked the next ball and faced plenty of hostility from the big paceman in the aftermath, but Ishant then undid him with an absolute beauty.

5.23am GMT

28th over: Australia 59-2 (Renshaw 15, Smith 21)

Jadeja has 2-12 to his name as he enters his 14th over, and he rips an absolute peach of a delivery past the outside edge of Smith. To do that he came around the wicket, imparted untold revolutions on the ball to get it drifting in towards leg, and it just came screaming its way past Smith’s blade. No wicket, no run. Another maiden.

5.21am GMT

27th over: Australia 59-2 (Renshaw 15, Smith 21)

Virat Kohli stands cleaning his sunglasses now. Perhaps the sudden glare of the sun accounts for his sizeable frown, but he’s also got a worry or two as this session enters its final 40 minutes. Ravindra Jadeja has been a constant threat this morning but neither he nor the quicks have taken a wicket. The two Australian batsmen are entrenched, and very set in their disciplined approach. They’re not going to hand this to India. Time for some Ravichandran Ashwin? I think it might be.

5.14am GMT

26th over: Australia 58-2 (Renshaw 15, Smith 20)

Renshaw is really surrounded now. There is a slip, a short leg, a leg gully and a leg slip. Neither him, them, nor Wriddhiman Saha get near a vicious turner from Jadeja; the ball rears up out of the rough and flashes past the batsman’s hip for four byes. Nightmarish.

5.11am GMT

25th over: Australia 54-2 (Renshaw 15, Smith 20)

We’re back now with more Ishant and as he steams in towards Renshaw, I’ve just realised an email has arrived from the Wisden Collectors Club (yes, I am a member of the Wisden Collectors Club, and you should be too). Good news: only 18 sleeps until the new one hits the shelves. I have a custom-built shelf for all mine. It runs the length of my office, which is only slightly less sad than the collector who apparently had one built into the foot of his bed, so his precious Wisdens were never far from reach. 50 Shades of Yellow? A no-ball from Ishant takes Australia to 50, then Smith rolls his wrists over a sublime on drive to pick up four.

5.01am GMT

24th over: Australia 48-2 (Renshaw 14, Smith 16)

Kohli offers up a more regulation field with Smith on strike, which is to say there are men actually posted on the leg side, including a shortish mid-wicket and a short leg. Jadeja still aims for the rough outside Smith’s leg stump, so the Aussie skipper is content thrusting his pad at the ball in the Graham Gooch sense, as opposed to the Shane Watson sense. It works well enough in this maiden, and we’ll stop for a moment now for drinks.

4.58am GMT

23rd over: Australia 48-2 (Renshaw 14, Smith 16)

This is an absolute masterclass from Steve Smith. Any half-decent ball outside off stump he’s leaving, but when Ishant over-pitches he has no problem cracking a cover drive for two. Maybe this will go the distance after all. Smith rifles a straight drive from Ishant’s penultimate delivery, and if not for an excellent stop from the bowler it would have raced away to the rope. Renshaw defends the final delivery and avoids being on strike to Jadeja.

4.53am GMT

22nd over: Australia 45-2 (Renshaw 14, Smith 13)

One thing Matt Renshaw is doing right against Jadeja (aside from not getting out, which is obviously the optimal result) is playing with soft hands. Doing so here he’s able to angle a couple of runs to the left of Kohli at slip, but Jadeja is a nightmare to deal with on account of the footmarks outside off stump to the left-hander. Shaun Marsh will not be liking the look of this, nor Matthew Wade.

Renshaw’s faced many tests since he debuted.Doesn’t get much bigger than surviving Jadeja at that end on day 5 to try save a match. #INDvAUS

4.49am GMT

21st over: Australia 43-2 (Renshaw 12, Smith 13)

Ishant trots out to his marker now and replaces Umesh. In a lovely moment, Brett Lee reads out his Test stats under the apparent expectation that he’ll be wowed, which he is until he gets to the bowling average of 36. That’ll happen when you play more than half your Tests on the subcontinent. Smith is handling the Indian paceman first up, and continues to leave everything outside off stump, which is almost everything India bowl to him. Like Umesh before, Ishant is sending them down from wide on the crease. Unlike Umesh, he goes so wide he’s called for a no-ball. Smith finally plays at one, caressing a square drive between gully and point for two.

4.43am GMT

20th over: Australia 40-2 (Renshaw 12, Smith 11)

Renshaw continues to battle with Jadeja’s devilish wares, shuffling across to cover his off stump and then lunging forward outside the line to counter the spinner. It’s another maiden, and Renshaw continues to look like a sitting duck. Kohli has three men in close, but I’d honestly be tempted to bring in one or two more and go for the kill.

4.40am GMT

19th over: Australia 40-2 (Renshaw 12, Smith 11)

In fact Yadav gets another go, and Smith runs him down towards third man by twirling the face of his bat open and picking up two. Yadav has three slips; first, second and fourth, and keeps hanging it outside off stump, but the approach has changed a little. In a reverse tactic to that employed for Renshaw, Kohli has stacked the off side field and dared Smith to blaze away. He won’t. He’d rather bat without pads than lose out to Kohli in this game.

4.36am GMT

18th over: Australia 38-2 (Renshaw 12, Smith 9)

Wowsers. Sharp turn here for Jadeja, who rips a few out of the rough to trouble the Queenslander. “Renshaw is finding a way,” says Michael Clarke, being very kind. India are expecting a breakthrough from nearly every delivery of this threatening over, but the left-hander somehow gets through a minor ordeal. Jadeja is the danger man here, and we’ve said that a few times in this series.

4.34am GMT

17th over: Australia 38-2 (Renshaw 12, Smith 9)

In what might prove the final over of his spell, Umesh comes around the wicket to left-handed Renshaw. He’s still getting decent bounce and carry, so there are two slips and a gully in place. The bowler gives Renshaw nothing to work to leg, and he’s happy to either leave the wide ones or dab defensive strokes towards the cover when the line is tighter. So far so good for Australia.

In the eight overs last night Australia missed or edged 26% of deliveries; in the eight overs today they have missed or edged 16%. #IndvAus

4.30am GMT

16th over: Australia 37-2 (Renshaw 11, Smith 9)

Jadeja has a slip, a silly point and a short mid-off for Steve Smith. The Indian spinner offers his normal impeccable control, but not a prodigious amount of spin in this over so Smith is pressing forward to play confident forward defensive strokes and it ends up an uneventful maiden.

4.27am GMT

15th over: Australia 37-2 (Renshaw 11, Smith 9)

Ishant is enthusiastically clapping Umesh as he prepares to charge in, but you sense he wouldn’t mind a trundle himself if he was honest about it. Umesh plus away outside Steve Smith’s off stump, but the Australian skipper is setting himself for the long haul, and won’t touch it unless he has to. He picks up a late single to retain the strike.

4.24am GMT

14th over: Australia 36-2 (Renshaw 11, Smith 8)

Kohli’s left cover entirely open while Jadeja is bowling to Renshaw. The latter opens the face to run a couple of runs past gully, but he’s resisting the temptation to try and flay one through the gap. Danger lurks in the form of the footmarks out side his off stump, which are giving Jadeja the kind of sharp turn which did for Warner last night. The younger opener watchfully defends for the rest of the over. He hasn’t set records on this tour, but it’s been a mighty impressive first trip to India from the 20-year-old.

I want nothing more today than for Glenn Maxwell to break the fastest Test century record in the process of saving a Test. #Maxwellball

4.20am GMT

13th over: Australia 34-2 (Renshaw 9, Smith 8)

Umesh continues to Smith, whose run-making has now attained a Pacman-style monotony. The Indian paceman changes up his approach in this over, delivering from roughly the same position in the crease as last over but sending some through straighter outside off stump, to try and coax Smith into a loose stroke. It never comes, and he’s happy to see off a maiden.

4.17am GMT

12th over: Australia 34-2 (Renshaw 9, Smith 8)

Smith’s really picking on Ravichandran Ashwin here, again clipping a single wide of mid-wicket to get the ungainly fieldsman charging out to his right for the stop. He’s a magnificent bowler and a very sturdy Test batsman, Ashwin, but if all you had to prove it was his running style, you’d have a very tough time convincing cricket agnostics he was an elite athlete.

4.14am GMT

11th over: Australia 33-2 (Renshaw 9, Smith 7)

Renshaw’s far more comfortable against the pace of Umesh, and neatly tucks a single through square leg when the paceman strays onto his hip. Umesh zooms his next one down from wide on the crease, angling it in towards Steve Smith’s middle stump, then produces a carbon copy, then errs with a sloppy short one. Smith swivels back and pulls it around the corner for one, though slightly better placement would have had it humming to the fence. Renshaw flinches out of the way of a very well-directed bouncer to finish the over. I’ve probably said it a few times, but if India win this series, Umesh Yadav will have played a central if understated role in the result.

4.10am GMT

10th over: Australia 31-2 (Renshaw 8, Smith 6)

The temptation would have been to wheel Ishant into the fray with some pace, but Kohli sticks with Jadeja. He’s got a short leg, a leg gully and a leg slip in place for the left-handed Renshaw, who has his work cut out for him in a probing over. He gets a nervy single off the fifth delivery but he’s also a little ruffled by the spinner.

4.07am GMT

9th over: Australia 30-2 (Renshaw 7, Smith 6)

Umesh Yadav has been a quite industrious manufacturer of breakthroughs this series and he’s given another run while the ball still has some shine left on it. Smith is alert to every run-making opportunity, and gets off the mark by whipping the paceman off his legs for two to deep mid-wicket. In basketball they talk of defensive player applying pressure with “active hands”. Smith does it with “active feet” – always shuffling around to open up scoring opportunities and throw the bowler off his line. A few balls later he almost beats Ashwin at mid-on, but the gangly spinner tumbles to his right; he’s about as graceful as a fridge falling down a flight of stairs, but he pulls off the save. Smith hits his mark with the final delivery, which is driven past Murali Vijay at extra cover and runs away for four.

4.02am GMT

8th over: Australia 24-2 (Renshaw 7, Smith 0)

Having removed Nathan Lyon with the second delivery of last night’s final over, Ravindra Jadeja has four more balls left to start us off today. The first is sent down to Steve Smith, who leans right forward and blocks the ball as a silly point, slip and short gully pile the pressure on him. A few balls later he tucks a leg bye around the corner, and Matt Renshaw gets an inside edge trying to drive through the covers. The ball ends up at mid-on. Not entirely convincing, that one.

3.59am GMT

We’re a few minutes from the first delivery now

“Steve Smith needs to play the innings of his life if Australia are to get out of this one,” says Ravi Shastri, which is some kind of expectation to place on one guy, even if he did last for 361 deliveries in his undefeated first innings masterclass. “We would have liked a few more runs in the first innings,” says Australian batting coach Graeme Hick, stopping by soon after. “I think the boys have got a hard day in front of them today.” He’s not pulling any punches, and says plenty of Australia’s first innings dismissals were “soft”.

3.44am GMT

The pitch: I haven’t had a close look yet, but let’s be honest, it’s all about the choice between the heavy roller and the light roller.

The light roller out before the final day at JSCA. The interrogation of Australia’s batsmen resumes in 20 minutes. #INDvAUS

3.36am GMT


Hello all and welcome to day five of the third Test in Ranchi, which might well be the end of Australia’s pursuit of their first Border-Gavaskar Trophy win since 2004. It’s looking gim, I’ll be honest. They resume at 23-2 after the dismissal of David Warner and nightwatchman Nathan Lyon late last night, and they’re still 129 runs short of making India bat again. Can Steve Smith fix his gaze on Virat Kohli, channel every ounce of spite in his body and deliver yet another remarkable innings? You couldn’t bet against him. But it will be a struggle.

10.23pm GMT

Russell will be here shortly, giving you time to remind yourselves of how we got to this point:

Related: Australia under pressure after India dominate day four of third Test

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Mar 19

Australia under pressure after India dominate day four of third Test

Cheteshwar Pujara compiled an epic double century and Wriddhiman Saha complimented with a career-best 117 to deflate Australia and put India in a strong position on the fourth day of the third Test on Sunday.

After India declared their first innings on 603 for nine, Ravindra Jadeja bowled David Warner and nightwatchman Nathan Lyon cheaply in successive overs to reduce Australia to 23-2. Matt Renshaw was batting on seven at stumps with Australia still 129 runs behind and under considerable pressure to save the match.

Related: Australia on ropes as India take control of third Test on day four – as it happened

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article:

Mar 19

Australia on ropes as India take control of third Test on day four – as it happened

  • Australia 451 & 23-2; India 603-9 dec
  • Australia lose two wickets before close of play

11.36am GMT

And here’s your match report:

Related: Australia under pressure after India dominate day four of third Test

11.28am GMT

STUMPS DAY FOUR: Australia 23-2 (Renshaw 7)

Stumps here on day four – a day where India made monumental strides toward victory in Ranchi. Pujara and Saha picked up where they left off with a display of precision and concentration that didn’t relent throughout the day. Both brought up well-deserved milestones of 200 and 100 respectively, before falling in pursuit of quick runs that ultimately rendered Australia survivors and no longer challengers. While both were superb, Pujara’s knock deserves special mention. To underscore how gargantuan his innings was, in compiling his 202 he broke the record for India’s longest individual innings – no mean feat given the competitors in that field.

11.08am GMT

8th over: Australia 23-2 (Renshaw 7)

Bowled him! Lyon plays for a straight one but Jadeja gets it to grip. It hits the top of off and Australia are in tatters. After an innocuous first over Jadeja really found his pace and accuracy and he’s left a gaping wound in Australia now. That was a great delivery. That ends the day now. It was India’s in every way. Some thoughts shortly to wrap up.

11.05am GMT

7th over: Australia 23-1 (Lyon 2, Renshaw 7)

It’s Renshaw v Ashwin now, and ball two sees Renshaw work a shortish one that Pujara can’t reel in. He’s lucky, Renshaw, because three would have seen Lyon on strike and him risking a meeting with Jadeja next over. A much better match up from an Australian point of view. He’s forward, bat well out in front of pad to minimise the bat pad opportunity, and he sees out the over. Jadeja at the other end looms as the main danger.

11.02am GMT

6th over: Australia 19-1 (Lyon 2, Renshaw 3)

So Jadeja accounts for a hapless Warner, and the brains trust send Lyon to the crease. It’s not a bad tactic if only because Lyon is right handed. Jadeja is around the wicket straight away and his second ball elicits a shout for LBW! They don’t review, it was going down leg. Slightly less indecision for the right hander with Jadeja bowling from this angle – the rough is everything. Still, it’s dangerous! Despite men all around his bat, Lyon survives.

10.59am GMT

Bowled him! Wonderful delivery from Jadeja. He’s going to be unbelievably difficult to handle here. He hits the rough and it jags back furiously, through Warner’s gate and straight into the stumps. Really, really ominous signs here. Every ball a grenade. Honestly think a right hander would be better suited here. And it’s Lyon!

10.57am GMT

5th over: Australia 17-0 (Warner 14, Renshaw 3)

Warner, playing his natural game, gets down the wicket to Ashwin and scampers a single wide of mid off. He brings Renshaw on strike and he looks a little better against Ashwin’s right arm offspin. There’s also less men around him, perhaps helping his cause. Renshaw wisely sees off Ashwin, leaving him at the other end as Jadeja prepares himself to spear it into that nasty rough.

10.54am GMT

4th over: Australia 16-0 (Warner 13, Renshaw 3)

Renshaw’s struggling here. He French cuts himself in defence to Jadeja’s first ball, and there are three men waiting for him on the leg side as the left arm orthodox is aiming into the rough. He nearly finds them in the next two balls. The next couple go straight and beat his outside edge. Renshaw will want to be at the other end. The pitch is alive now, obviously.

10.52am GMT

3rd over: Australia 16-0 (Warner 13, Renshaw 3)

Fewer men around Warner’s bat to face Ashwin, but he’s nearly finding bat pad as one just goes past the man under the lid. Warner then lofts Ashwin over mid off streakily! It was not convincing by any stretch. Why, David. Why? Because it’s natural, that’s why. Ashwin then beats Warner on the inside and there’s a shout! The umpire says no, India agree. It was going down leg. A couple of dots and that one’s done.

10.49am GMT

2nd over: Australia 12-0 (Warner 9, Renshaw 3)

It’s Jadeja from the other end. He’s over the crease to Renshaw and delivering from a particularly wide position. They’ve got a leg slip in there too, and Renshaw is prodding at the second ball nervously. He manages to get one down to deep backward square and is off strike, thankfully for him. As if to bring Renshaw back on strike, Jadeja pitches short and Warner is through for one. But it’s a carbon copy, because Renshaw finds two through the same area. He’s not on the money yet Jadeja, the deliveries are coming in at slow-medium pace, and the new ball is rendering any revolutions redundant. That’s the over, probably didn’t offer the examination Kohli would have liked.

10.45am GMT

1st over: Australia 8-0 (Warner 8, Renshaw 0)

Kohli’s on the field, there’s men around the bat, the crowd all of a sudden a little deafening. It’s Ashwin to begin. Brett Lee already suggests Warner needs to ‘play his natural game’. I find that an extraordinary comment. Is there no concession to the game status? Must everything be natural? We’ll see. Ashwin’s first ball is flat and goes on straight. ‘Ooh’s and ahh’s’ result. So does a slow motion replay of Kohli’s mouth. Let’s accept that. Silly mid-off, short leg, slip. A half-shout for one that Warner inside edges onto his pad. A second slip comes in. Ashwin then pitches short and Warner punches him through point for four. It was a poor delivery. ‘Boom’, says Brett Lee. Same again to finish the over, two boundaries from it. Not that it matters.

10.39am GMT

With 90+ overs in a day and still eight to bowl here, it will take a gargantuan, famous effort for Australia to survive here. There have been some encouraging signs in relation to their batting, but this surely serves as their sternest test yet. Is there a twist to come?

10.36am GMT

210th over: India 603-9d (Jadeja 54, Sharma 0)

Jadeja caps his fifty with a boundary through extra cover, and finishes India’s innings with a tuck off the hips for four. Kohli then calls in his charges and it will be a searching eight overs for Australia to try and survive before the close of play. I’ll wrap up the Indian innings at the end of the day, for now we brace ourselves for a period that may well come to define the series. Can India find gremlins in the wicket? Do Australia have the wherewithal to get through this? We’ve endured some grind to get to this point, but there’s some captivating stuff ahead. Would love to hear your thoughts as we get underway in a matter of minutes.

@sjjperry Interestingly poised match now. Tired Aus put in to bat for 40 minutes, performance may determine the outcome of the match.

10.31am GMT

A killer knock from Jadeja, who has skilfully cashed in on tiring Australian bowlers. Some brilliant shots over the top for six interspersed with others crashed through the off side.

10.29am GMT

209th over: India 595-9 (Jadeja 46, Sharma 0)

Yadav’s wicket brings Sharma to the crease. He gets comical cheers from his home crowd for his exaggerated forward defence. Men surround the bat, and occasionally O’Keefe beats it, but he survives.

Steve O’Keefe is rapidly racing up this list. Now equal 22nd on most deliveries ever bowled in an innings: #INDvAUS

10.26am GMT

Yadav is down the deck to O’Keefe and he tries to heave him over Warner at mid-off. He doesn’t connect with any purity at all, instead slicing the ball to Australia’s opener. A good knock all told. There’s no declaration, Sharma is heading to the crease.

10.23am GMT

208th over: India 595-8 (Jadeja 46, Yadav 16)

Cummins is back. He’ll want (and deserves) five, but he has a few problems in the meantime. Yadav back cuts him for four through third man (is there any more annoying place to concede a boundary), and gets another through there via the front foot now. The partnership passes fifty, Cummins throws his head back and grimaces wildly. He no-look-hooks Cummins to finish the over, and you can hear Michael Clarke say ‘shot!’ through someone else’s microphone. All India here. With 12 overs remaining today a declaration must be imminent.

10.18am GMT

207th over: India 586-8 (Jadeja 46, Yadav 7)

Jadeja comes at O’Keefe then retreats – Wade has the bails off and the umpire wants to have a look. Jadeja is well safe. He always follows these events with a slog, and gets himself two via thick inside edge. Two more dots precede another six straight over the bowler’s head. It’s good looking stuff from the left hander, he plays with real silk.

10.16am GMT

206th over: India 578-8 (Jadeja 38, Yadav 7)

Another innocuous start to the over before a big appeal for LBW is turned down. Australia, of course, have no reviews remaining. Making matters worse/better, Jadeja then creams Lyon straight back over his head for six. One can only imagine the sound of the thud of the ball on that white parachute material near the sightscreen. Lyon buries his head in his hands, a wry smile in accompaniment. There’s a single to finish, he’ll retain the strike.

10.12am GMT

205th over: India 570-8 (Jadeja 31, Yadav 6)

More singles to the batsmen from O’Keefe. The game is kind of ambling now. India perhaps timing themselves for 10-15 overs at the Australians, and no more. It condemns Australia to mere defence, so it makes sense. Any other views out there? Are India timing this perfectly or just very well?

.@pmnevill caught reverse sweeping. Courageous effort by @CricketNSWBlues getting within 7 runs of a #SheffieldShield final needing 403.

10.09am GMT

204th over: India 568-8 (Jadeja 30, Yadav 5)

We return from drinks to see the Indian side almost all in whites, awaiting a declaration. Then again, Kohli is calmly stirring his tea. The tension. Meanwhile Jadeja and Yadav exchange singles from Lyon’s bowling, while Australia awaits another last innings examination. Some real pressure on the horizon.

10.01am GMT

203rd over: India 565-8 (Jadeja 28, Yadav 4)

They’ve just settled down a little now, India. Gone are the extravagant swishes of ten overs ago, in are nifty little dabs and hastily scrambled singles. All of it drives the nail deeper and deeper into Australia’s cause, and attention now turns to their ability to survive. It’s got collapse written all over it, doesn’t it? O’Keefe, meanwhile, has bowled 74 overs.

9.58am GMT

202nd over: India 562-8 (Jadeja 26, Yadav 3)

Jadeja finds two through third man after some really sharp running. Hazlewood, as has been his approach to conceding runs, directs the next past Jadeja’s hip and avoids conceding more. Later on Yadav dabs one through vacant mid on for a single, and Jadeja gets another to third man. Hard to see a way out for Australia now, presuming the pitch will (seem to) misbehave once Australia starts batting*

@sjjperry Per Hayden on TV Hazlewood has been bowling “unrelentlessly.” I think the Australian George Bush is misunderstimating the bowler.

9.53am GMT

201st over: India 557-8 (Jadeja 22, Yadav 2)

Only one from O’Keefe’s over. Jadeja grabs a single and Yadav spends the rest keeping him out.

9.50am GMT

200th over: India 556-8 (Jadeja 21, Yadav 2)

A little more circumspect from India here. There was talk a message had been conveyed to bat a little more frugally, and Jadeja is watchful here. Nevertheless he manages to run one through the vacant third man for four before aggressively pulling another for one.

@dizzy259 in fact Pujara has equalled the record set by Fleming (NZ) for most number of Test double hundreds by a batsman called Steve (3)

9.45am GMT

199th over: India 551-8 (Jadeja 16, Yadav 2)

O’Keefe’s back over the wicket now and the trajectory is flatter than a Melbourne beach. He abandons that angle to come around, but he’s met by stern Yadav defence. A new tactic? That approach remains for the over, meaning Jadeja will face Hazlewood from the other end.

9.43am GMT

198th over: India 550-8 (Jadeja 15, Yadav 2)

It’s Hazlewood now, and he had Yadav swinging and missing early in the over. He then pitches short and Yadav is late on it in an attempt to pull the ball. It catches the splice and carries to O’Keefe who dives to his left and drops the one-handed attempt. It would have been an excellent catch, particularly for a bloke who’s bowled 71 overs. Jadeja then attempts a suicidal run but survives after Handscomb can’t effect the underarm from side-on.

9.37am GMT

197th over: India 547-8 (Jadeja 13, Yadav 1)

O’Keefe finds the breakthrough in his 71st(!) over, giving him two for this innings. Yadav comes in, gets off strike, allowing Jadeja to charge and loft O’Keefe wide of long on for another boundary. He’s striking at over 100 here, and Australia will be hoping there’s not more to come.

9.35am GMT

And now it’s Saha on his way. O’Keefe is pitching just outside off and Saha tries to lift him over cover. He can’t though, and succeeds only in finding Maxwell at hip height. It ends an outstanding innings that’s taken the game away from Australia, and he’s commended heartily for it from the Ranchi crowd. India lead by 91.

9.33am GMT

196th over: India 541-7 (Jadeja 8, Saha 116)

Jadeja’s in on the act now, cutting Lyon behind the haplessly outstretched dive of Hazlewood. Lyon seems to be getting some venomous bounce but both seem to be using it to their advantage.

9.29am GMT

195th over: India 536-7 (Jadeja 4, Saha 116)

Hard not to laugh as the camera’s zoom in on emerging puffs of dust from O’Keefe’s deliveries. Jadeja is warned for running on the wicket, and there’s a few singles sprinkled throughout the over. There’s an in-out field, so that’s to be expected. Australia’s best hope is a couple of poorly judged shots, but there appears little sign of that with Saha in such great touch.

9.26am GMT

194th over: India 532-7 (Jadeja 2, Saha 114)

Pujara welcomes Lyon’s over with a rank, rash slog to midwicket for two. And then he’s gone! It’s described below, and it brings (Sir) Ravindra Jadeja to the crease. He’s immediately finding a single, before Saha executes a classic late cut for three. The runs will not abate, but can Australia find some wickets? They’re on the carousel here and just about at India’s mercy.

9.23am GMT

Finally, a wicket! Pujara departs after a mammoth, epic 202. We’d been discussing Australian fatigue but no doubt he was feeling similarly. Here he chips Lyon innocuously to mid wicket to Maxwell, bringing to a close a memorable, record breaking innings. He leaves India with a lead of 76, and a mountainous personal legacy.

9.19am GMT

193rd over: India 525-6 (Pujara 200, Saha 111)

Saha is almost running at O’Keefe every delivery here, but he’s beaten in flight just about every time. That forces Saha to play from his crease – waiting, waiting for his opportunity. He gets one – he clears his stumps and hits O’Keefe with the spin over cover, and the ball spins away to the boundary. Nearly in ODI mode here. Australia, having bowled nearly 200 overs, are on the ropes now. It could get a little ugly.

9.17am GMT

192nd over: India 521-6 (Pujara 200, Saha 107)

It’s Lyon to continue, and Pujara gets his double! When the history is written about this one, we’ll be reading about a feat of concentration. It’s the longest innings in Indian cricket history, and he’s been near unflappable. The ground is ecstatic, as are his team mates. He’s also managed to drive India into an imperious position here in this Test. No doubt he’ll continue on.

9.12am GMT

191st over: India 519-6 (Pujara 199, Saha 106)

Maxwell is bowling to a 3-6 field. He’s around the wicket with mass protection on the legside, but both batsman manage to pierce it early for singles. Saha is then down the deck and he just clears Renshaw at mid off. It’s clawed in to prevent a boundary but the intention is clear. Seven more runs from the over.

9.09am GMT

190th over: India 512-6 (Pujara 196, Saha 102)

Spin from both ends as O’Keefe nears Warne’s 70 overs in Cape Town in 2002. If facing 100 balls is a Cowan ton, what does bowling 70 overs net you? Lower back problems, probably. As if to show his fatigue, O’Keefe drops short and Pujara pounces immediately, pulling him violently for four over mid wicket. There’s a single and a scampered two, meaning seven from the over. India’s attack has commenced, methinks.

9.06am GMT

189th over: India 505-6 (Pujara 191, Saha 100)

Maxwell kicks things off to start the final session and Saha, on strike at 99 not out, is able to work him behind square to bring up his ton. He’s been outstanding for the whole day, and his teammates celebrate with grandiosity – all fist pumps and cheering – as do the crowd.

9.00am GMT

Just to underscore the toil of Australia’s bowlers, a good pickup here from Ric Finlay

Have to go back to Warnie at Cape Town, 2002 (70 overs) to find an Aussie who’s bowled more in an inns than SOK (currently 67). #IndvAus

8.55am GMT

As grinding a session as this series has produced. Pujara and Saha carried on where they left off, and almost have India out of Australia’s sight here. They’ve not been dogged so much as measured. They withstood an early bouncer assault from Cummins and the reverse-swinging efforts of Hazlewood, and remained comfortable throughout. Nevertheless, 68 runs in 26 overs means that some attack should be forthcoming. One imagines it should come after both pass their impending milestones of 100 (Saha) and 200 (Pujara) respectively.

For Australia, there will be conjecture about whether some variety was needed in attack, but I’m happy to back Steve Smith’s approach. Once wickets seemed distant, Smith was set on limiting India’s attack by any measure. That amounted to O’Keefe bowling for the majority of the session at both batsman’s pads, and Cummins bowling bouncers. It was effective enough, but whether it will buy enough time to allow Australia to stave off defeat, we’ll find out.

8.45am GMT

188th over: India 503-6 (Pujara 190, Saha 99)

Attention turns to Wriddhiman Saha, who needs two runs for a ton heading into the last ball before tea. He gets a single but that’s where he’ll remain as Pujara can’t farm it. I’m sure he’ll be fine though. Lyon found some turn there, but we’ll have to wait until after tea to find out whether or not he can find it again. A huge session for India – it leaves them in control of this game. Though perhaps not quite as unassailable as a wicketless session might seem because it was fairly slow going. Australia should take some credit for that. Some thoughts shortly before I return for the last session of the day.

8.39am GMT

187th over: India 501-6 (Pujara 189, Saha 98)

India notch 500 now, and there’s a slight sense they’re batting with a fraction more urgency too. O’Keefe, curiously, has decided to adopt an attacking angle by coming around the wicket. He may be playing on milestone nerves by changing something, and does beat Saha at the end of the over. The batsman tries to back cut him unsuccessfully and Wade groans upon receiving it. He survives. India lead by 50.

8.36am GMT

186th over: India 499-6 (Pujara 188, Saha 97)

Some good old-fashioned action! Saha is down the wicket and hitting Lyon flat and hard over mid off for a boundary. India upping the ante now? Would stand to reason – they’re 48 ahead and probably comfortable enough to take a risk. Methodical stuff. Some milestones around the corner might be Australia’s best chance to make something happen.

8.34am GMT

185th over: India 493-6 (Pujara 187, Saha 92)

Overs thick and fast now as O’Keefe and Lyon go in tandem. It’s notable for a misfield from Lyon; evidence of tiring legs, minds, and everything else. There’s three from the over.

8.30am GMT

184th over: India 490-6 (Pujara 186, Saha 90)

So now we see Lyon, who’s apparently in excruciating pain due to some abrasion on his spinning finger. Is that a badge of honour for spinners? As an aside, I know a former first class spinner for NSW who had his wedding ring specially re-shaped to fit his spinning finger. That information should give you some clues (to his art, anyway). Lyon seems comfortable enough though, but so too do Saha and Pujara who both work him through leg for four separate runs. Saha’s into the nineties.

8.27am GMT

183rd over: India 485-6 (Pujara 185, Saha 87)

O’Keefe continues. There’s an early run to Saha, and defence for the rest. To step back a second here: India lead by 35 with five and a bit sessions to go. Of course they will fancy themselves to knock Australia over in a day, so the question is: how far ahead can they get today? It’s a question that may well explain Smith’s reluctance to turn to part-timers. If he bowls Maxwell and himself, India may capitalise. It’s park the bus time for Australia.

8.23am GMT

182nd over: India 485-6 (Pujara 185, Saha 86)

It’s Cummins and it’s bouncers. Saha simply ducks. He then goes for the sucker punch outside off stump but Saha almost bats it back. You have to hand it to Cummins, bowling at 140+ he is trying absolutely everything to find something from this wicket, but the batsmen are too good; too ‘in’. Still, this isn’t an annihilation by any stretch. The game isn’t progressing forward at any exhilarating rate, so while that’s the case, we may still have some drama ahead. But for now, it’s attritional.

Most enthralling sporting contest right now is WA v NSW Sheffield Shield.

NSW needs 93 runs in 20 odd overs to make final.

8.18am GMT

181st over: India 484-6 (Pujara 185, Saha 85)

A little more expansive from Saha v O’Keefe now. The ball remains flat, but there’s a lap sweep and a nice drive to long off. The Hawkesbury man is being used as defensive foil and you can understand it. Questions about removing him for another paceman in search of a break for light seem to have abated too. Still, it will be Cummins from the other end.

8.14am GMT

180th over: India 480-6 (Pujara 184, Saha 82)

So a little subplot emerging here, as Cummins adopts that shortened length to Saha. Is he doing that to make the fading light a factor? No doubt Australia would love to soak up time, however they can get it. He has a leg slip and a man under the lid, so his tactics are clear. Saha is ducking and swaying with aplomb; he doesn’t look overly fazed. The camera pans to Kohli and back, he looks pensive. It does look dark out there.

8.07am GMT

179th over: India 480-6 (Pujara 184, Saha 82)

I mentioned the clouds earlier, and now there appears to be a question over the light. The umpires confer and they return pretty quickly to O’Keefe’s over. Will go out on a slight limb and guess India are pretty happy to keep batting. It’s a hunch. O’Keefe is flat, over the wicket and outside leg again. These are the attritional parts of a Test match that, frankly, Australia have been poor at managing previously. Unless Australia can conjure something out of the ordinary soon, we might start to consider their path to a draw because that appears more and more to be their best option.

8.03am GMT

178th over: India 478-6 (Pujara 183, Saha 81)

Cummins returns to replace Hazlewood, and nearly grabs Saha after the keeper whips one just short of midwicket. That was uppish. He gets himself off strike, and allows Pujara to deal with the Penrith clubman. The lights are on at the ground here – there appears to be some cloud hovering. It’s not assisting with the sort of movement Australia would like though, as Pujara and Saha bring up their 150 run partnership.

7.57am GMT

177th over: India 474-6 (Pujara 182, Saha 78)

O’Keefe adopts the seventh stump line (outside leg, that is). The line is almost comically leg side before he polishes it somewhat to a more respectable ‘just outside leg’ line. No runs and he slows the game. Result gained, I suppose.

Pujara has played no shot or defended 255 balls; that is more balls than all players, other than Smith, have faced in the Test. #IndvAus

7.55am GMT

176th over: India 474-6 (Pujara 182, Saha 78)

Hazlewood, both hands on the ball, is managing to move it both ways. He’s managed to restrict Saha’s scoring for a decent period, but a short ball allows the wicketkeeper to uppercut him towards third man. He didn’t get all of it, but picks up two for his efforts. He’s then inside edging one on to his pads, underscoring Hazlewood’s movement. Still, India march on.

7.52am GMT

175th over: India 471-6 (Pujara 181, Saha 76)

A maiden from O’Keefe to start post drinks proceedings. Very hard to see a flurry of wickets for the visitors here. Many parallels with England now, where they batted deep in the first innings, only to be trounced in the second. What odds that India can elicit some misbehaviour from the wicket when they bowl? Doesn’t seem much doing here.

7.42am GMT

174th over: India 471-6 (Pujara 181, Saha 76)

Hazlewood aims to strangle Pujara down leg but the batsman is up to the task, tickling him fine past a outstretched Wade to the boundary. Later in the over he cuts Pujara in half with one that ducks in mightily. It’s an absolute ripper and Wade does well to glove it. There’s a muted appeal though all and sundry know that while there was a noise, it was solely pad. Better signs for Hazlewood there.

7.38am GMT

173rd over: India 467-6 (Pujara 177, Saha 76)

O’Keefe is spearing into the pads again. A short one afford Pujara a single, otherwise there’s little else notable to speak of.

7.33am GMT

172nd over: India 466-6 (Pujara 176, Saha 76)

Early misbehaviour from a Hazlewood delivery here, as one grubbers through under Saha’s bat through to Wade. Saha is a study in forward defence afterward though. There’s something about diminutive batsmen looking especially balanced, and that’s Saha’s lot here. Hazlewood is searching for some reverse, but anything he gains is negligible. Clamour in the TV comm box about Australia’s lack of bowling variety. I’ll address that next over, but for now enjoy this.

7.28am GMT

171st over: India 466-6 (Pujara 176, Saha 76)

Australia’s evolution to defence continues. O’Keefe is over the wicket, spearing into the pads. India take him on anyway, as Saha dances and tries to loft him over midwicket. He scuffs it (think his bat scraped the ground) and it trickles to deep midwicket. He goes again, trying to hit O’Keefe over long on this time, succeeding only in gaining a leading edge and just clearing mid off. Warner chases it down and gets it in. Was hard not to notice his spikes piercing the covers though – a big no, no in amateur cricket. This is not a diplomatic incident though.

7.24am GMT

170th over: India 460-6 (Pujara 175, Saha 71)

Seriously, where do you bowl? I’ve no doubt Australia have plans, and Hazlewood (who now replaces Cummins) is relentlessly probing, but you know that feeling when the opposition’s bat looks really big? That’s what’s happening now. We’re not quite there yet, but we’re on the verge of full India control mode. Unless Australia can strike, we’ll soon see men out and the waiting game. Hazlewood strikes Saha on the thigh pad late in the over and appeals vociferously, but it was probably going thirty centimetres over sixth stump.

7.20am GMT

169th over: India 457-6 (Pujara 174, Saha 71)

O’Keefe is flatter this over, and he’s well and truly milked. No really sure what that means, but there’s a run to deep cover from Saha, and one through midwicket for Pujara. Looking fairly easy for India now.

7.16am GMT

168th over: India 455-6 (Pujara 173, Saha 70)

Cummins is retained, and you can see why. He manages to hurry up both batsmen from an angle you could describe as very wide of the crease. The short stuff seems to trouble them more than any other trajectory, but even so, the ball floats through to Wade. Again, consecutive singles are exchanged, and the rest is spent in meditative defence. I wonder when the bowling will enter the novelty phase: Renshaw, Wade, Warner. Who would you like to see? Too soon?

7.12am GMT

167th over: India 453-6 (Pujara 172, Saha 69)

And it’s O’Keefe to rifle through an over. He’s flighting them outside off-stump and both Pujara and Saha are circumspect after the former scampers through for one mid-way through the over.

7.09am GMT

166th over: India 452-6 (Pujara 171, Saha 69)

Cummins adjusts his length to something a little shorter here, but he can’t prevent another pair of runs to Saha and Pujara, who don’t look particularly bothered by much on offer. It says something about both the the wicket (not a bad thing! I promise!) and the skill of both batsmen that Cummins’ 140+ efforts are being handled fairly easily. He’s gone all out here has Cummins, but I think we’ll see spin soon. India now lead by one.

7.03am GMT

165th over: India 450-6 (Pujara 170, Saha 68)

Conversation here about the use, or lack thereof, of Glenn Maxwell. Hard to escape the idea that this is the scenario Australia feared heading into the series. Everybody appears to agree that Maxwell should have bowled more. I think it’s been fractionally forgotten that his bowling has regressed fairly significantly in the last little while, and I think Smith knows that. Meanwhile, it’s a quieter over from Hazlewood. Smith removes a slip and goes to a one-and-a-half position, and both players find a run each behind the wicket. India trail by one.

6.58am GMT

164th over: India 448-6 (Pujara 169, Saha 67)

Three overs. Three boundaries. Saha in on the act now – India definitely gleaning advantage from the third new ball. He presents the fullest of faces to a Cummins thunderbolt, giving us a gorgeous off drive to start the over. Cummins then reverts to his favourite length and – in the words of former Australian captain Michael Clarke – “gives him a real sniff. He loves it”. Something really grim about that term, “sniff”. Whatever the case, That’s the length that works for Cummins, and he beats Saha again through there. India finish the over trailing by only three runs though, and will fancy themselves to kick on from here.

6.53am GMT

163rd over: India 444-6 (Pujara 169, Saha 63)

Smith goes with Hazlewood from the other end – understandable given the colour, shape and hardness of this new ball. He’s gives Hazlewood two slips and a standard ring field. That’s about as attacking as it gets for a visiting quick in India, I would have thought. He errs slightly late in the over and Pujara sumptuously works him through mid wicket for four. It’s the shot of a man in imperious touch. Hazlewood then overpitches again but Pujara can’t beat cover. A profitable start for the hosts here.

6.48am GMT

162nd over: India 440-6 (Pujara 165, Saha 63)

So Australia will recommence with Pat Cummins. He holds aloft a new ball, and elicits some away-shape immediately. A quick single starts proceedings, before Saha leans on a square drive that pierces point and cover for four. It was that classic boundary that comes from the new ball – it came onto the bat beautifully and Saha just used the pace. There’s a bit of a post-session feel to this – will India now streak away? I might be getting ahead of myself. Cummins shortens his length in his remaining deliveries. Saha is feeling for it outside his body, but it all feels a bit benign. Cummins finishes with one that screams past Saha’s outside edge. That was encouraging.

6.26am GMT

Afternoon, evening, and – where I am – morning all. I write to you from an eerily empty Guardian HQ, where I’m viewing this match from a high powered computer that won’t yet grant me full access to the blog. But like India at the moment, I will plough on.
Did we just witness the wresting of the series back in India’s favour? Some resolute batting followed by desperate reviews appears to have tipped the scales back in the home side’s favour. Pujara may well be mid-Magnum Opus. He’ll no doubt have his eye on batting for another session if his foil, Wriddhiman Saha, can stay with him. For now, that doesn’t seem to be a problem.

There were a few signs that the pitch may be breaking open, yet worryingly little signs (for Australia) that India might soon succumb. I foresee a home side grabbing further control of this match, followed by a searching examination of Australia’s batting towards the day’s close.

6.11am GMT

The first session of the fourth day in Perth when Australia played South Africa last November was clutch. They had four wickets to get and needed them before lunch to have a chance. The equation was the same this morning. For any realistic chance, this session had to be one for the visitors. But just as it was in Perth, instead it went wicketless.

These 31 overs delivered only 75 runs, but that mattered little for the hosts. The stand between Pujara and Saha now stands at 107, both reaching milestones along the way – the former’s 150, the latter’s half century. Pujara’s hand has now lasted 434 balls. Incredible.

6.02am GMT

161st over: India 435-6 (Pujara 164, Saha 59). They elected to wait for the third new ball. After the failed review, Smith took a long time to get back to his spot, having a chat with the bowler. In other words: doing everything he could ensure it would be just one over. He’s successful. That’s lunch. I’ll gather my thoughts. Back in a tic.

6.00am GMT

NOT OUT! He’s nowhere near it. Worse still: first over of the fresh reviews too, so they’ve doubly blown that one. Can understand them taking the punt to an extent, but it will make their lunch that much worse.

5.58am GMT

REVIEW! Wade has gloved Saha off Lyon. Given not out. No one is that excited. We’ll see?

5.57am GMT

160th over: India 431-6 (Pujara 163, Saha 56). Final over before the third new ball, with eight overs to the lunch break. Three of the easiest singles you’ll see are found into the deep. Harsha says India are safe. With 14 wickets in hand across five sessions, with Australia having to bat for a fair while of that too, I think he’s right.

Won’t be easy for Australia to set a target given they will need time to score the necessary runs. With every half hour, India look safer

5.54am GMT

159th over: India 428-6 (Pujara 162, Saha 54). A single each from the legside early in the over brings up the 100 stand between the pair. Considering where this voyage began when Ashwin was dismissed not long after Nair, it has been vital with the bowlers to come who haven’t shown any resistance this series so far. This was the series that Australia expected back in Dubai. Hard, attritional, painful. How will they respond? They have 23 runs of lead left to play with.

5.51am GMT

158th over: India 426-6 (Pujara 161, Saha 53). Sokka punches through a quick maiden so I’m going to punch out a quick post. I promise, it was uneventful. Two overs to the third new ball. The worst three words in the cricket language I reckon: third new ball.

5.48am GMT

157th over: India 426-6 (Pujara 161, Saha 53). Lyon persists round the wicket. Pujara takes a quick single to begin, reinforcing the control he has over the Australian spin. Saha takes another to the other side of the vast outfield here. Pujara defends the rest. Of course he does.

Jeffrey Earp with some high-quality OBO chat here on the email. “Never Mind the Scoreboard – Here’s the Initials Count,” announces his email.

5.44am GMT

156th over: India 424-6 (Pujara 160, Saha 52). DROPPED! It’s a nightmare for Australia now. Saha has edged O’Keefe and Wade’s gloves haven’t closed at the right time, the small deviation beating him. Composed singles for both to finish the over. Wade knows, too.

And now a chance goes down behind the stumps off O’Keefe’s bowling. Not a great session for the Aussies… #INDvAUS

5.40am GMT

155th over: India 421-6 (Pujara 158, Saha 51). How deflating for Smith and Lyon and everyone involved. The second time today they have felt that release of a lbw decision going their way only for it to be overturned. For the briefest moment they would have thought “great, now he’s gone, we can race through the bowlers and get this finished.” Now? Who knows how long this lasts. Lyon’s over concludes with a single to Pujara to midwicket, once again retaining the strike. Pujara now has 1000 Test runs against Australia.

5.38am GMT

NOT OUT! Missing by a long way. Turned big. Umpire Gould has had his decision overturned. Pujara remains.

5.37am GMT

PUJARA GIVEN LBW TO LYON! Is it missing though? He’s gone upstairs. We’ll find out shortly…

5.35am GMT

154th over: India 419-6 (Pujara 157, Saha 50). Saha’s turn to give the bat a bit of a wave after grabbing one to mid-off, reaching his half-century from exactly 100 balls. Evenly paced, controlled, vital. Further to my shared tweet from the previous over, what exactly does Maxwell have to do to get on? Or Smith himself for that matter? Smith has to try a few things here.

5.33am GMT

153rd over: India 417-6 (Pujara 156, Saha 49). Down the pitch with some fancy footwork goes Saha, and long over the rope for six! Ends up more or less over cow corner with a full swing of the bat. Australia’s dreams of putting on the pads before the lunch break are completely shot. With half an hour till the interval they would be happy now with a solitary breakthrough. Or just Pujara, even. When he gets his go it is business as usual before retaining the strike out to the cover region. Fair bit of hate for Wade on social media for the quarter (tenth?) chance in the previous Lyon over. Tough crowd. But that’s the way it goes when you have the gloves on. Or am I being too kind?

5.30am GMT

152nd over: India 409-6 (Pujara 155, Saha 42). Ravi Shastri on the ABC radio call says that Virat Kohli will field when India head out there at some stage later today. Meanwhile, Sok keeps on at it. Pujara defends until he has the space to whip, two through midwicket. Such a familiar pattern. Great comeback ball from O’Keefe, who beats the bat. First time that’s happened today, I reckon.

5.28am GMT

151st over: India 407-6 (Pujara 153, Saha 42). Lyon is giving it a rip, but the Indian pair are handling him without much trouble here. Both men use their feet to get down the track and take singles down the ground to begin the over. Pujara has another through the onside. The way they are going, the first innings lead will be just about secured by the lunch break.

The all-rounders picked at six this series (M.Marsh, Maxwell) have bowled just 7 out of a total 392.3 overs. #IndvAus

5.25am GMT

150th over: India 404-6 (Pujara 151, Saha 41). Cummins burst has concluded, O’Keefe swung around to the northern end. The spinner is making him answer a question each ball, landing where he needs to. But Pujara continues to be up for the challenge. Then an edge! To end the over. It goes low; Wade has no chance. He’s saved runs flinging the pad out in the end. Deeply frustrating for Smith and co all the same.

5.22am GMT

149th over: India 403-6 (Pujara 150, Saha 41). Saha bunts a single off Lyon to give Pujara the strike on 149. It takes till the final delivery, but he’s pushing behind point for the milestone, 150 runs in 391 balls. Both numbers significant, sapping the energy from this Australian attack. An innings that required him to consolidate with partner after partner. His concentration is immense.

First day of the Bangalore Test must seem a long time ago for Nathan Lyon. 0-188 since then

5.19am GMT

148th over: India 401-6 (Pujara 149, Saha 40). Cummins is back over the wicket after trying to shake things up from the other side in the previous over. The short ball still comes though, Pujara wanting none of it. Nor later in the over when he tries it on again. When full and straight, the Indian no. 3 is pushing out to deep midwicket, the single bringing up the 400. A mighty effort from Pujara, nearing 400 balls faced himself, one run from another personal milestone too. Saha less convincing when Cummins aims a bouncer at his throat, just getting the ball down. Leaning at the last ball, the outside half of his bat makes contact and it skips down to third man for one. A bit streaky, but they’re now only 50 behind.

5.13am GMT

147th over: India 399-6 (Pujara 148, Saha 39). Lyon v Saha. He turns the third ball past the man at 45 for one. Pujara takes a single at the first time of asking, knocked into midwicket. A biiiig Nathan Lyon shout, down on the knee pleading. He really has the best appeal in the business at the moment. Shame it is missing leg-stump. He has had some success getting decisions from around the wicket to right-handers like that over the journey, so I get the enthusiasm.

Cummins for his second spell this morning feels a little last chancey for Australia. @CricProf has them at a 2.6% on win predictor.

5.11am GMT

146th over: India 397-6 (Pujara 147, Saha 38). Cummins straight back after two overs from Hazlewood. Didn’t expect that. But he is, after all, a young strapping lad. He is round the wicket, continuing with the approach Hazlewood deployed before the drinks break. Pujara ducks then sways. So he has used up his two bouncers right away. Oh, maybe not? Another comes later. He defends between times. Nothing doing here. Maiden.

A counterview on the VVS situation from Nimesh Nambiar. “VVS Said (in reference to maxi’s silly antic) ‘Especially after what happened to Phil Hughes, everyone is concerned when someone gets injured.’ I understand it as you don’t make fun of the injured after such horrific tragedy. He uses Hughes’ accidental demise as a tragic benchmark to say where we should draw the lines when it comes to on-field antics. I can’t seem to find a shred of disrespect to the late Hughes in this totally innocuous comment.”

5.06am GMT

145th over: India 397-6 (Pujara 147, Saha 38). Lyon is on, getting one in before the drinks break is due. A decent amount of spin to begin in at Saha, who uses it to collect two into the on-side. Another comes through midwicket, but the Aussie offie looks in the game. Pujara retains the strike with one of his own to end the set. They drink, the hosts 54 behind. Eight hours Pujara has now batted for.

This is the first Test in India where No. 3 batsman from either side has faced 300+ deliveries – Smith & Pujara. #IndvAus

5.02am GMT

144th over: India 393-6 (Pujara 146, Saha 35). Hazlewood had a little word to Saha after finishing his previous over. That battle continues to begin this over. But only briefly, another taken behind point, the Indians scoring zone of preference this morning. A compact cover drive from Pujara ticks the board over for a further couple. Back to back bumpers come in response. He ducks both, the second coming after a tweak to the field to add an extra catcher on the leg-side. Another shorter one finishes the over. Hazlewood desperate to change the thread of this session before it gets out of hand.

Pete Miller is back to be in response. “I have found the amount of humble pie that has been gobbled up by Australians that got this pitch completely wrong brilliantly entertaining. Schadenfreude is a beautiful ugly thing.” Reasonable. But I challenge anyone to have arrived here two days out and not asked a few questions. It looked horrid and the players agreed. Yet here we are.

4.57am GMT

143rd over: India 390-6 (Pujara 144, Saha 34). Another chapter in the O’Keefe v Pujara test of willspower. Five of six times he’s required to use his bat, and does so with comfort. Maiden. Where’s Lyon, though?

4.54am GMT

142nd over: India 390-6 (Pujara 144, Saha 34). Hazlewood to Pujara. Again he is able to score on the off-side past point. In complete control. Saha clips a couple more through midwicket. A first innings lead looking more likely by the over for the hosts. Hazlewood goes upstairs to try and provoke something ill-considered from Saha, akin to the false stroke from Pujara last time around, but he doesn’t succeed.

Chief cricket writer at The Oz, Peter Lalor, has joined the ABC radio commentary and is off the long run on the VVS Laxman comments from yesterday. He’s not happy. “I’m sorry VVS, you don’t drag Phillip Hughes’ name into something trivial about this,” Lalor said. “Some of them out there were with him when he took his last breath.” A bit of perspective there on why the Australians were so dismayed.

4.48am GMT

141st over: India 387-6 (Pujara 143, Saha 32). Long time since we’ve seen Nath Lyon. Just thought that’s worth noting, as O’Keefe begins a new over. Saha looks at ease driving early in the over, albeit to fielders in the off-side ring. He then beats mid-off for one. Pujara responds by tucking one into midwicket. SOK finds his range with the last ball though, biting and bouncing into Saha’s splice after finally moving round the wicket. But no man catching in there now.

4.45am GMT

140th over: India 385-6 (Pujara 142, Saha 31). The lights are on at the JSCA Stadium. Didn’t expect that before opening the curtains this morning. The haze remains, it’s very dark. Oh, that reminds me – did everyone see the iPhone/light reader malarkey at Wellington the other day? It’s very, very good. Have a look. Back to Hazlewood, Pujara again scores to third man. A couple this time, square of the sweeper out there. Plenty of runs in that direction this morning, both batsmen happy to open the face at will. Back on the front foot, he defends comfortably. So Hazlewood fulfils his obligation to follow with a bouncer. It works, encouraging the hook with no contact. Had he hit it, it could have gone anywhere; didn’t look in control. A small victory to the bowler, but no damage done.

4.41am GMT

139th over: India 383-6 (Pujara 140, Saha 31). Pujara kicks O’Keefe. Until he gets some room, then he turns him into the deep. Easy batting. Saha is a proppy when one slides back towards him, but when he gets the same delivery later in the over it is short enough to take out to midwicket for a couple. A penny for Steve Smith’s thoughts, and all that.

This has been the first time this tour when O’Keefe has struggled with lengths. He’s bowled some too full, but a lot too short.

4.39am GMT

138th over: India 380-6 (Pujara 139, Saha 29). Right, so it’s only a three over stint for Cummins. Understandable given how much work he’ll need to do if they are to win this Test. Hazlewood replaces him and does what he does. He won Saha’s inside edge when bringing the first ball back, but he’s more solid in defence thereafter. The batsmen trade singles behind point to end the over. Good cricket from them, closing in on the Australian total slowly but consistently.

4.35am GMT

137th over: India 378-6 (Pujara 138, Saha 28). Sok to Saha. He gets back and turns to fine leg early in the over for one. That’s the 50 stand between these two. Excellent batting at a vital time. Came together after losing a couple of relatively quick wickets, and Saha has proved the perfect support to Pujara. The latter is defending and kicking, returning to the groove of yesterday’s afternoon session.

Gentle man Petey Miller (don’t let his twitter account deceive you) has corresponded with me via email. This might be a first for us. Given how quiet it is on the twitter, I’m grateful for it.

4.27am GMT

136th over: India 377-6 (Pujara 138, Saha 27). Cummins continues from the northern or pavilion end. He sprays the first ball, a bouncer, high and wide over Pujara’s shoulder. Probably should have been signalled a wide, but isn’t. A carve behind point gets him one. Saha repeats that stroke later int he later. The board is ticking over, both batsmen look relatively set and Cummins is now three overs into what could only be a maximum four or five over spell. Australia may be turning to Plan B rather soon. It’s quiet and they need it to be loud.

4.23am GMT

135th over: India 375-6 (Pujara 137, Saha 26). Short, wide, four. Pujara may be very content in defence, but doesn’t miss out when O’Keefe gives him free runs. A rare bad ball from the left-armer, who has bowled with considerable discipline. He then cuts for one to get down the other end. Saha defends out the over.

4.21am GMT

134th over: India 370-6 (Pujara 132, Saha 26). Is that a dropped catch? Cummins thinks so, off the inside edge, beating Saha after chopping him in half. The replay says it fell short and maybe didn’t hit the edge. In any case, he’s dangerous again. Later in the over he was tickled to fine leg, giving Pujara one Cummins delivery to look at. He steers it with class to third man. No concerns whatsoever for him, now into his third day at the crease.

Pujara vs Cummins

50 balls, 35 runs, 5 boundaries, 36 dots #INDvAUS

4.17am GMT

133rd over: India 368-6 (Pujara 131, Saha 25). The Sok v Che contest continues. Was boring yet riveting stuff late on day three. Sure enough, it is a maiden here as the two feel each other out. Full and flighted the early plan from the spinner.

I have an explanation for the below. Once it becomes apparent that you’re dining with IPL journeyman Dirk Nannes, it’s selfies by extension. Or maybe the deeply suspect tour beard.

Adam Collins wasn’t to be left behind either.Did it have to do with that great hairstyle?@collinsadam @abcgrandstand

4.12am GMT

132nd over: India 368-6 (Pujara 131, Saha 25). So close to a fifth wicket, Cummins next ball to Saha, after being so close to having him, is driven through the covers for four. That’ll frustrate ya. A bouncer follows. Out the way he gets. The over ends with a couple more for Saha, who started the set the worst possible way and ends it six runs for the better.

An early email in from Nuggehalli Nigam. Thank you for it. “Can we take a moment to acknowledge, amidst the blame, counter blame, sledging and (alleged) cheating, the contribution that these two teams have made to test cricket? The delicate desperate brilliance of Cummins and the Buddha like patience of Che have shown why test cricket can’t be bested. Two teams battling each other in a test of skill and character that will, even if not apparent now, only serve to elevate both the teams.”

4.06am GMT

NOT OUT! Missing down the leg-side. The decision will be overturned by TV Umpire Llong and Saha survives. Blimey. What a start from Cummins; fast and full. But he’ll have to go again.

4.05am GMT


4.04am GMT

131st over: India 362-6 (Pujara 131, Saha 19). Nearly a run out first ball of the day! O’Keefe is operating from the southern end, barely visible through the deep haze. Maybe that influences the batsmen, who decide to set off on a quick single to mid-off. Warner takes a ping, but misses. He was just safe in any case, so fair play to him. After a hurried over, they consider going again to finish the over. Sketchy start.

3.55am GMT

I realised last night that I’m going to boarding a nine hour night bus from Delhi to Dharamsala for the final Test. Not quite the same mode of transport, but this has been in my head ever since. Let it be our pre-play song as we wait for the players.

3.51am GMT

Pat Cummins has had a chat.

To the ABC, before play. The guts of it:

3.40am GMT

Good morning and welcome to Guardian Australia’s live over-by-over coverage from Ranchi on day four of the third Border-Gavaskar Test. It’s Adam Collins here, coming to you from the Southern End of the JSCA Stadium, ready to take you through the first couple of hours. And I can’t bloody wait.

Looking out, it is very hazy with the sun a long way from burning through. No suggestion of rain; it doesn’t do that here. Once we kick off, Australia will need to make their move. We have six sessions to go in this Test and to convert their first innings of 451 into victory, a first innings lead is essential. Anything less will sting. Thankfully the tourists have Pat Cummins. What a guy.

11.48am GMT

Adam will be with you shortly. In the meantime, recap all of yesterday’s extraordinary action in Ranchi.

Related: Pujara century defies Cummins and Australia on third day in Ranchi

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Mar 18

Pujara century defies Cummins and Australia on third day in Ranchi

  • India 360-6 at stumps on day three of the third Test, trailing by 91 runs
  • Che Pujara posts monumental century after Pat Cummins’ four wickets

Pat Cummins struck three times on a tense third day of the third Test against India to give Australia hope of a victory that would ensure the visitors retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. The four-Test series is level after two dramatic matches and the contest in Ranchi is on track to be a classic.

India were 360-6 at stumps on Saturday, trailing Australia by 91 runs. Cummins and Josh Hazlewood bent their backs throughout an absorbing day in which wickets and runs were hard to come by. Cheteshwar Pujara became the top-ranked Test side’s first centurion of the series.

Related: Pujara century keeps India in the hunt in Ranchi – as it happened

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Mar 17

Third Test evenly balanced as India build following Steve Smith masterclass

  • Australia 451; India 120-1 at stumps on day two in Ranchi
  • Smith runs out of partners on 178 before India fight back

India mounted a positive reply after Steve Smith’s unbeaten 178 and Glenn Maxwell’s maiden century powered Australia to a series-high 451 on day two of the third Test.

Lokesh Rahul made an elegant 67, his fourth half-century in five innings, before Pat Cummins dismissed him in the paceman’s first Test after more than five years in the wilderness. 

Related: India fight back on day two of the third Test against Australia – as it happened

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Mar 17

India fight back on day two of the third Test against Australia – as it happened

  • India 120-1 at stumps on day two in Ranchi
  • Australia post 451 in their first innings
  • Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell make centuries for Australia

11.41am GMT

Here’s your match report:

Related: Third Test evenly balanced as India build following Steve Smith masterclass

11.16am GMT

After Australia prospered this morning, India fought back in the afternoon and evening to leave the third Test beautifully poised.

451 is an imposing total but Australia’s attack looks a tad popgun without Mitchell Starc on a placid surface that’s offering very little to either Nathan Lyon or Steve O’Keefe. KL Rahul batted well for his 67 until he was undone by Pat Cummins’ persistence. Murali Vijay and Che Pujara will resume at the crease tomorrow.

11.06am GMT

40th over: India 120-1 (Vijay 42, Pujara 10)

Final over of the day to be bowled by O’Keefe. A few teasers are thrown up, but Vijay, sans helmet, or cap, knocks them away.

11.04am GMT

39th over: India 120-1 (Vijay 42, Pujara 10)

Vijay’s waited until the opening delivery of the penultimate over of the day to reveal one of the shots of the innings, driving Lyon off the front foot for a glorious four through mid-off.

10.59am GMT

38th over: India 115-1 (Vijay 37, Pujara 10)

As the shadows stretch the width of the romantically named JSA International Stadium Complex, Josh Hazlewood puts his shoulder to the wheel once more. Two slips and a short leg wait for Pujara but the batsmen ignores them all, drilling an on-driven full toss for four.

10.56am GMT

37th over: India 111-1 (Vijay 37, Pujara 6)

Vijay brings up his Cowan ton of 100 balls faced with a single as Lyon continues his angle from around the wicket to the right-handers. The bowler’s line and length are spot on, but there’s just not much happening off the surface to make the batsmen jump like they did in Bengaluru.

Stumps not far away on day two with the Aussies searching for the second wicket… #INDvAUS

10.51am GMT

36th over: India 109-1 (Vijay 36, Pujara 5)

Hazlewood replaces Cummins as Smith maintains pace at one end but this pair now seem happy to see off the day. An up and down maiden leaves little to describe.

10.47am GMT

35th over: India 109-1 (Vijay 36, Pujara 5)

Better from Lyon, troubling Vijay from around the wicket. First almost jagging an LBW review, ended by Gunner Gould telling the bowler the batsman hit the ball, and the second an uppish push that could have gone to short leg.

10.43am GMT

34th over: India 107-1 (Vijay 35, Pujara 4)

Cummins extends his spell to six overs. Sports scientists throughout Australia hold their breath. He can’t repeat his trick of his previous over though, but nor does he breakdown. Presumably that’s his lot for today though, and an excellent shift it’s been. 10/22/1

10.37am GMT

33rd over: India 105-1 (Vijay 35, Pujara 2)

Lyon brought back for another dart but he begins expensively. Vijay sweeps three fours in the over, the third a precise lap, the second a beautiful flat drive beyond square leg, but the first was a streaky top-edge that could have gone anywhere.

It’s been a long, long time between Test wickets for Pat Cummins and didn’t he enjoy this one! #INDvAUS

10.32am GMT

32nd over: India 93-1 (Vijay 23, Pujara 2)

Cummins backs up his wicket ball with a testing opener to Pujara, full and straight. On the money for the rest of the over too. Hard not to smile at the celebration of a man so cruelled by injury for so long. Well done young man. Spell of five overs one for six. Just what his country required with little happening for the spinners.

He’s back!
Cummins breaks Thru with a Bouncer
Mixing up length and pace here
India 1/91#IndvAus

@JPHowcroft Botham’s Shakespearean alter ego wd be either Sir Toby Belch or maybe Stephano. I’m sure the latter’s subservience rules it out

10.30am GMT

Breakthrough for Australia! Cummins’ hard work has paid off. A slower shorter delivery climbs on Rahul and he can’t drop his gloves in time as it chases him inside the line, feathering a simple catch behind. Terrific reward to the young fast bowler for a wholehearted spell.

10.28am GMT

31st over: India 91-0 (Rahul 67, Vijay 23)

Rapid straightforward maiden from O’Keefe.

10.25am GMT

30th over: India 91-0 (Rahul 67, Vijay 23)

Bravo Pat Cummins. On a lifeless surface he’s bending his back and searching for every available advantage, banging the ball in and forcing the batsmen to rear uncertainly, throwing in some cross-seamers, slower balls, and finally a yorker that provokes a strangled cry for LBW.

10.20am GMT

29th over: India 89-0 (Rahul 66, Vijay 23)

“Niiiiice Socky!” has replaced “Niiiice Garry!” as Matthew Wade’s cry of choice. Although it does make me think he’s cheering on a sock-puppet, not an international cricketer.

@JPHowcroft David Boon as Bill Sykes in Oliver. Slightly more intimidating than Oliver Reed

10.18am GMT

28th over: India 84-0 (Rahul 61, Vijay 23)

Cummins bowling a white-ball over, mixing his line, length and pace to keep the batsmen honest. It’s a smart tactic, denying the set batsmen any surety in their strokes. There’s little threat though, especially short of a length, although the final delivery, a slower one, does catch Vijay on his glove after spitting off the pitch.

10.12am GMT

27th over: India 83-0 (Rahul 60, Vijay 23)

O’Keefe’s turn again, but turn is not apparent for the left-armer as straight bats push away an over containing little threat and two singles.

Really pleased to announce a great new signing for @guardian_sport: @marthakelner is to join us as chief sports reporter.

10.09am GMT

26th over: India 81-0 (Rahul 59, Vijay 22)

Cummins begins the final hour of play in just his second first-class game since 2011. Not much doing out there though with dry lines outside off stump making for soporific cricket.

10.06am GMT

Gwynfor Jones wades into the Test thesps chat while players take drinks.

Farokh Engineer- Falstaff, Ashton Agar- Romeo, Kevin Pieterson- Mercutio, Rob Key- Bottom, Geoffrey Boycott- Titus Andronicus.

10.04am GMT

10.03am GMT

25th over: India 80-0 (Rahul 59, Vijay 21)

India have retreated for a few overs with the pacemen in tandem, sensing Cummins and Hazlewood are the dangermen for Australia. Or maybe not. Rahul enjoys a briskly run two from a push to wide third-man to break the shackles and he then steps neatly inside an in-swinger angled down the leg-side to glance four more. This partnership becoming very problematic for Smith.

@JPHowcroft Nathan Lyon looks a bit like Yorick.

9.57am GMT

24th over: India 74-0 (Rahul 53, Vijay 21)

Cummins returns for his second spell of the match with four deliveries on the money before his fifth, a slower ball, comes out a drifty full toss that earns Rahul a single. Not the same swing on offer as with Hazlewood.

Love to see Pat Cummins bowl a @Liam628 spell and bowl around the wicket armpit length!#IndvAus #aggressive

@JPHowcroft After an all-time great innings, Smith is captaining like a schoolboy. Too defensive, missing opportunities, failing his bowlers

9.52am GMT

23rd over: India 73-0 (Rahul 52, Vijay 21)

Hazlewood continuing with the early-over inswingers and Vijay decides to honour them this time, playing away a maiden.

9.47am GMT

22nd over: India 73-0 (Rahul 52, Vijay 21)

Lyon from around the wicket and Vijay peels off a paddle sweep over his left shoulder with all the insouciance of a falconer inviting a Golden Eagle to perch on his forearm. Rahul ups the ante with a sweep so whippy his wrists were at risk of overtaking his hands. That boundary brings up another excellent 50 for KL Rahul, his fourth in five digs this series.

9.44am GMT

21st over: India 68-0 (Rahul 48, Vijay 20)

Hazlewood getting some dangerous reverse swing both ways. Three full in-duckers have both right-handers jamming down on their toes at the crease and then an away swinger finds Vijay’s edge but it dies as it skcuttles through the cordon for a fortunate four.

9.40am GMT

9.39am GMT

20th over: India 61-0 (Rahul 42, Vijay 19)

Lyon to persist with his new line of attack around the wicket but with only two close catchers and some nimble shot-placement and running, both Rahul and Vijay continue to prosper. The latter picks up four with a thick edge beyond the solitary slip but the shot was on.

9.36am GMT

19th over: India 55-0 (Rahul 41, Vijay 14)

Important moment half an hour into this session with Hazlewood recalled to the attack. Straight away he’s on the money, probing Vijay’s pads with a hint of reverse in-swing. David Warner is working hard on the ball to make sure any possible movement is maximised, but it’s Vijay making the ball move in the middle of the over, dispatching an overpitched delivery to the cover boundary.

9.31am GMT

18th over: India 51-0 (Rahul 41, Vijay 10)

Lyon switching around the wicket to the right-handers now and with that change comes some extra bounce and turn. Finally a little bit of encouragement for Lyon. Nothing much comes of it this over, but something to build from.

9.27am GMT

17th over: India 49-0 (Rahul 40, Vijay 9)

Reinforcing my earlier point, the host broadcaster reminding viewers that when England were here recently they scored 400 in their first innings twice and contrived to lose. Another routine over of innocuous O’Keefe deliveries and calmly placed singles.

9.24am GMT

16th over: India 46-0 (Rahul 38, Vijay 8)

Vijay much more circumspect that his partner, keeping Lyon at arm’s length for most of the over, but even he unfurls a rapidly swishing sweep to advance his score. India picking off Australia’s length here, knowing they’re unlikely to be beaten by turn or bounce. Back to the seamer’s soon you’d expect.

9.21am GMT

15th over: India 44-0 (Rahul 37, Vijay 7)

As O’Keefe continues his toil the old adage about judging a surface only after both sides have used it comes to mind. 451 is clearly a decent total for Australia but this pitch contains few demons. As if to prove it Rahul scores on both sides of the wicket off front foot and back.

9.18am GMT

14th over: India 36-0 (Rahul 30, Vijay 6)

Another over with little to report for either side. Rahul’s premeditated sweep further illustrates his security at the crease, but also the limiting effects of his shoulder injury.

9.16am GMT

13th over: India 35-0 (Rahul 29, Vijay 6)

Tidy maiden over from O’Keefe, probing a fullish length outside the right-hander’s off stump. Not much has misbehaved so far though making life sedate for India’s openers.

9.13am GMT

12th over: India 35-0 (Rahul 29, Vijay 6)

India happy to sweep Lyon away for the time being, milking singles at will while Australia wait for the ball to deteriorate sufficiently to become helpful to Hazlewood and Cummins.

9.10am GMT

11th over: India 32-0 (Rahul 28, Vijay 4)

First false stroke since Tea with O’Keefe prompting Rahul to edge just wide of the solitary slip. This fast outfield sees the insult of four runs added to the bowler’s injury. Otherwise it’s slow turn and not much bounce for O’Keefe, meaning the batsmen can play comfortably from the crease.

9.06am GMT

10th over: India 26-0 (Rahul 23, Vijay 3)

Spin from both ends as Nathan Lyon has a dart. Not a lot on offer from either Australian slow bowler so far. India’s openers work a couple of singles to keep the scoreboard ticking over.

9.03am GMT

9th over: India 24-0 (Rahul 22, Vijay 2)

Back underway in Ranchi with Steve O’Keefe charged with the first over after Tea. He’s coming around the wicket to the right-handed Rahul and after nudging a few deliveries back down the pitch the batsman rocks back in his crease and controls a square drive for four. Excellent resumption from India.

9.00am GMT

During the tea interval the Australian TV feed is recalling the tied Test of 1986 with Allan Border.

Not many people know that Dean Jones vomited during his innings of 210.

8.54am GMT

Thank you very much Mr Lemon.

A fascinating final session in prospect with Australia pushing for an early breakthrough and India desperate for the top-order partnership they need to creep their way back into the Test match.

8.44am GMT

That’s the break, India starting solidly enough in reply to Australia’s impressive total. In honesty, this pitch looks like it still has plenty of runs in it. Geoff Lemon out, and I don’t know if tones can be dulcet in the written form, but if they can then JP Howcroft will be the man to deliver them. I’ll leave you in his voicebox.

8.41am GMT

8th over: India 20-0 (Rahul 18, Vijay 2)

Cummins arriving at the end of his usual T20 spell. Not bad for a fourth T20 over, it only costs him 9 runs. The first a cover drive, the second a classic T20 edge through third man, and Rahul the batsman profiting from both. Then a single through cover, a final leave from Vijay, and that is tea.

8.36am GMT

7th over: India 11-0 (Rahul 9, Vijay 2)

Do you know what I love? Fast overs of left-arm spin. Steve O’O’O’Keefe is going to bowl one, at least, before tea. Around the wicket, wheeling in, those grenade lobs that he employs to begin a spell. A couple of singles driven, that’s all.

8.34am GMT

6th over: India 9-0 (Rahul 8, Vijay 1)

Finally a shot with some fluency. In the air, but Rahul uses Cummins’ pace as he flicks off his pads. Between Marsh at short leg and Lyon at midwicket, and four. More quick stuff from Cummins follows, up past the 90 mile mark at points. Can’t deny it’s exciting. The question is can it last?

8.29am GMT

5th over: India 5-0 (Rahul 4, Vijay 1)

The struggle is real. Another Hazlewood over for just a run, this coming again from the short ball, pulled by Rahul. Tight stuff.

8.25am GMT

4th over: India 4-0 (Rahul 3, Vijay 1)

Cummins is giving this his all. Might as well, with the new ball and not much time to use it. Puts some real venom into the bouncers, and even his shortest ball is up at 87 miles per hour. The only runs come from Rahul’s gloves, as he flinches away from a short ball and could have been caught anywhere.

8.21am GMT

3rd over: India 3-0 (Rahul 2, Vijay 1)

Hazlewood doing that thing that he does. Beating the bat on the inside edge, hitting Vijay too high to be leg-before. Then beating him on the outside edge, through into Wade’s gloves. Eventually Vijay escapes the examination by pulling a short ball. Rahul adds a run of his own on the other side of the wicket.

8.18am GMT

2nd over: India 1-0 (Rahul 1, Vijay 0)

Yes indeed. Pat Cummins last bowled in Barack Obama’s first term in office. Or Nick Fredriksson’s more charming comparison below. His first over back (Pat’s, not Nick’s) is a good one. Mid 140 km/h range, useful line, a couple of shorter ones. It’s a maiden, as Rahul plays with caution.

@WhiteLineWire Pat Cummins’ previous Test match was closer to the redefining of Pluto as a dwarf planet than to today.

8.12am GMT

1st over: India 1-0 (Rahul 1, Vijay 0)

Hazlewood to start with the new ball. Nearly a run out first ball, as KL Rahul goes on a mad dash after driving to mid-on. O’Keefe misses. Vijay leaves, defends.

8.01am GMT

137.3 overs: Australia 451-10 (Smith 178)

Steven Smith, not out at the end, what an innings from the captain. He’s equalled his longest ever knock, at 361 balls faced, and his fourth-highest in terms of runs. Third-highest score in Asia by an Australian captain, as well, after Greg Chappell’s 235 and Mark Taylor’s 334. He’s remained calm, batted deep, and made India work for a day and a half in the field. That’s an imposing first-innings score to try to get past, and it’s going to be a question of whether India’s batsmen can reciprocate in terms of patience and pressure. No one is going to smash their way to supremacy on this surface, but it will reward those with a longer view.

7.57am GMT

He is the specialist at being run out at the non-striker’s end for nought, and Hazlewood does it again. It was Smith’s call, he flicked a single away behind square from Jadeja’s third ball, wanted to get back for the second, but the throw was good enough. Jadeja gathers it in front of the stumps and underhand flicks it back into the timber just ahead of Hazlewood’s bat reaching its ground.

7.49am GMT

137th over: Australia 450-9 (Smith 177, Hazlewood 0)

One wicket to fall. Hazlewood in, and Smith is clearly not too confident. He tries to murder the first ball from Yadav through cover, misses. Then drives the next into the deep but doesn’t take the single. The field well back. Same goes for the third ball. Takes the single from the fourth, after driving it into his pad from the inside edge. There is no one within cooee, and the bowler cleans up his own work. Comes round the wicket to the left-handed Hazlewood, but he survives the last two full-pitched balls.

7.44am GMT

136th over: Australia 449-9 (Smith 176)

Jaddu gets five-for. So dangerous in these conditions, so good against Australia. Lyon scores his sole run from the outside edge, but a couple of balls later the next edge goes to the man in close on the off side to end the over.

7.41am GMT

135th over: Australia 446-8 (Smith 174, Lyon 0)

Yadav celebrates the wicket by falling over as he tries to bowl his second ball at Lyon. Does an accidental leprechaun heel-click and goes rump over breast. Comes up smiling at the end of a dramatic forward roll. Lyon survives the next couple of balls.

7.36am GMT

Geological eruption! Yadav bangs in the short ball, there’s good pace on it. He’s conjured that from somewhere deep in his molten core. O’Keefe can’t resist the hook shot, and it carries down to long leg for a routine take. That’s O’Keefe’s Test highs core, and he’s lasted 70 balls. Useful stuff.

7.33am GMT

134th over: Australia 445-7 (Smith 173, O’Keefe 25)

Ashwin wheels on. This is screaming in the face of eternity. He is tiring, bowling some wide stuff, and the batsmen work three runs. This slow accumulation. Does a rock feel pain as centuries of water erode it?

7.30am GMT

133rd over: Australia 442-7 (Smith 171, O’Keefe 24)

Yadav carries on. Too wide, Smith is able to drive a single. Yadav is getting some reverse though now. Gee, he’s good. O’Keefe is watchful, waits out the rest of the over.

7.24am GMT

132nd over: Australia 441-7 (Smith 170, O’Keefe 24)

Ashwin still operating over the wicket, spinning the ball as much as he can in towards the right-hander’s pads and gloves. Smith waits back on a couple,t he comes forward to drive a single. He’s worked these spin bowlers supremely through this innings. It has been an absolute study in concentration. He’s just equalled his second-longest innings at 346 balls.

7.20am GMT

131st over: Australia 440-7 (Smith 169, O’Keefe 24)

Another misfield. India beginning to tire. It’s been a long slog. Karun Nair lets the ball through at cover for a single. O’Keefe has a couple of short midwickets, and slams the ball off his pads straight at one of them. Yadav sticking to the classic stump-to-stump theory. Then O’Keefe gets a short one to close the over, it sits up nicely and he clouts it away on the pull shot for four.

7.16am GMT

130th over: Australia 435-7 (Smith 168, O’Keefe 20)

Another Jadeja maiden, he’s going at 2.5 an over, which is expensive for him and cheap for everyone else.

7.15am GMT

129th over: Australia 435-7 (Smith 168, O’Keefe 20)

Pace. Sigh of relief for the fingers of the world’s live bloggers. Umesh Yadav is back. Smith drives a run into the covers. O’Keefe plays the classic tailender’s ‘glide’ to third man. Smith gets one that barely gets off the pitch, that’s interesting, this pitch has the possibility to become very difficult alter with some variable bounce. He gets a run after squirting the rushed defensive shot away. O’Keefe gets one too far to leg side and is able to dink it away. Four singles from the over.

7.08am GMT

128th over: Australia 431-7 (Smith 166, O’Keefe 18)

Nailed it! O’Keefe gets some width from Jadeja and pounds the cut shot for four.

7.05am GMT

127th over: Australia 426-7 (Smith 165, O’Keefe 14)

So nearly gone! The Smith single to start the over was regulation, but then Ashwin turns one into O’Keefe. The batsman stabs at it, it takes the inside edge, into the thigh pad, over the middle bail, and eludes the wicketkeeper’s gloves. Four runs.

7.03am GMT

126th over: Australia 421-7 (Smith 164, O’Keefe 10)

Jadeja stays left-arm over the wicket. It takes Smith four balls to get off strike this time. A big shout against SOK next ball, but it’s hitting bat first as it strikes him in line.

7.01am GMT

125th over: Australia 420-7 (Smith 163, O’Keefe 10)

Ashwin bowling, and Smith ticks a single through square, before O’Keefe advances and slots one straight down the ground for a much more convincing boundary then his last. I bet he congratulated himself in the third-person tense after that.

6.58am GMT

124th over: Australia 415-7 (Smith 162, O’Keefe 6)

Shot! Steve Smith on-drives Jadeja from a leg-stump line. Four runs to start the over. Tickles a single. O’Keefe is getting a lot of balls pitching outside leg stump, and kicks them away.

6.57am GMT

123rd over: Australia 410-7 (Smith 157, O’Keefe 6)

Missed! O’Keefe slashes at Ashwin outside off, thick edge, and it goes just over the cap of a crouching Rahane at slip. The stand-in captain had no chance to even see that before it was past him, I’d suggest. But I’d bet Kohli is still spitting chips.

6.53am GMT

122nd over: Australia 406-7 (Smith 157, O’Keefe 2)

Variations on a theme. Now the Smith single comes through a misfield in close on the leg side. Then O’Keefe gets a run! Irish parties around the world light up. More so because it came off an edge, through a vacant gully, where a catcher had been stationed just a ball or two earlier.

6.50am GMT

121st over: Australia 404-7 (Smith 156, O’Keefe 1)

And again, except this time the single is from the third ball. Smith’s live average is now 61.20. What even.

6.48am GMT

120th over: Australia 403-7 (Smith 155, O’Keefe 1)

Identical over bar the arm of the bowler. Jadeja delivering it. Smith drives the second ball down the gorund for one, O’Keefe is the blotter for the rest.

6.45am GMT

119th over: Australia 402-7 (Smith 154, O’Keefe 1)

Single to Smith to long on. Steven O’Keefe, the most appropriate Australian player to be commenting about on St Patrick’s Day, will really kick things off after lunch with the bat, and Ashwin with the ball. We know O’Keefe can play long, he was part of the incredible 8-161 partnership with Peter Nevill in Pallekele last year. Blocks out four balls with studious intent.

6.39am GMT

As ever, you can drop me a line – and please do take up that option, even if I’m lost in a whir of Jadeja overs and furious keystrokes. The email is over in the sidebar, and the Twitter whatsit is @GeoffLemonSport.

6.25am GMT

Hello friends and sports fans, thanks Russell for the last session. What a treat we have ahead of us. This is the series that just keeps giving. Steven Smith is a cyborg, that’s the only explanation for it. Glenn Maxwell is pure excitement, even in defence.

6.23am GMT

Meanwhile, in New Zealand…

What is this?

6.07am GMT

One final observation before Geoff Lemon steps in to the OBO chair…

India have been conservative with Virat Kohli’s injury and given the below details, that’s smart.

India have confirmed with the match officials that Kohli’s injury is external so he doesn’t have field before batting anywhere. #INDvAUS

6.02am GMT

118th over: Australia 401-7 (Smith 153, O’Keefe 1)

And that is that for the opening session of day two, which featured Glenn Maxwell’s maiden Test century, the inevitable continuation of Steve Smith’s 19th, and a stellar bowling rearguard by Ravindra Jadeja. He’s got four wickets to this point. Sloppy outfielding helped bring up Australia’s 400 in this over, which was fitting enough. Honours slightly in Australia’s favour, in the end? I think so. They managed 102-3 in that session. That’s a win.

5.58am GMT

117th over: Australia 398-7 (Smith 150, O’Keefe 1)

Ten minutes ago Steve O’Keefe probably wasn’t expecting to be out in the middle before lunch, but that he is thanks to Ravindra Jadeja. O’Keefe pushes forward to Ravichandran Ashwin and gets a safe outside edge down to third man to get off the mark. Steve Smith then gets a single too – it keeps him on strike and helps him to his 150-run milestone. Bit of a fizzer, the celebration, but what a knock it has been. It’s taken 315 deliveries and required significant powers of concentration. His genius is almost monotonous at this point.

5.55am GMT

Jadeja gets Cummins for a duck! That’s an absolute jaffa from the spinner. He came around the wicket to right-handed Cummins, angled one towards leg and the Australian groped at but couldn’t make contact with the ball and loses the top of his off stump. A classic spinner’s wicket, that. Jadeja is now on the brink of another five-wicket bag and India are right back in the frame.

5.52am GMT

Wade departs! And rather tellingly, he does so with a forward defensive stroke. All-out attack netted him 37 from 50 deliveries – very valuable runs for Australia – but in respecting the bowling a little more he’s been nipped out by India’s best bowler so far. It was a smart take by Saha after a thin outside edge.

5.49am GMT

115th over: Australia 393-5 (Smith 147, Wade 36)

Ashwin is perhaps pushing it through a little too quick here I reckon, though he does have a couple of hundred more Test wickets than me. Michael Clarke is laying into India, saying they’re trying to save runs instead of search for wickets. He’s not too far wrong.

5.46am GMT

114th over: Australia 392-5 (Smith 147, Wade 35)

Jadeja is over the wicket to Wade and bowling from as wide on the bowling crease as the lines allow. It matters not; Wade engages in that unorthodox trot down the pitch before swiping another sweep through mid-wicket for four. He’s becoming an absolute pest for India, and now it is they who wish the lunch break would hurry up.

Genuinely thinking about bumping Glenn up a spot on my list of forty funniest cricketers after today’s first ball. #Maxwellball

5.43am GMT

113th over: Australia 386-5 (Smith 146, Wade 30)

We’re just under 20 minutes from lunch on day two and the session is really starting to slip away from India. Now Wade biffs Ashwin through square leg for four, and actually just seems to be having fun with his batting. It’s most irritating for Virat Kohli as he sits up in the changing rooms, I’m sure.

5.39am GMT

112th over: Australia 381-5 (Smith 145, Wade 26)

Every time Matthew Wade walks down the pitch and tries to sweep Ravindra Jadeja, a dog-eared copy of Don Bradman’s ‘The Art of Cricket’ spontaneously combusts. It’s a sight and a half, is what I’m saying. Still, Jadeja even rips one past the outside edge of Steve Smith in this over, and that’s not something we’ve seen very often so far. Steve O’Keefe will be liking the look of that. Smith will like the look of his partnership stats; a single here means he and Wade have shared in a 50-run stand from just 10.4 overs. Jadeja looked like running through the tail half an hour ago. Now India are labouring.

5.36am GMT

111th over: Australia 379-5 (Smith 144, Wade 25)

Ashwin finally appears! But it’s not all good for India; Wade treats him like a rental car, skipping down the track and flogging one out to cow corner for a boundary. There follow some reactionary field changes. It’s not exactly inspiring stuff from the home side. They miss Kohli like Van Halen miss David Lee Roth.

5.33am GMT

110th over: Australia 372-5 (Smith 144, Wade 18)

In lieu of any Ashwin action, Jadeja is the threat here, but even he is troubling Wade a little less than in previous overs. Wade hasn’t played himself in, has he? As you ponder that, also ponder Nicholas Jewlachow’s great shadow golf suggestion: Craig Bellamy’s goal celebration against Barcelona in 2007.

5.30am GMT

109th over: Australia 370-5 (Smith 143, Wade 17)

Still no Ravichandran Ashwin. So Umesh gets another over, and Matthew Wade gets himself another boundary by opening up the face of the bat and running one to the vacant third man region. This is real dross from Rahane and Umesh; the paceman is not looking like taking a wicket and he’s not keeping things tight either.

5.25am GMT

108th over: Australia 364-5 (Smith 142, Wade 12)

Wade is just winding the Indians up now; he and Smith get through for a three that really should have been just the two. Then the Victorian keeper plays all around a big off break, which races away for four byes. Jadeja is really bringing them in out of the rough. The expiry date on Wade’s innings appears quite close.

Virat would be going nuts over these fielding errors. There’d be rockets. #INDvAUS

5.21am GMT

107th over: Australia 356-5 (Smith 139, Wade 11)

What’s wrong with Ravichandran Ashwin? Ishant gets a rest now but it’s Umesh Yadav replacing him. Matthew Wade rejoices in his reduced risk of dismissal by hammering the paceman through cover for a crisp boundary. He’ll be loving this. Indian Twitter, on the other hand, would like a very loud word with Ajinkya Rahane about his bowler rotation strategy.

5.16am GMT

106th over: Australia 349-5 (Smith 137, Wade 6)

In fairness to Matthew Hayden, sequential replays of each of the half-dozen deliveries bowled to Glenn Maxwell before his demise provided gripping viewing a moment ago. Jadeja was forcing him back and forcing him back, and the wicket ball was just a little bit shorter and bounced a little bit more. Seeing them all on end highlighted his canny variations. He’s also conceded only seven runs in six overs today, and continues to tighten the screws on Wade. Slowly but surely, he might be turning the game.

5.13am GMT

105th over: Australia 346-5 (Smith 135, Wade 5)

Breaking: Brett Lee was wrong. The ball definitely bounced before slapping into Wriddhiman Saha’s gloves in Ishant’s last over. Why were the broadcasters so excited about it? It almost took a divot out of the ground in the end. As Ishant labours away, Matthew Hayden is talking about all of Ravindra Jadeja’s “blue balls”. I think he’s referring to pitch-map technology this time.

5.08am GMT

104th over: Australia 345-5 (Smith 134, Wade 5)

Matthew Wade is in a spot of bother here in his attempts to handle Jadeja. He’s getting a long way outside off stump to try and negate the spin coming in to him from the footmarks, but he looks like a sitting duck as he shuffles around. His brightest spot so far is the final delivery of this over, which he whips through mid-wicket for a stress-relieving boundary.

Steve Smith (134no) now has the highest score by an Australia captain in India, beating Michael Clarke’s 130 in Chennai, 2013 #INDvAUS

5.02am GMT

103rd over: Australia 341-5 (Smith 134, Wade 1)

Ishant is steaming in with plenty of energy to Wade, who gets off the mark with a drive to long on. Drama ensues when Smith sends a bottom-edge behind the wicket and it doesn’t carry to keeper Wriddhiman Saha. Or does it? Replays soon show that the Indian keeper was overly cautious to wave off celebrations. It might have carried after all! Unlucky is Ishant’s middle name at the moment. Soon after Smith flays him through mid-wicket with that signature closed-face flick. Worse: Umesh and Pujara make a hash of a regulation stop at cover and it runs away for four more. Ishant is cursed.

4.56am GMT

102nd over: Australia 332-5 (Smith 126, Wade 0)

Hmm, Matthew Wade is the new man at the crease here and he’s immediately playing an impetuous sweep and copping one to his helmet. He gets a bye for his troubles but Ravindra Jadeja has done the trick again for India, ending a 191-run stand between Smith and Maxwell.

Glenn Maxwell is 13th person to score 100 in all 3 forms of international #cricket
2nd for AUS after Shane Watson#INDvAUS

4.54am GMT

Jadeja gets the breakthrough! And with that, Glenn Maxwell’s superb stand comes to an end. The ball was short and spinning away from him, and after transferring his weight onto the back foot he was trying to punch it through cover with a straight bat, but instead feathers an edge behind to Saha. The umpire’s finger is straight up and Maxwell elects not to review. That 104 came from 185 deliveries and proved every single doubter wrong. He’s a Test-quality batsman and now the entire cricket world has to admit it.

4.52am GMT

101st over: Australia 331-4 (Smith 126, Maxwell 104)

Ishant is back into the attack now, and here’s a little more on Glenn Maxwell’s hundred: it featured nine boundaries, two sixes, and is his sixth century in first-class cricket. More pressing: India have just missed an opportunity to run out Steve Smith

Maxwell looked to be in tears as he leant over. He knows it is a moment that could very well change the rest of his life. #INDvAUS

4.47am GMT

100th over: Australia 328-4 (Smith 124, Maxwell 103)

This Jadeja over couldn’t hope to compete with Maxwell’s milestone, and so it proves, though it is a maiden. Instead let’s turn to this lovely email from Daniel McDonald.

4.43am GMT

99th over: Australia 328-4 (Smith 124, Maxwell 103)

He’s done it! Glenn Maxwell is a Test centurion! It comes from the final delivery of the Umesh over, which is short and slashed through the cordon region to pick up four runs. How else would he do it? It’s taken him 180 deliveries and gotten his side out of a spot of bother, this knock. Superb stuff. Nothing less than a very dedicated cricketer deserves.

4.38am GMT

98th over: Australia 323-4 (Smith 123, Maxwell 99)

Glenn Maxwell has…played out a maiden, though not without incident. Ravindra Jadeja reckoned his penultimate delivery had claimed an edge but he’s wrong. This is very tense.

4.34am GMT

97th over: Australia 323-4 (Smith 123, Maxwell 99)

In fact Umesh gets another over, and Glenn Maxwell is watching him like a hawk. Umesh digs one in and Maxwell thinks it’s about to whistle past his ears, but it keeps low and cracks him on the shoulder. Grimaces all round. Maxwell gets a thick edge next up and it runs down to third man for one. Oof. He’s on 99. Squeaky bum time.

4.31am GMT

96th over: Australia 322-4 (Smith 123, Maxwell 98)

Time for some spin now as Ravi Jadeja rolls his arm over for the first time on day two. For Smith he’s got a silly point, a slip, and a short mid-on. “That’s a good move by Ajinkya Rahane,” says Sunny Gavaskar – words that didn’t often pass anyone’s lips yesterday. “It’s a truly benign wicket,” adds Matthew Hayden, perhaps wanting to pile further indignity on all the journalists who claimed it would be a minefield. A maiden for Jadeja. With Maxwell on strike next over and possibly nervous about his impending milestone, you’d think Ravichandran Ashwin will be asked to have a bowl.

4.28am GMT

95th over: Australia 322-4 (Smith 123, Maxwell 98)

As Umesh continues with his third over of the day, Craig Little arrives with a truly excellent shadow-sport anecdote. “Brisbane Bears forward Martin Heffernan got caught air-golfing during a game by Robert Walls,” he says. “After the game Walls asked Heffernan if he wanted to be a footballer or a golfer and he said “golfer”, thereby ending his five-game AFL career.” Brutal.

4.22am GMT

94th over: Australia 316-4 (Smith 123, Maxwell 92)

Glenn Maxwell rubbishes the 87 hoodoo by moving to 91 with an expertly-angled dab through gully, which hits he rope and leaves man-bunned Ishant shaking his head in disgust. He didn’t delete your Soundcloud account, Ishant. Nervous 90s for Maxwell. He then plays his most Maxwellian stroke so far; a duck-hook is the only way to describe it, as he was taking evasive action as he paddled it down to fine leg. He and Ishant really should collaborate on a remix.

4.17am GMT

93rd over: Australia 310-4 (Smith 123, Maxwell 87)

If you’re worried about Virat Kohli, he’s still off the ground. If you’re worried about Paul Connolly’s state of mind, and his shadow-batting form slump, fear not. “It’s the melancholy swimming in my Irish blood what does it,” he says. “Then again, my shadow penalty shots are routinely slotted into the top right corner. Unsaveable.” Related to all this: shadow golf is just not on, I reckon. Maybe I’m revealing some prejudices here but when have you ever liked someone who shadow golfs? Back in Ranchi, Glenn Maxwell has reached 87, the so-called unlucky number of Australian cricket. So unlucky, in fact, it was the year they won a world cup.

4.12am GMT

92nd over: Australia 308-4 (Smith 122, Maxwell 86)

As expected, Ishant Sharma pairs with Yadav to begin the day and he gets the same treatment from Smith as Umesh got from Maxwell; the Aussie skipper glides him down to the vacant third man boundary when his line strays a little wide outside off stump. Ishant approaches Maxwell from wide on the crease, firing it in on a middle stump line, but Maxwell is forward and defending with Dravidesque impenetrability, then sways out the way of a bouncer. Dad joke time:

@rustyjacko Maxwell batting on a “masala” pitch: does he have the tikka?

4.06am GMT

91st over: Australia 303-4 (Smith 117, Maxwell 86)

Umesh Yadav is granted the task of bowling the first delivery of day two and it SNAPS GLENN MAXWELL’S BAT IN HALF! OK, perhaps I should temper my enthusiasm here; it was only 137 kmph and Maxwell was playing a confident forward defence when it happened. Bizarre. It was a bit like the Ryan Harris-Michael Carberry one during the 2013-14 Ashes, though perhaps far less metaphoric in its ominous qualities.

4.00am GMT

We’re a few minutes away from the opening delivery

…and The Guardian’s own Paul Connolly writes in. “I need to spend more time in the shadow nets when it comes to my shadow batting,” he says. “Keep getting inside edges onto the stumps. I blame the warped floorboards.”

3.52am GMT

The pitch

“All in all, it looks like a good wicket to me,” says Brett Lee. “This is a masala pitch,” adds Sunil Gavaskar, at which point his audio cuts out. I assume he means that in a positive sense? Who knows? What is certain is that batting first is a decent advantage in this game, and Australia are surely setting their sights on 450+. Another few hours of Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell batting and that should be a cinch.

3.50am GMT

Shadow-batting time

And there is surely no more fun thing to do in your office/living room/train carriage, is there? I’m a big fan of shadow-bowling, as well. In the two years I’ve lived in my current house, I reckon I’ve taken at least 275 imaginary wickets down the long, narrow hallway. A word of warning: always make sure the coast is clear. There is nothing worse for guests than copping the full force of your delivery stride when you’re trying to dismiss imaginary Graeme Smith. It also stops you from dismissing imaginary Graeme Smith, of course.

Maxwell shadow batting in the middle while the teams warm up around him. Play resumes here at JSCA Stadium in about half an hour. #INDvAUS

3.45am GMT

Other things to look forward to

Virat Kohli’s return? He’s warming up on the ground at the moment, but he’s also wearing Wayfarer-style sunglasses, rather than yer wraparound type favoured by most players. Casual sunglasses! Is this a sign? Maybe.

3.39am GMT


Hello all and welcome to day two of this Ranchi Test between Australia and India – the match that might decide this series. Russell Jackson here to take you through the first session, before Geoff Lemon and JP Howcroft swing by to mop up the tail.

12.38am GMT

Russell will be here shortly. In the meantime, catch up on all the details from day one:

Related: Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell dominate India on day one in Ranchi

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article:

Mar 16

Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell dominate India on day one in Ranchi

  • Australia 299-4 at stumps on day one of the third Test against India
  • Smith (117) and Maxwell (83) undefeated in 159-run partnership

Steve Smith’s 19th Test century and Glenn Maxwell’s breakthrough batting performance pushed Australia to 299-4 at stumps on day one of the third Test against India. Smith and Maxwell dominated the hosts on Thursday, sharing an unbeaten 159-run stand in Ranchi.

It is already Australia’s highest fifth-wicket Test partnership in India and comfortably the highest stand in the ongoing four-Test series. Smith’s class, Maxwell’s composure, India’s misfields and Virat Kohli’s shoulder injury have handed Australia the perfect platform to push for a victory that will ensure they retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy.

Related: India v Australia: third Test, day one – live!

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article:

Mar 16

Australia’s Smith and Maxwell pile on runs in Ranchi – as it happened

  • Australia 299-4 at stumps on day one of the Ranchi Test against India
  • Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell’s 159-run stand edges tourists ahead

11.26am GMT

And one final thing: here is the report from day one in Ranchi.

Related: Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell dominate India on day one in Ranchi

11.14am GMT

A wonderful day for the visitors that looked in some doubt when Maxwell joined Smith. It was the second time a partnership had ended just after passing 50, and India would have felt some confidence about running through Australia’s lower-middle order if they could just do it one more time. But they wouldn’t, for the rest of the day.

Smith and Maxwell’s 194 minutes together has netted 159 runs, and will continue again in the morning. Smith’s fate, a 19th Test ton, was never in doubt at any stage today. Total control.

11.07am GMT

90th over: Australia 299-4 (Smith 117, Maxwell 82). Maxwell tries to cut the first. Rather unnecessary, but no edge. An inside-edgey sort of clip gets him off strike. That should be his lot for the day provided Smith is happy to see it out. Last ball of the day coming. Bit of extra noise, but nothing like Bangalore. Smith defends into the off side. And that’s stumps, my friends. I’ll gather my thoughts and wrap up the final session in a tic.

11.03am GMT

89th over: Australia 298-4 (Smith 117, Maxwell 81). Penultimate over of the day, and the final set from the northern end. Umesh has it, and he’s still bending his back. Hard not to like. He bounces Maxwell who tries to swat it away rather than getting out the way of it. For his sake, he’s lucky no contact was made. Carry on. And another! But not quite on target, so he doesn’t need to duck. His last ball of the day is carved by Maxwell down to fine leg for one, meaning he’ll keep the strike for the last of the day, presumably coming from Ishant.

Today, DiS is dedicating an entire day’s worth of content to the legend that was Dan Lucas. Sit back and enjoy…

10.58am GMT

88th over: Australia 297-4 (Smith 117, Maxwell 80). Ishant running away from us here from the southern end for what will be a 12-ball spell before stumps. He was ordinary this morning in his first spell, but bounced back well after lunch. Still, nothing in that wickets column. Bowling to Maxwell, his third delivery encourages a drive but Maxwell makes contact with the outside of the bat rather than the middle. But this outfield is quick enough for it not to matter, the ball beating squarish third man to the rope for his fifth boundary (to go with a couple of sixes). A quick single, that they are still keen to take even at this stage, gives Smith the strike back. He drives the last ball to mid-on and it beats the diving fielder, able to grab a couple to end the over. He’ll sleep well tonight, the captain. So much hustle.

How Australia saw the Ranchi groundsman vs the reality #INDvAUS

10.52am GMT

87th over: Australia 290-4 (Smith 115, Maxwell 75). Apologies for the lack of twitter action in the OBO this session. The press box wifi really has done a number on me, so I’m just going the belt and braces approach. Hope you’ll forgive me. Will invest in a back-up option for the rest of the Test. Back to the middle, it is Umesh with the new ball this time around. Smith flicks the first for one. Maxwell gets enough on a fuller ball later in the over to take one himself down the ground. That’s the 150 partnership between the two. We all talked about Maxwell being able to play this kind of innings-changing role at number six, and he’s certainly done that today. The job isn’t done, though. Has to be there at the end, and has to progress to three figures. All the hard work is done. Smith leaves the penultimate delivery as it just holds its line outside the off-stump. And defends the last.

10.48am GMT

86th over: Australia 288-4 (Smith 114, Maxwell 74). Ashwin is livid here. Ties up Smith who manages to get a glove on it and win a boundary. Then, persisting around the wicket to Maxwell later in the over, he misfires down the legside and Saha is beaten behind the stumps. Four byes. Another expensive over with none from it all told. Oh, and the second new ball will be taken after all, Rahane signalling to the umpires that he time has come with four overs to go on the opening day.

10.46am GMT

85th over: Australia 279-4 (Smith 109, Maxwell 74). Umesh given another go from the North End. We’re at the South End. They really need new names. Let’s save that for later in the Test. It’s a good, consistent maiden over to Maxwell, who is forced to play each delivery, coming back at him with ample reverse. They didn’t bother with the new ball when the chance was there. Probably a good call with these two set. Will only race away faster.

10.42am GMT

84th over: Australia 279-4 (Smith 109, Maxwell 74). Ashwin is back. He beats Maxwell immediately with one that doesn’t go. A good bowling change, as the Victorian looked well on top the last 20 minutes or so. Oh a reverse sweep comes next! That’s our guy! He doesn’t connect, a leg-bye is taken. Smith’s turn, and now with the ton out of the way he’s on the front foot and slaying through cover on the up. Gorgeous. Less pretty an outside edge to end the over, but it goes to ground and gets him a couple more. Australia piling on the runs in this final hour.

10.38am GMT

There it is! Smashing Vijay down the ground, Smith has broken free after a long time in the 90s to reach three figures. His second of the series, and he’s really enjoyed it too. Purposeful bat-waves to the rooms, and maybe even the Indian rooms? He looked a lock for this from the moment he walked out this morning. If they can retain the trophy here in a few days time, so much will be owing to the captain’s contrinution here today.

83rd over: Australia 272-4 (Smith 103, Maxwell 74).

10.35am GMT

82nd over: Australia 266-4 (Smith 98, Maxwell 73). Jadeja into his 30th today. What a contrast to the first dig in Bangalore when he only really got a jam roll in order to take a wicket and then was off again. Rahane must like his flowing hair better than the usual skipper, who is still off with the shoulder issue. Maxwell is defending the first half of the over before shouldering arms and trying to kick away one well outside leg stump. They reckon it got glove and appeal accordingly. It didn’t. Maxwell responds by popping him back over his head for six! Oh he enjoyed that! He’s into the 70s with a bullet. Smith walks down to chat to him with one ball to go in the over. Actually, it is the other way around: Maxwell has cramp? I think that’s the go. You get cramp from whacking a bloke over the rope? Not a bad way to acquire it, I guess. A longer breather ensues, everyone having a drink. Back in the saddle, Maxwell kicks away the last one. An eventful over.

10.24am GMT

81st over: Australia 260-4 (Smith 98, Maxwell 67). Maxwell does the mind thing and gives Smith the strike after taking one to square leg off part-timer Vijay’s first ball. He has five balls to find three runs for his hundred. But not yet, a single to cover he takes himself. Maxwell really wants to get Smith back up there and takes a quick single in the same direction. But Smith is happy enough to defend the final delivery.

That moment you wake up in a strange bed with someone you barely know… #indvaus

10.21am GMT

80th over: Australia 257-4 (Smith 97, Maxwell 65). I don’t really know how to describe the tangle Smith got himself into with Saha. After having a ball catch in his pads from Jadeja, the Indian keeper tried to pull the ball out of the flap to – presumably – claim a catch? Loose as. Anyway, to avoid that happening, Smith hit the deck and brought the stumper down with him. Some back and forth with the umpires, but the game goes on. I don’t reckon Smith liked the proposition too much to begin with though. Imagine he had of been successful. Would there’ve been an appeal? Ian Gould is laughing though. He’s one of those umpires who is more often than not. Part of his charm. Maiden it is. New ball due. Reviews reset. All that and more.

10.17am GMT

79th over: Australia 257-4 (Smith 97, Maxwell 65). Murali Vijay is the fifth bowler today. Glenn Maxwell likes that. A lot. He welcomes him to the crease by clobbering behind square for another boundary. He’s found another gear in the last half-hour. Don’t doubt he’ll be three figures by stumps if still there as well. He’s faced 100 balls in the innings as well, another small milestone, and in the context of this series, certainly not for nothing. Driving down the ground, a couple comes after he races between the wickets with his captain. Such good batting. Then he adds a couple more to end the over behind square.

10.15am GMT

78th over: Australia 249-4 (Smith 97, Maxwell 57). One of those 60-second maidens from Jadeja to Smith. I watched it while the wheels spun on my wifi connection with the previous post. But I assure you, it was uneventful. Let’s leave it there.

10.14am GMT

77th over: Australia 249-4 (Smith 97, Maxwell 57). A crowd-catch (or should I say, a Press Box catch, as a local journo starts clapping) where Smith digs a Umesh full ball back to the bowler in his follow through. Later in the over it is only Australian fans in the outer clapping, when Maxwell swivels and pulls with complete control, bisecting the two men out deep for a boundary. What a fantastic partnership this has been.

10.08am GMT

76th over: Australia 244-4 (Smith 96, Maxwell 53). Jadeja keeps going. Smith is very happy to get to this ton in singles, defending off the front foot until he’s too straight and can clip behind square. It’s the only run of the over, but I doubt they’ll mind. Jadeja’s not going to get any more potent as the day draws to a close. For the first time this series it might be the case that India actually need a third spinner.


10.04am GMT

75th over: Australia 243-4 (Smith 95, Maxwell 53). Always good to change the ball and get it hooooping first up. Smith takes it down to fine leg for a single. Maxwell is defending and leaving, but it is a probing over from the Indian quick. He’s had an impressive series.

Phil Withall on the email. Hi Phil. “At the time of Virat’s injury Russell implied it had been an attempt to motivate his side with a display of energy and enthusiasm. It could prove to be one of the worst motivational tools in history.” He’s still odd, the Indian captain. I’m sure he’ll bat, even if he’s in a sling. Even so. A big talking point, as they say.

He just looks like a proper cricketer.

9.58am GMT

Drinks, prematurely. Because the ball is out of shape. Umesh is back for the single delivery before they call out the water bottles. Probably the Maxwell six causing the damage. He’ll enjoy that post-script, no doubt.

9.55am GMT

74th over: Australia 234-4 (Smith 94, Maxwell 45). Well how about that! Glenn Maxwell has a Test half-century! With talent like his, it shouldn’t be in doubt whether he can deploy it at this level, but many have. But he’s played a clutch role with his captain today. With a nod to his other Big Show persona, the milestone is reached with a smash over cow corner beyond the boundary. The first six of the innings, and also the 100 partnership between this pair. A couple more to fine leg makes it eight from the over. Really needs a break now, Jadeja.

9.53am GMT

73rd over: Australia 234-4 (Smith 94, Maxwell 45). Now both players on milestone watch as Maxwell takes two this time down the ground to Ashwin early in the over. Very good running. When the off-spinner threw it up to entice the drive he got what he wanted, but the Victorian absolutely smashed it through the covers. Four runs for that in this game. A single out to cover keeps him the strike.

9.51am GMT

72nd over: Australia 227-4 (Smith 94, Maxwell 38). Maxwell’s highest Test score comes with a single to square leg to the penultimate ball of the over. He’s lucky to still be there after the first ball of the Jadeja set nearly glances his outside edge when playing off the back foot. Not insignificant: how good does he look batting in that baggy green?

9.45am GMT

71st over: Australia 226-4 (Smith 94, Maxwell 37). Milking them, they are now. Ashwin has a couple spit in his last two overs, but not so much here. It’s Smith turning around the corner when he’s too straight, then Maxwell taking one down the ground when too full. Smith does likewise before Maxwell ends the over with a cover driven single to the sweeper. Four singles, all along the carpet. India need something. Smith nearly has another ton.

9.43am GMT

70th over: Australia 222-4 (Smith 92, Maxwell 35). Jadeja v Maxwell, and you don’t get a chance to breathe. He’s right on these two. They take a single each to begin – Maxwell to the wide expanse at cover, Smith around the corner – before the tweaker lands four consecutive balls on a 20c piece to the former. But he’s in good nick knocking them around. Doesn’t even look tempted to do anything other than this.

9.41am GMT

69th over: Australia 220-4 (Smith 91, Maxwell 34). A bit of a half-chance, Smith getting an inside edge early in the Ashwin over. That’s the spin we were expecting from the get go. Anyway, doesn’t go to hand or anywhere near, so he can carry on. And carry on he does, into the 90s with another single to mid-on. A lot of runs for these two in the ODI-mould, down the ground then walked through. Maxwell does likewise, as if to want to prove my point. Before Smith ends the over coming down the wicket and cover driving. It’s not the most fluent of shots, but beats the field for a couple. The partnership is now 80. What they would give for it to be unbeaten when stumps are drawn in about 80 minutes from now.

Winviz still likes the home side, despite the visitors having a pretty good day so far: 31% Australia ,10% Draw, 59% India. As my colleague Jarrod Kimber says from the back of the box, that doesn’t factor in the Maxwell Aura. Obviously.

9.36am GMT

68th over: Australia 216-4 (Smith 88, Maxwell 29). Jadeja might need a breather here. He just hasn’t looked like it today, for mine, other than holding up an end. And even that doesn’t work out this time around, Maxwell handling matters with relative ease early in the over before getting deep in the crease to cut behind point. He gets three for that. It may not be the safest strategy when the left-armer has that one that comes back into the pads, but Maxwell has his eye on now. And we know when that is the case that he is incredibly hard to bowl to. Smith keeps the strike this time, with one behind square. Easy peasy, dare I say.

9.31am GMT

67th over: Australia 212-4 (Smith 87, Maxwell 30). Ashwin’s back. It was a matter of time. Smith drives him to long-off to begin before Maxwell defends and defends and defends again. Must be taking all the patience in the world from the Big Show to be anything but this afternoon. But a great shift he is putting in with his captain. A single tucked behind square keeps him the strike, as well.

9.30am GMT

66th over: Australia 210-4 (Smith 86, Maxwell 29). Maxwell gets off strike early in the over again to Jadeja. Has made a habit of that today. The contest this bowler had with at Pune with Smith was fascinating, but he’s struggled to pin him back today as he did there. A single to long-off denies any real pressure from building.

9.28am GMT

65th over: Australia 208-4 (Smith 85, Maxwell 28). Excuse the technical difficulties, a wifi problem that I won’t be leaving to press box chance tomorrow. I’m back. In this over, which admittedly I half saw, Ishant pushed through a maiden to Smith. The quick earned a half-shout for LBW, but it was denied. The skipper was happy enough in defence. As he should be this close to a ton.

9.26am GMT

64th over: Australia 208-4 (Smith 85, Maxwell 28). Oh, there he is! Surely this is the first time GJ Maxwell has faced 56 balls in an innings of any kind without a boundary? Well, it won’t be 57. He took on Jadeja’s first delivery here and blasted it within a couple of inches of the long-on rope. With the sweeper no longer in that position, it’s safe and four. A sign of things to come? Encouragingly, in a way, maybe not. The incumbent Aussies exchange risk-free singles before Maxwell plays the over out with a straight bat. Excellent work from the returning Australian number six.

9.17am GMT

63rd over: Australia 202-4 (Smith 84, Maxwell 20). A nice steer from Maxwell brings a couple and Australia’s 200. A clip gets him down the non-strikers end before Smith defends the remainder of the set.

Here’s a song Dan shared with me and I bloody loved from the moment I heard it. I think I popped it into the OBO another time actually. Anyway, give it a blast today. It’s so beautiful.

9.11am GMT

62nd over: Australia 199-4 (Smith 84, Maxwell 20). Jadeja is back, and after Maxwell bunts a single off the back foot to the sweeper at cover it is Smith. Oh and the captain has nearly thrown it away! From nowhere, he dances and swings, but the spinner probably saw him coming and rushed it through. The mishit nearly ends up in mid-on’s hands. Phew.

In case you are joining the coverage, by the way, Virat remains off the field. He did a shoulder when diving early in the second session. Hasn’t been seen since. Suggests something more serious than a glancing blow.

9.06am GMT

61st over: Australia 198-4 (Smith 84, Maxwell 19). Most productive start for Australia. Sure, the session started with Smith getting beaten by one that ultimately went under his bat. That’s the bounce he expected. Later in the over, with a bit of width from Ishant, he slaps to the boundary. Nicely waited on.

9.01am GMT

To the cricket. Australia have done superbly in the second half of that session to make the most of what the locals are saying are the best batting conditions of the day. Smith has looked on-point from the moment he walked out there. His 76th run marked 5000 in Tests, the equal 7th to reach the mark in 97 Tests. But when you consider how slow he started, it gets even better. As of this interval, he has 4380 runs in 75 hits since before his breakout century in August 2013 at 71. Cop that.

Meanwhile, Maxwell is slowly building in what is his most important Test innings to date as well after a good couple of years in baggy green exile. He resumes on 19 from 44 balls with no boundaries, let alone reverse sweeps.

8.56am GMT

Afternoon from Ranchi.

There’s a lot to talk about. But before I do that, I want to mark a place for Dan Lucas. Russ did a beautiful job earlier in his own preamble, which I nodded along to throughout. The first OBO I did in at Guardian HQ in London was with Dan. We had such a bloody good time that day as the rain fell and we talked trash about cricket and politics and music. I’ll miss his reliable company over the next two hours. I’ll also miss how caring he was when we weren’t on the clock either, which I explained over here when the awful news emerged. The OBO family won’t quite be the same.

8.46am GMT

That is it from me …but as Australia continue to make a decent fist of this series, stick with us as Adam Collins grabs the old ball and goes to work in the final session. Honours might have tipped ever-so-slightly in favour of Australia in session two, but they’ll want far bigger runs than this by the end of the day.

8.43am GMT

60th over: Australia 194-4 (Smith 80, Maxwell 19)

And that is tea on day one. The final over was a more testing one for Maxwell as Jadeja wheeled away and attacked his stumps with a typically flat trajectory. Matthew Hayden was all the while saying something about mountains and resilience, and finishes his stream of consciousness with this: “your performances need to be solid for your family coming in behind you.” Luckily Maxwell couldn’t hear him, and sees things through to the break. He’s 19 from 50 deliveries and his skipper 80 from 161. Big ticks for that session for the tourists.

8.39am GMT

59th over: Australia 194-4 (Smith 80, Maxwell 19)

Some of the local commentators are calling for a bouncer barrage to Glenn Maxwell, and I’m sure if Ishant could hear them he’d like to get them out there with a bat in their hands. Hard work on this deck, guys. Maxwell also needs to be on strike. With tea only minutes away, Smith is watchful as he sees off this over and caresses a superb cover drive to the rope from the final delivery.

8.34am GMT

58th over: Australia 190-4 (Smith 76, Maxwell 19)

Another early single to Maxwell, another late one to Smith, and with that the 50 partnership is up from 94 deliveries and Steve Smith passes 5,000 Test runs. Bradman is only 1,996 away. He might do that by this time next year, to be honest.

8.29am GMT

57th over: Australia 188-4 (Smith 75, Maxwell 18)

As Maxwell glides Ishant down to third man, replays show the ball would have been clipping leg stump, though not enough to have overturned Chris Gaffaney’s not out verdict. It’s also a good time to point out that tea is not far away and that this partnership is nudging close to 50 in no time. Maxwell has been industrious but careful so far; exactly what the situation demanded.

8.25am GMT

So whether of not it hits the stumps is a moot point.

8.24am GMT

It’s given not out, but they’re convinced.

8.23am GMT

56th over: Australia 184-4 (Smith 74, Maxwell 16)

Right as I’m talking him up, Maxwell almost runs himself out heading to the non-striker’s end, but the 3rd umpire quickly rules in his favour and he goes on his merry way gathering more singles. That’s all prelude to quite emphatic square drive from Smith, who spears Ashwin to the boundary at deep point to finish the over. That was a glorious shot.

8.20am GMT

55th over: Australia 176-4 (Smith 69, Maxwell 13)

Glenn Maxwell is playing like a proper Test batsman, he really is. I told people this was possible, and they didn’t believe me. One to keep in mind: he made arguably the best Sheffield Shield century of the decade on a green-top against New South Wales. Victoria had been 9-6, then 32-7, before he went on his one-man rescue mission. The man can really bat.

8.17am GMT

54th over: Australia 172-4 (Smith 67, Maxwell 11)

Again Maxwell works the single early in the Ashwin over, this time driving to long on with composure. At the risk of mozzing both of them, Smith is also looking very calm and methodical as he gathers his runs. Says Dave Kallucy: “In the last innings of the last Test, there was a lot of banter about what each person could personally do, and “wouldn’t it be amazing if…” which was later followed by another wicket and eventually the fall of the Test match. So hows about a little more respect for the jinx? Find yourself some wood, get superstitious and maybe we might make 250, he says knocking on the desk.”

8.14am GMT

53rd over: Australia 171-4 (Smith 67, Maxwell 10)

Ravindra Jadeja gets shot down after an LBW appeal here, and to add insult to injury the umpire is telling him to get off the pitch as he turns it down. It was missing leg, and might have sailed path a fourth stump too.

8.10am GMT

52nd over: Australia 167-4 (Smith 64, Maxwell 10)

This is basically Ravichandran Ashwin vs Glenn Maxwell at the moment, and the Australian is so far surviving the examination. Wisely, his captain is taking as much of the strike as he can as the junior partner finds his feet. Maxwell’s 10 off 30 has been very measured so far.

8.07am GMT

51st over: Australia 163-4 (Smith 62, Maxwell 8)

In fact Umesh doesn’t have another over in him, so Jadeja returns with his spin. It didn’t work for his team-mates earlier, but Maxwell calls for his cap and ditches the helmet. Michael Clarke is loudly worrying that Maxwell won’t have the patience for this situation, but he’s been deferential and calm outside of the Ashwin scares. Not a reverse sweep in sight.

8.05am GMT

50th over: Australia 160-4 (Smith 61, Maxwell 6)

It sort of surprises me that Ravi Ashwin didn’t pursue a flatter trajectory earlier, given Maxwell’s comfort getting to the pitch of the ball when it’s tossed up. I guess he’ll keep it as his wicket ball. The first three here are tossed up and dealt with well, the fourth is quicker and flatter and brings an inside edge to fine leg. Maxwell was in all sorts there. Ashwin is doing that Warnie thing where he just seems 100% confident he’ll get him out sometime in the next two overs.

8.01am GMT

49th over: Australia 159-4 (Smith 61, Maxwell 5)

Learning from Peter Handscomb’s mistake, Steve Smith jams his bat down to an Umesh Yadav yorker and succeeds in that mission where his team-mate failed. Umesh continues to tail it in late but Smith is wise to his ways and sees off the over. He might not have many more left in this spell, so the threat has nearly passed.

7.57am GMT

48th over: Australia 158-4 (Smith 61, Maxwell 5)

Ashwin is a lot flatter to Maxwell early in this over, and that is a very sound approach because it almost pins the Australian to the crease when he tries to turn a straight one to leg. There is a spirited appeal for LBW but Gunner Gould won’t give it, and it proven correct by the ball-tracker reading. No review from India. They knew.

7.55am GMT

47th over: Australia 157-4 (Smith 61, Maxwell 5)

Hmm, actually I was wrong about Kohli. He’s still off the ground. That or he’s got a doppelgänger in the Indian changing rooms. Umesh Yadav continues to Maxwell, who turns a straight one to leg and gets off strike with a single. Umesh is the threat here, you feel. He has half an LBW shout against Maxwell late in the over but it’s going down leg.

Glenn Maxwell has batted in 6 diff positions in his 1st 7 Test inns
Eq most of any player after 7 inns (along with 11 others)#INDvAUS

7.50am GMT

46th over: Australia 154-4 (Smith 60, Maxwell 4)

Let’s not go the crow too early, but Glenn Maxwell is comfortingly casual in the way he glides down the pitch to get to the pitch of the ball and gently strokes Ashwin to long-on for a single. Attuned to his public image as he is, I’m sure he knows that right now he’s not only batting to establish an innings, but basically enduring a public trial back home in Australia. It’s 6:50pm in his home town right now – prime armchair critic territory. Let’s hope be passes this test, because he’s a sight to behold when he’s flaying bowling attacks.

7.44am GMT

45th over: Australia 151-4 (Smith 58, Maxwell 3)

Those expecting Glenn Maxwell to launch a reverse slog-sweep for six in his first few balls will be disappointed to know he’s so far playing straight and giving it the full face of the bat. “He is an incredible player when his confidence level is high,” says Matthew Hayden. “He could dominate the landscape.” Maxwell duly runs one down to third man for a single, and looks to have his wits about him so far. Smith finishes the over by glancing Umesh to the fine leg fence and with that, Australia reach 150 at the drinks break.

7.40am GMT

44th over: Australia 143-4 (Smith 52, Maxwell 1)

Ravichandran Ashwin is back into the attack now and has a slip and a short leg in place for Glenn Maxwell. Maxwell has been waiting impatiently for this moment for three years now, and will be desperate to impress. He’s off the mark with a nerve-settling single to long-on. Smith nudges one to leg to keep the strike.

7.37am GMT

43rd over: Australia 140-4 (Smith 50, Maxwell 0)

There is a lot going on here; with Handscomb gone his Victorian team-mate Glenn Maxwell is at the crease, and an entire nation inhales as one. Moments before the wicket, Steve Smith had brought up his half-century and if you looked closely at the celebration, you’d probably assume it meant a little more to him than many others. He was verging on smug as he pointed his bat towards the sheds. Now he might be a little worried. Maxwell survives four deliveries from Umesh and trots down the middle for a conference with his skipper.

7.34am GMT

Umesh does the trick again! And yet again Peter Handscomb perishes just as he looked perfectly comfortable. This time he’s done in by an absolute snorter of a yorker from the Indian paceman; it swings in late and appreciably to jam Handscomb on the toe and the minute that happens he knows he’s gone. The look to Smith for a referral is forlorn. Done.

7.31am GMT

42nd over: Australia 139-3 (Smith 49, Handscomb 19)

Ravindra Jadeja continues and Steve Smith moves closer to his half-century when he skips down the deck and hammers one to mid-on. A metre either way and it was four, but it does bring up the 50 partnership from 16.4 overs, which is pretty decent consolidation from this pair. And now a sight that will warm the hearts of club cricketers everywhere:

which shoulder is it, champ? #INDvAUS

7.27am GMT

41st over: Australia 137-3 (Smith 48, Handscomb 18)

Peter Handscomb has been slightly constipated in his efforts in recent overs but he’s batting Imodium here, cutting late and magnificently off the returning Yadav to pick up four runs and get himself going again. Matthew Hayden, meanwhile, has been recreating the facial expressions of the average fan listening to his commentary:

Matthew Hayden, ladies and gentlemen. (@rustyjacko)

7.23am GMT

40th over: Australia 132-3 (Smith 48, Handscomb 13)

A delay now as Virat Kohli leaves the field after doing himself a mischief in the act of diving to save a boundary. You could see his idea; make a statement to his men by hurling himself at the rope and showing his commitment, but it was also foolhardy. India’s best batsman appears to crunch both his shoulder and head into the hard outfield, and physio Pat Farhart takes him from the field for treatment. Fear not: by over’s end he’s back out there.

7.18am GMT

39th over: Australia 129-3 (Smith 48, Handscomb 10)

Ishant looked to have shot his bolt last over, but Kohli gives him another one regardless. It’s all a bit grim, and Ishant is pinching the bridge of his nose after the fourth ball, perhaps as a coded signal to his skipper that he’s done with his thankless task. Hovering around the 140kmph mark throughout, he doesn’t concede a run until Smith glides the last ball to the rope at third man. Who’d be a fast bowler in these conditions?

7.13am GMT

38th over: Australia 125-3 (Smith 44, Handscomb 10)

Interesting times; Smith is very well set and Handscomb is starting to look very comfortable as well. Having taken a wicket early in the piece, Jadeja is looking unthreatening. Kohli needs to shuffle the deck here. It ain’t working.

7.10am GMT

37th over: Australia 124-3 (Smith 43, Handscomb 10)

Ishant gets another over and continues to bend his back without much joy. The broadcasters are calling for submissions under the #IshantGameFace hashtag, but I think his skipper would rather see his wicket-taking face as the moment. I won’t lie though, there are some genuinely disturbing sights via the hashtag.

Don’t miss the 4th One … #IshantGameFace

7.05am GMT

36th over: Australia 123-3 (Smith 42, Handscomb 10)

I wish I could do just one thing as well as the cover drive Steve Smith has just belted to the fence off Ravindra Jadeja. Even if I did, it would probably be something useless like tying Windsor knots upside down, I bet. I’ll try the latter and let you know.

7.03am GMT

35th over: Australia 118-3 (Smith 37, Handscomb 10)

“That’s how he plays, that’s his technique,” says Michael Clarke of Peter Handscomb’s shuffle back towards his stumps. Translation: “I don’t think he should play like that but it seems to work for him.” You’d hesitate to be too emphatic right now, as he hasn’t made a lot of runs in India just yet. My guess: they’ll come, and he’ll be a fixture of his side for most of the next decade. “He holds it a bit like an axe,” adds Brett Lee, planting seeds in the minds of cricket fans. Ishant might have had a maiden but again Vijay errs in the field, letting a regulation stop through to concede two. Kohli’s nudging further down the Border-McDermott continuum now.

6.58am GMT

34th over: Australia 116-3 (Smith 37, Handscomb 8)

Both batsmen are using their feet to Jadeja, confidently skipping down the track to hit him towards leg. Smith lofts a single that way and then throws back his head in disgust; it should have been four, by his reaction. Adding the observation that the Warner ball was trash, Jadeja really hasn’t bowled many “wicket balls” today.

6.55am GMT

33rd over: Australia 114-3 (Smith 36, Handscomb 7)

Australia’s smart running between the wickets continues as Handscomb turns one around the corner off his pads, down towards fine leg, and figures he can get back on the arm of the man down there. He’s right, and Kohli is doing the Allan Border teapot stance again. It’s about a 6.7 on the Craig McDermott scale.

6.50am GMT

32nd over: Australia 111-3 (Smith 35, Handscomb 7)

Ravindra Jadeja is favoured to pair with Ishant first up, but he’s not yet finding any spin in this pitch and gets turned to leg for a Handscomb single. Smith gets another hitting one very firmly to mid-on and then charging through. Kohli is cheesed off (“C’mon!” he screams at the offender, Murali Vijay), while Brett Lee says it’s spoiled a maiden. He clearly nodded off at the start of the over.

6.46am GMT

31st over: Australia 109-3 (Smith 34, Handscomb 6)

OK, we’re off and away in the second session. Ishant Sharma, his man bun, and his Shaggy-style beard are all steaming in towards Steve Smith. Of Ishant, Brett Lee is full of praise for “the way he goes about his business”, which might have a bit more impact if he hadn’t already said it of the other 21 players in this game as well. Ishant is at the very least an accurate bowler in this over, and it’s a maiden.

Imagine the frustration around Australia if Handscomb and Smith stupidly bat through this session. #Maxwellball

6.40am GMT

We’re a few minutes from the second session now

…and a couple of good things: (1) if the Fox Sports coverage of this series has taught me one thing it’s that Henry Olonga is an opera singer, and (2) Glenn Maxwell might be batting soon. Good times.

6.32am GMT

Lunch break pearls from Rodney Hogg.

Hogg: “Australia is in a mega amount of trouble at lunch”

6.15am GMT

I’m sure he didn’t mean to come across as pessimistic, but…

Nathan Lyon having a good look at the pitch in the lunch break. Renshaw came out as well. #INDvAUS

6.02am GMT

30th over: Australia 109-3 (Smith 34, Handscomb 6)

And that is lunch on day one at Ranchi, where Australia rattled along at a decent clip all morning thanks to Matt Renshaw and Steve Smith, but only the latter survived and Australia might rue the loss of early wickets given the need to maximise the value of this pitch in the first innings. India, on the other hand, will be very happy with those three wickets after losing the toss. Back with more shortly.

@rustyjacko The best thing we can do for Dan is to feel everything with the passion he felt and take it all with his grace and humour.

5.59am GMT

29th over: Australia 106-3 (Smith 31, Handscomb 6)

Oof, Smith gets lucky here, sending an inside edge between his legs to pick up a boundary off Yadav, who has in fact stayed in the attack. A little more conventional is Smith’s next shot, which fizzes away past square leg for four more. The Australian pair will have one more over to survive before the break, and Ravindra Jadeja will bowl it.

5.55am GMT

28th over: Australia 97-3 (Smith 23, Handscomb 6)

I guess we’re likely to see Ravichandran Ashwin change ends now because only an over on from his removal of Marsh he’s been replaced by Jadeja. Yadav will probably be relieved of his duties next over, as India look to jam in as many as they can before the lunch break. Smith drives the final delivery to long-on for a single and keeps the strike.

5.52am GMT

27th over: Australia 96-3 (Smith 22, Handscomb 6)

Scarier stuff here for Handscomb as Umesh has a throaty LBW appeal against him early in the over, but it’s adjudged to be sailing down leg and the home side decides against a review. Maiden for Umesh, whose gone from zero to hero in the last 20 minutes.

5.50am GMT

26th over: Australia 96-3 (Smith 22, Handscomb 6)

Not perturbed by the crisis around him, Peter Handscomb arrives with a bang, driving sumptuously for a boundary to get off the mark.

5.44am GMT

Marsh is gone! It was a definite inside edge as Marsh lunged forward and the ball flew off his pad to the man in close. He went at it with a confident stride and hard hands, and now he’s trotting back to the pavilion. Australia are teetering a little now; a session that promised much is falling away.

5.43am GMT

And they’re very, very confident in that, despite the appeal being turned down.

5.42am GMT

25th over: Australia 89-2 (Smith 21, Marsh 2)

One unique thing about Shaun Marsh is that he runs between the wickets like a character in a late 90s, early-3D video game – all robotic and square, with his chest puffed out and his long-suffering back rigidly straight. It’s a bit Fifa ‘97 referee, I reckon.

5.39am GMT

24th over: Australia 88-2 (Smith 21, Marsh 1)

Not quite as metronomic here from Ashwin, who is worked for a few singles and a two to Smith. Thomas Walker arrives with an email at the point. “Well past midnight here in Chicago but this first hour has already set up the match nicely… thanks for the OBO coverage, it’s been snowing all week here so it’s nice to be reminded that it’s warm cricket weather somewhere in the world. Also, RIP Dan Lucas, very sad to hear such awful news. I loved his Phil Hughes obituary and it feels even more poignant now.”

5.34am GMT

23rd over: Australia 84-2 (Smith 18, Marsh 1)

Shaun Marsh is the new man at the crease for the tourists, and he’s straight off the mark with a single. His eternal plight seems to be the need to survive an awkward period before lunch and tea, and that is his lot here. Twenty-five minutes will see him through to lunch. Another wicket could tip the balance in India’s favour but runs are also fairly easy to come by.

5.32am GMT

Renshaw nicks Yadav to first slip! Well, that was not quite what we expected of that over but again Umesh Yadav has done the job for his skipper, with whom he combines for this wicket. A ball earlier Renshaw had teased the crowd by purposefully flicking one just short of Rahane at second slip, but his demise is a genuinely injudicious waft, from which the outside edge is well held by Kohli.

5.29am GMT

22nd over: Australia 78-1 (Renshaw 41, Smith 15)

Another accurate and tight over from Ashwin, who is pursuing a stump-to-stump line to Steve Smith but looking increasingly less likely of actually getting him out. This is a danger time for India, I sense, because once Steven Peter Devereux Smith is in, it’s very hard to get him out.

5.25am GMT

21st over: Australia 77-1 (Renshaw 41, Smith 15)

Umesh Yadav was bowling like a drain earlier, but he returns now with his sights set on redeeming things with some reverse swing. So far it seems a double reverse, perhaps, cancelling itself out. Renshaw’s not troubled and drives for one, then Smith sees off the rest. They might tuck in next over from this end.

5.22am GMT

20th over: Australia 76-1 (Renshaw 40, Smith 15)

Some intrigue here; “We might have had our first explosion of the match,” says commentator Laxmanan Sivaramakrishnan . Don’t worry, he only means it in the sense of prodigious spin. A bit dramatic. The ball in qurstion looked a lot like it had trapped Renshaw in front, but the contact with the pad had come when he was outside the line of off stump. False alarm. Jadeja wisely decides against a review.

5.17am GMT

19th over: Australia 75-1 (Renshaw 39, Smith 15)

In a symbolic win for Matt Renshaw, Ravichandran Ashwin has moved his close-in fieldsmen back to short cover and short extra cover, but persists with a slip to the well-set batsman. Renshaw takes his time over a single and Smith bobs, weaves and cuts to pick up two to finish the over.

Ranchi pitch is playing way better than anyone expected. Retractions being drafted. Best first session deck of series.

5.14am GMT

18th over: Australia 72-1 (Renshaw 38, Smith 13)

Michael Clarke reckons that this wicket is a lot easier to score on than those of the first two Tests, which is at odds with all of the pre-match outrage about the state of the strip. Renshaw and Smith look perfectly comfortable for now, I’ll say that. Meanwhile, Ryan Jones has accepted my choice of Cheese and Onion, but adds that Light and Tangy should not be left out of the conversation. He’s right, of course. A curiously maligned crisp flavour.

5.10am GMT

17th over: Australia 69-1 (Renshaw 36, Smith 12)

As Ashwin continues to ease into what will surely be a long spell, Scott Probst arrives with a delightful and unexpected email. “This talk of the Test being in Dharamsala brings to mind to local Tibetan community; Tibetans are really into their cricket. I know an ex-monk who was opening bat for his monastery. Once when I was on a meditation retreat in Nepal with a bunch of Tibetans, one of the monks made discreet enquiries as to whether I was Ricky Ponting.” That’s all on a slightly higher plane than Ryan Jones’ request for my favourite flavour of Smith’s crisps. Cheese and onion, if you must know.

5.08am GMT

16th over: Australia 68-1 (Renshaw 35, Smith 12)

Ravindra Jadeja gets us re-started after drinks and Smith is full of positive intent as he strokes him towards point and cover without piercing the field. Jadeja has a slip and a short leg, but both are moot when he over-pitches and Smith drives him wide of mid-wicket for a boundary. Jadeja has gone for 14 runs from his four overs, which actually counts as expensive by his usual miserly standards.

5.04am GMT

15th over: Australia 64-1 (Renshaw 35, Smith 8)

As drinks are called at the mid-way point of the first session, we can now reflect on what a bonanza it has been for Matt Renshaw. He’s 35 from 43 deliveries with seven boundaries and doesn’t look too perturbed by the loss of his opening partner David Warner. That said, Australia are on top for now.

Big wicket for the Aussie VC gone cheaply again.

5.00am GMT

14th over: Australia 61-1 (Renshaw 34, Smith 6)

It’s been said a million times before, but the sight of Steve Smith bobbing up and down before playing a perfectly correct forward defence really is something. It’s like he’s doing the Zorba dance in this over from Jadeja, and he gets a single to retain the strike.

4.57am GMT

13th over: Australia 60-1 (Renshaw 34, Smith 5)

I’m not sure whether it is a concerted effort to score a lot of runs before the wicket starts deteriorating or a measure of the volume of loose balls bowled, but Renshaw is hitting boundaries for fun today and gets another through cover off Ashwin. It’s Matthew Haydenesque bully-batting and he’s perhaps setting the tone for what will follow.

4.54am GMT

12th over: Australia 54-1 (Renshaw 29, Smith 4)

The flipside of Ravindra Jadeja’s madcap brilliance so far is that he’s offering up plenty of buffet balls, and that allows Steve Smith to get off the mark with a boundary when he glances a leg-side dart down to the fence at fine leg. It’s been runs galore in this first session but you can sense imminent danger for the batsmen too.

4.51am GMT

11th over: Australia 50-1 (Renshaw 29, Smith 0)

“There is no justice when it comes to batting,” says Matthew Hayden of David Warner’s dismissal. A strange interpretation of such a dismal bit of human error, but OK. Ravi Ashwin continues to Renshaw and bowls an accurate, searching over that forces the Australian to defend as the general rule.

I know they don’t allow runners any more but surely we can make an exception to get Maxwell out there early. #INDvAUS

4.49am GMT

10th over: Australia 50-1 (Renshaw 29, Smith 0)

The Australian captain strides to the crease now and has a couple of Jadeja’s best to defend first up. David Warner’s average, meanwhile, might soon dip below 48 and his struggles in India continue.

4.48am GMT

Ravindra Jadeja comes into the attack and immediately claims Warner! My word that was a terrible dismissal. Warner had just called for his baggy green cap and ensured himself an unobstructed view of the ball, but having creamed the left-arm spinner through cover for a boundary, he then plays an ugly swipe at a full toss and sends it straight back to the bowler. That was an absolute shocker from Warner. He’s furious, and Jadeja strikes again.

4.44am GMT

9th over: Australia 45-0 (Renshaw 28, Warner 15)

A hairy moment for Renshaw here as he reaches a long way forward to pat Ashwin towards mid-on, but a leading edge squirts the other way towards short cover. Ashwin is an obvious threat here, but it must be said that the Australian’s have tended to handle him very well early in the previous two Tests.

@rustyjacko Too early to have Renshaw knocking Boycott off his perch as the greatest living Yorkshireman?

4.41am GMT

8th over: Australia 44-0 (Renshaw 27, Warner 15)

Renshaw “comes across as a bloke who is very relaxed,” says Sunil Gavaskar, hardly the most chilled-out entertainer you’re likely to meet. Aside from that he’s just got a firm sense of his bearings and clear understanding of his own game; he knows where his off stump is and picks the right ball to hit. Here Umesh* gives Warner the right one; another half-volley that gets creamed through cover for a boundary.

4.36am GMT

7th over: Australia 36-0 (Renshaw 24, Warner 10)

Spin time: Ravi Ashwin first. He licks his finger, aggressively spins the ball around in his hand to get a feel for things, then sweeps his arms in those signature loops as he runs in to Warner. He’s also probably licking his lips. Warner drives and defends towards cover for the most part, then gets back and across to cut a long-hop out to deep cover for one. Not for the first time this morning, Renshaw does even better, taking the one delivery he has left to face and depositing it through mid-wicket for a boundary. This is something of a role reversal for the Australian openers, but combined they’re going at five an over. Renshaw is also the youngest man to reach 500 Test runs.

4.32am GMT

6th over: Australia 31-0 (Renshaw 20, Warner 9)

With Umesh Yadav continuing, David Warner tucks three around the corner to start the over, and I tuck into the final mouthful of a small bag of Smith’s original chicken crisps. Actually I’ll be 100% honest: I was upending the packet and it slightly obscured my view of the shot. I’m sure that happened to Neville Cardus all the time. Gunner Gould is going just as well, dodging and weaving to avoid being hit by a throw from the outfield. No worries a ball later: Umesh over-pitches and Renshaw lathers him through cover for yet another boundary. No throw required. If this isn’t the last over of Umesh’s spell, I’ll eat the actual packet the crisps came in.

4.27am GMT

5th over: Australia 22-0 (Renshaw 16, Warner 6)

Two more to Warner gets the local broadcasters agitated about bringing the Australian’s nemesis Ravi Ashwin into the fray, and soon their head-to-head stats are flashed up on the screen. To say they’re one-sided undersells it just a touch. For now, most of the hay is being made by Matt Renshaw. Again he takes advantages of some shonky length when Ishant over-pitches, allowing him to turn four more runs through deep square leg. Australia are cruising at the moment, so we’ll probably see some spin very shortly.

4.21am GMT

4th over: Australia 15-0 (Renshaw 12, Warner 3)

Having yet to establish his mojo, David Warner does the right thing and bunts a quick single towards cover in order to rotate the strike. Renshaw gets a few gifts from Umesh at that point; a full toss is cracked straight to the man at mid-off but a loose one outside off stump is beautifully angled between gully and point for a boundary. The Queenslander is establishing a decent little platform for his innings here.

4.17am GMT

3rd over: Australia 10-0 (Renshaw 8, Warner 2)

Ishant has done two very good things here; first he appears to trap Matt Renshaw in front with a gem of a delivery, but then rightly stops his skipper from calling for a review when it’s not given. It was pitching outside leg and Ishant knew it. Unfortunately, a few balls later he pitches an even shorter one on leg and Renshaw confidently biffs it to the fence wide of mid-wicket.

4.12am GMT

2nd over: Australia 6-0 (Renshaw 4, Warner 2)

Umesh Yadav isn’t quite as accurate at the start of his first over, straying onto Warner’s pads to be turned around the corner for a couple of runs. Lulled into a false sense of comfort, Warner flinches as the next one rises up off the pitch and whistles past his ears. India think he’s strangled one down the leg side a ball later, but it’s all thigh pad.

4.08am GMT

1st over: Australia 4-0 (Renshaw 4, Warner 0)

Taking guard for Australia is Matt Renshaw (Test average: currently three above the magical 50 mark) and standing at the other end is David Warner (Test average: now almost two runs below the magical 50 mark). Bowling: Ishant Sharma (Test average: hardly the point). Ishant sends them slanting across Renshaw first up and he’s got two slips and a gully in place for the edge.

4.00am GMT

We’re a few minutes from the opening delivery of the Test

And as the anthems groan away, I can’t help but think it appropriate to post a Dan Lucas-style Simpsons clip. Anthem-themed, of course.

3.53am GMT

Australian Selection

I will take any and all emails on Glenn Maxwell’s inclusion. As much as I love the desperately unlucky Usman Khawaja, it is genuinely great to see Maxwell back in this line-up because he’s a supremely talented player and a genuine competitor who offers back-up spin and a dangerous arm in the in-field. The latter is something Australian Test sides have sorely lacked in the last few years. Pat Cummins’ return is just a heart-warmer.

3.39am GMT

Steve Smith looks at the pitch and sighs rather undiplomatically. “I don’t think there will be a great deal of bounce,” he says. “Hopefully we can post a good first innings total. Hopefully we can play well in this one.”

Team news: Australia have brought Glenn Maxwell in (!!!), as well as Pat Cummins, who hasn’t played “for a while”, says Smith. Almost six years, to be exact. India have brought opening batsman Murali Vijay back into their side as soon as possible. He replaces Abhinav Mukund.

3.27am GMT


Hello OBOers and welcome to the first day of the third Test in this fascinating Border-Gavaskar Trophy series between Australia and India, which resumes on Ranchi’s much-discussed pitch today.

12.00am GMT

Russell will be here shortly. In the meantime, here’s Adam Collins’ preview of the match:

Related: Steve Smith and Australia set for Ranchi pitch battle with Virat Kohli and India

Continue reading…

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Mar 12

Steve Smith and Australia offered rare opportunity to take moral high ground | Sam Perry

The third Test in Ranchi will test Australia’s preparedness to endure more barb; parting with their own doctrine of aggression should serve them well

“What are they saying out there?” “Is there much chat?” They are questions that can be found at just about any amateur cricket match in Australia. Consenting adults, congregating in mildewed pavilions, weathered grandstands or toilet blocks masquerading as dressing rooms know this drill. The recently departed batsman, usually smarting from the injustice of their dismissal, is partially expected to identify at least one villain from the opposition around whom contempt can be built.

Related: Unexpected closeness of Test series helping create fireworks on and off field | Geoff Lemon

Related: Cummins ends long wait for Test recall by replacing Starc in India

Continue reading…

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Mar 09

Unexpected closeness of Test series helping create fireworks on and off field | Geoff Lemon

With Australia exceeding all expectations and the captains of both sides at each other’s throats, the tour to India is making for utterly compelling viewing

A week ago, the New Yorker posited that we are all living in a computer that has lost its mind. Simulation theory has had non-Wachowski currency for at least 15 years: basically that an infinite universe would contain life forms advanced enough to create simulated universes; and that the odds of being a living creature within a vast number of simulations are much higher than being one in the universe that seeded them.

Related: ICC clears Virat Kohli and Steve Smith over second Test run-ins

Continue reading…

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Mar 08

ICC clears Virat Kohli and Steve Smith over second Test run-ins

  • No charges laid for either side after spiteful match in Bangalore
  • Governing body backs match referee Chris Broad

The International Cricket Council has shouldered arms in response to every send-off, run-in, accusation, antagonistic act and misdeed that occurred in Bangalore, refusing to charge a single player involved in the spiteful second Test between Australia and India.

Related: India cricket chiefs demand ICC investigates Steve Smith’s ‘brain fade’

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article:

Mar 06

India gain the upper hand in Bangalore thanks to Pujara – as it happened

  • India 213-4 at stumps on day three, 126 runs ahead of Australia
  • Che Pujara (79) and Ajinkya Rahane (40) dominate late in day

11.13am GMT

After eight sessions of carnage it would have been little surprise to find the second Test all over inside three days. But out of nowhere this odd surface in Bangalore calmed down, Australia’s intensity wained and the finest partnership of the series so far ensued. An unbroken 93-run stand between Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane has dragged India from a perilous state of effectively 33/4 and guided them to a lead approaching favouritism.

It was hard to imagine such an outcome at the start of a day that began with a flurry of Australian wickets, nor heading to the tea interval when both Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja had recently perished. But this latest chapter adds another layer of intrigue to an engrossing Test match that seems set to deliver a grandstand finish.

11.06am GMT

11.04am GMT

72nd over: India 213-4 (Pujara 79, Rahane 40)

Starc to bowl the final over of the day and he almost makes it a short one, Pujara edging his first delivery but it flies wide of the solitary slip Smith. In response, Smith brings Handscomb into second slip, under a lid, and about five metres closer to the stumps than Wade. Pujara survives, finds a single from the penultimate delivery to secure his appearance at the crease tomorrow. Rahane dabs the final ball safely into the offside, high-fives his batting partner and leaves the field to warm applause.

10.58am GMT

71st over: India 208-4 (Pujara 74, Rahane 40)

Terrific umpiring as India try to minimise the number of remaining overs with a drink and physio break but India’s support staff don’t reach the square before they’re told to hop it. Now both the striker and non-striker are trying to delay O’Keefe. And while Rahane’s so focussed on playing out time he almost chases a lovely delivery into Wade’s gloves.

10.56am GMT

70th over: India 208-4 (Pujara 74, Rahane 40)

Mitchell Starc is recalled in a bold late move by Steve Smith. He’s looking for fast reverse swinging yorkers, hurling down javelins to Rahane’s toenails. One after another, like he’s trying to nail the batsmen to the ground. This is an excellent effort late in the day by the big fast bowler, but Rahane survives and even farms the strike with a single from the final delivery.

@JPHowcroft This is why test cricket is so vital. Looking for a way to get off work early tomorrow. Fascinating stuff, could go either way

10.51am GMT

69th over: India 207-4 (Pujara 74, Rahane 39)

Pujara is delivering a masterclass out there for India. Solid in defence, watchful, but still alert to scoring opportunities. A stellar innings in this match and series. What else can Australia do?

10.48am GMT

68th over: India 205-4 (Pujara 72, Rahane 39)

Lyon’s come out of nowhere to start making things happen again. Two overs in a row with more turn and bounce but with two set batsmen nearing the close of play they’re avoiding the pitfalls of previous sessions.

Australia searching for that fifth wicket late on day three… #INDvAUS

10.45am GMT

67th over: India 198-4 (Pujara 70, Rahane 38)

Australia rattling through the overs now as play draws to a close. O’Keefe beats Rahane’s forward prod but again there’s no edge.

10.42am GMT

66th over: India 198-4 (Pujara 70, Rahane 38)

The first delivery to take off in ages rears at Pujara from Lyon – and another immediately afterwards! The luck is with India though and there’s no gloved chance to a close catcher. Better for Australia, who have gone from chirping in the field to some positively village geeing-up.

“Come on lads”

10.39am GMT

65th over: India 198-4 (Pujara 70, Rahane 38)

Rahane’s playing with fire to O’Keefe, padding up outside off-stump but despite the appeal O’Keefe concedes it probably didn’t do enough to warrant a review.

10.36am GMT

64th over: India 194-4 (Pujara 70, Rahane 34)

Under half an hour remaining of play as this partnership, unbroken for the final session, seems set to be the decisive factor in another gripping day of Test cricket.

10.33am GMT

63rd over: India 192-4 (Pujara 69, Rahane 33)

Another over from O’Keefe seen off without much fanfare.

10.31am GMT

62nd over: India 191-4 (Pujara 68, Rahane 33)

India’s lead stretches beyond 100 as Lyon spends an over with his hands on his head. This pair are playing so well form deep in their crease Lyon’s prodigious turn is not bothering them and anything loose is being scored off.

10.27am GMT

61st over: India 186-4 (Pujara 63, Rahane 33)

O’Keefe to make it spin from both ends and the left-armer gets a little bit more out of the surface but not enough to disturb what is now the highest partnership in the match.

10.24am GMT

60th over: India 183-4 (Pujara 60, Rahane 33)

Whereas earlier in the day KL Rahul was farming the strike to see off Lyon, now both batsmen are looking to score off Australia’s premier spinner. The spite in this surface has evaporated. The odd one is keeping low and the odd one is still spitting but nowhere near the extent we’d become accustomed to.

10.20am GMT

59th over: India 180-4 (Pujara 59, Rahane 31)

Rahane into his stride now, driving gloriously against Hazlewood but a superb stop by Shaun Marsh in the covers denies what would have been a textbook cover drive four. He does pick up two with a patient cut later in the over.

Nathan Lyon
1st inns: 22.2-4-50-8
2nd inns 22.0-1-56-0#IndvAus

10.16am GMT

58th over: India 178-4 (Pujara 59, Rahane 29)

Rahane’s confidence starting to flood back, despite his demotion down the order. A half-volley on off-stump is swept hard for four. Strong wrists, risky shot, but another indication of how this pitch has changed its behaviour since tea. This is not the crazy paving we’ve seen in previous sessions.

10.12am GMT

57th over: India 171-4 (Pujara 59, Rahane 22)

Hazlewood also recalled to the attack and he’s greeted by a deft late cut from Pujara to guide a four down to fine third-man. Two more with a confident push to the cover sweeper is followed by another two, cut behind point. That brings up the 50 partnership, a cheer from the crowd and an acceptance that this pair are digging India out of a massive hole.

10.07am GMT

56th over: India 163-4 (Pujara 51, Rahane 22)

Lyon returns to the attack after drinks and his drift is evident immediately but without the prodigious turn and bounce of the first innings Rahane is able to play him from the crease off the back foot into the offside.

10.01am GMT

55th over: India 159-4 (Pujara 50, Rahane 19)

50 for Pujara, just the fifth of the match, and it’s been a vital calming knock, keeping India ticking over despite the drama at the other end before tea.

Pujara has done more grinding than is seen in most nightclubs. Helped admirably by Rahul early. This Test rocks. #INDvAUS

9.57am GMT

54th over: India 157-4 (Pujara 49, Rahane 18)

More action from O’Keefe at the start of his over. One beats Pujara’s outside edge and then one looks to beat him on the inside prompting a vocal appeal but there was a big edge on closer inspection.

9.55am GMT

53rd over: India 156-4 (Pujara 48, Rahane 18)

Marsh plugging away as you’d expect but this pitch has gone into its shell a little. Whether it’s the older ball, more accomplished batting, or what, it’s hard to say, but this game has entered an unlikely phase this evening compared to what went before.

In the first innings Lyon landed 96% of his deliveries on a good length; in this innings he has only landed 39% on that length. #IndvAus

9.50am GMT

52nd over: India 155-4 (Pujara 47, Rahane 18)

O’Keefe not getting much turn from around the wicket, making the dangerous delivery, the straighter one, less of a variety. Another over comfortably seen off.

“There’s been a lot of talk about his batting.That will come good if he’s given an opportunity.” Brett Lee on M Marsh, playing his 21st Test

9.48am GMT

51st over: India 153-4 (Pujara 45, Rahane 18)

Hold your horses! What’s this? It’s the lesser spotted Mitch Marsh to trundle in for just his third over of the series. You’d fancy him on this surface, bowling those heavy stump-to-stump quicker-than-you-expect seamers. If there is uneven bounce, his line and high action should exploit them.

9.43am GMT

50th over: India 153-4 (Pujara 45, Rahane 18)

Smith packs his off-side field for O’Keefe, trying to repeat Rahane’s Pune dismissal but India’s number six is reaching the pitch of the ball comfortably and sees out a maiden.

9.41am GMT

49th over: India 153-4 (Pujara 45, Rahane 18)

Starc has yet to find his groove since he came on, his line outside off from around the wicket being left alone and anything straight worked with the angle to leg for runs.

9.38am GMT

9.36am GMT

48th over: India 149-4 (Pujara 44, Rahane 15)

Double change with Steve O’Keefe replacing Nathan Lyon. The first Test superstar has found a decent partnership blossoming for India, both right-handers judging length and turn beautifully since tea. Not much doing for SOK.

9.33am GMT

47th over: India 148-4 (Pujara 43, Rahane 15)

Sandeep has his wish… on comes Mitchell Starc for Hazlewood, and he is bowling from around the wicket, really wide with that slingy left-arm action of his. The sightscreen will need to be at extra-cover.

Australia bowled 16 maidens in 71.2 overs in the first innings; they have bowled one in 45 in this innings. #IndvAus

9.28am GMT

46th over: India 146-4 (Pujara 42, Rahane 13)

This pair looking increasingly adept at facing Lyon, Rahane now unfurling the sweep, although it’s perhaps not the most advisable stroke considering the prodigious bounce Lyon can generate. One does turn sharply but stays low and there’s an LBW shout. It would be hard to give it moved so far but replays show it was an umpire’s call on DRS. Blimey, who’d be an umpire?

9.24am GMT

45th over: India 145-4 (Pujara 42, Rahane 13)

Excellent from Rahane. Despite the pressure of the situation he’s still able to cut a rare Hazlewood loosener to the point boundary. You can see what Hazlewood’s trying to do though, find a length just shorter than normal for the shooter – and he hits the spot with his fifth delivery – but an unplayable rolling boulder is outside the off stump and no threat to Pujara.

9.21am GMT

44th over: India 140-4 (Pujara 42, Rahane 8)

This pair are using their feet well to Lyon, smothering most of the grenades by stepping forward and then defusing the ones that spit by being so deep in their crease they have time to play them with soft hands.

9.16am GMT

43rd over: India 137-4 (Pujara 41, Rahane 6)

And just for pure comedy value Hazlewood’s opening two deliveries barely get above ankle height, the first of which provokes a stifled cry for LBW. This pitch is so unpredictable.

9.13am GMT

42nd over: India 134-4 (Pujara 40, Rahane 4)

Pujara noticeably using his feet more against Lyon, especially to anything tossed up. The benefit of that is Lyon readjusting to a shorter length allowing the batsman to move back deep into his crease with plenty of time to whip runs on the on side.

9.09am GMT

41st over: India 131-4 (Pujara 38, Rahane 3)

Hazlewood shares duties with Lyon and his radar is slightly askew in his first over after the break. A number of deliveries angled down the legside could have been punished but despite Pujara’s intent the bowler escapes with just a couple of singles damage.

9.04am GMT

40th over: India 130-4 (Pujara 38, Rahane 2)

Lyon to open proceedings after tea. 32 overs to be bowled in the session.

8.57am GMT

So, what is a dangerous total for Australia to chase? Anything over 100? 150? You wouldn’t fancy chasing more on this shocker of a strip.

8.56am GMT

Aniket has completed the Venn diagram of current affairs with this thought provoking email.

“This test match ranks among the most exciting I have ever seen. Truly absorbing. There is an interesting analogy here. The general consensus here in India was that the Australians are going to be steamrolled and that they will be whitewashed, much like what Hillary Clinton, most of America and the the rest of the world thought that Trump will lose by a landslide. But as we can see, the tables have turned, and the Australians are playing magnificent cricket. Sadly, Trump has not been a magnificent president.”

8.52am GMT

Aus seem to me to giving a top display of how to use a balanced bowling attack to best effect. Know your conditions

8.51am GMT

Well, well, well. This is already a modern classic of a Test match and hurtling at pace into a defining one for this young Australian outfit. Those two wickets just before tea have transformed this Test from an ominous one for the visitors with Kohli looking to assert himself into another that could be over inside three days.

Much has come down to Steve Smith’s captaincy, and as the old adage goes, it doesn’t matter if you’re good if you’re lucky, and Smith’s luck came in just at the right time courtesy of Hazlewood’s golden arm.

8.44am GMT

Test cricket, eh?

India lead by 35 runs as my spell finishes, but JP Howcroft will be stopping by shortly to relieve me, and he’s a master of reverse swing. Do make him welcome.

8.43am GMT

39th over: India 122-4 (Pujara 34, Rahane 2)

And that is tea on day three. What a finish to the session by Australia’s Josh Hazlewood. He’s got 3-37 from 11 overs as he leads his side off, and they’re right in this game. Ajinkya Rahane was dropped down the order – which didn’t work when Ravi Jadeja was nipped out for 2 – and endured a minor nightmare in this over. The first ball he faced from Hazlewood spat up off the pitch to rap him on the knuckles, but he gets off the mark with two and survives until the break.

8.38am GMT

Ravindra Jadeja’s middle stump just landed somewhere in Wednesday! Josh Hazlewood is producing an absolute gem of a spell here and gets another. This time it’s full and straight and swinging in, and with India’s makeshift No5 playing all around it, his timber is splattered. What a game of cricket this is.

8.36am GMT

38th over: India 120-3 (Pujara 34, Jadeja 2)

We’re close to tea now on what has been another enthralling day of Test cricket. And to think there are still two Test left after these. I might need oxygen tank. Pujara just needs to get through to the next session, so pads up to the off-spinner. “Good Gary,” says Matthew Wade, giving himself wiggle room for grander compliments when it spins even more than this. Which is quite a lot.

8.32am GMT

37th over: India 120-3 (Pujara 34, Jadeja 2)

Sohid Ahmed writes in now. “Russell, we have work to do. cCn you please not make it so exciting? I am on the verge of asking my boss for a half day.” To misapply a well-worn quote from former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke, any boss who doesn’t give his staff a half-day to watch this is a bum! Hazlewood continues here. Have I mentioned that he’s a genius, and that Steve Smith was very smart to bring him on? I hope so. Hazlewood finishes this over with another throaty LBW shout against Jadeja, but Nigel Llong shakes his head. He’s had a reasonable day today, the ump.

8.27am GMT

36th over: India 119-3 (Pujara 33, Jadeja 2)

I’m currently receiving a lot of emails containing the words “benefit of the doubt” and “batsman”. Sorry folks, that is not a rule, and never has been. Tough for Kohli, but as the third umpire said, he could see nothing to conclusively prove that the Indian skipper got bat on it. Meanwhile, Nathan Lyon is back on the ground and back on to bowl. He starts with a shocker, and Pujara batters it over mid-wicket for four. Jadeja faces the last couple and remains circumspect, nudging two runs to leg to get off the mark.

8.24am GMT

35th over: India 112-3 (Pujara 28, Jadeja 0)

This just gets better. Now Ravindra Jadeja strides out to the middle rather than normal No5 Ajinkya Rahane, who is out of form and now sliding down the order. Bizarre, and utterly brilliant. He sees off the rest of the Hazlewood over, though Hazlewood finishes it with another LBW shout. Kohli stands in the sheds watching TV replays. He is not amused.

8.20am GMT

Kohli is gone! I take back everything I said. Steve Smith is a genius. I am an idiot. Pace has done the job. The danger man is gone cheaply again! Hooley dooley this is some sort of Test match. It took an age for the third umpire to review all the evidence, but the Indian skipper is on his way back to the pavilion and this game is well and truly alive. India lead by 25 runs but face a real battle here.

8.17am GMT

Well, well, well. Kohli is reviewing it, but this looks salmon trout. Kohli thinks he’s feathered an edge before it hit his pad.

8.15am GMT

34th over: India 110-2 (Pujara 28, Kohli 13)

Something is up with Nathan Lyon, and he departs the ground. Glenn Maxwell comes out as sub-fielder, and O’Keefe takes Lyon’s end. Not ideal for Australia. With only a small amount of diplomacy, Michael Clarke is starting to rip into Steve Smith’s captaincy here, particularly his (under)use of the spinners. He wonders why O’Keefe doesn’t have a short leg in place in this over, and I can see what he means.

8.12am GMT

33rd over: India 106-2 (Pujara 27, Kohli 10)

Hmm, right as I’m waxing lyrical about the pressure being built by O’Keefe, Steve Smith reintroduces the pace of Hazlewood. His first ball strays onto Kohli’s pads and gets tenderised on its way to the deep mid-wicket boundary. Deary me. Kohli will be loving this. Unless Australia nip him out cheaply this could get very desperate very quickly. That tail end collapse is looking even worse now.

8.07am GMT

32nd over: India 100-2 (Pujara 26, Kohli 5)

Oooh, Pujara gets very lucky here, dancing down the wicket at Lyon and missing an on drive. The ball thuds into his pad but might have snuck through a gap for a stumping opportunity. Matthew Hayden is talking about building up the bricks. Hopefully whatever wall eventuates will keep him away from the microphone. A single to Kohli brings up 100 for India, and they now lead by 13 runs. Push that past 150 and Australia might be in serious bother. Much is at stake in the following half-hour, and whatever comes in the final session.

8.04am GMT

31st over: India 98-2 (Pujara 25, Kohli 4)

O’Keefe must wish he could roll up the Indian wickets and take them home with him, the way his career has turned the corner in the last two weeks. He’s probing away again in this over, but the main threat for now is at Lyon’s end. What O’Keefe is doing far better than the pacemen before is building pressure. He’s got a wicket, but he’s also bowled plenty of dot balls.

8.02am GMT

30th over: India 96-2 (Pujara 23, Kohli 4)

Pujara is a little more comfortable to Lyon now, and drives handsomely to long on for a single before Kohli dices with danger by pushing one inches past the right hand of Handscomb at short leg. He gets two but he’s still not comfortable. “No idea, Gaz!” cries Wade, which is a bit rich given the way he’s been keeping in the last few Tests.

8.00am GMT

29th over: India 94-2 (Pujara 23, Kohli 2)

“Bowling SOK-y” cries Matthew Wade behind the stumps, reminding everyone of what his mouth is missing. O’Keefe beats Kohli’s edge was an absolute peach, and must weather a testing little spell here from the Australian spinners. The stage is perfectly set for his combative genius, I reckon.

7.57am GMT

28th over: India 93-2 (Pujara 22, Kohli 2)

“Seriously great advert for test cricket here after England’s rather tame regression to the home team dominance paradigm,” says reader Brian Withington, and for the sake of stopping an argument, I think he’s a Brit. Pujarafinishes the Lyon over with a single and looks switched on, though Matthew Wade is carrying on as though he’s facing up with the wrong end of the bat in his hands.

7.54am GMT

27th over: India 92-2 (Pujara 21, Kohli 2)

There is no escape from the spin now for Pujara, and he’s looking only slightly more comfortable against O’Keefe than he was early on against Lyon. With the left-armer rushing between balls, Pujara tries to make him wait, and O’Keefe does a good job acting as though these demands are completely unreasonable. Buckle in for a thrilling final hour of this second session, folks.

7.52am GMT

26th over: India 89-2 (Pujara 18, Kohli 2)

Kohli is getting a huge stride in as he gets forward to counter the sharp spin of Nathan Lyon, but even a batsman as brilliant as him looks human in the face of some sublime bowling. Lyon has a slip, a leg slip and a short leg, and by the end of the over he’s also wearing a slightly sadistic grin by his affable standards. He probably fancies another eight poles here.

7.49am GMT

25th over: India 87-2 (Pujara 17, Kohli 1)

“If catches win matches then Australia have already won,” says Matthew Hayden, who might actually be demented. Anyway, O’Keefe’s introduction has had the impact we all thought it might, scores are now level, and batting wizard Virat Kohli is at the crease. What else would you rather be doing on a Tuesday, I ask you?

Steve Smith = FREAK!!!! #INDvAUS

7.47am GMT

Steve Smith you genius! But also not… The Aussie skipper took an age to bring Steve O’Keefe on, and now that he has they’ve combined for the wicket of the danger man. The act itself was remarkable: Smith leapt to his right at first slip and reeled in what looked an impossible chance. It’s a one-hander of the highest order. Holy moly. Rahul can’t believe it. but he has to go.

It’s a pity. Rahul made this dicey pitch look like day two in Adelaide. His half-century has India on the brink of a lead and that’s no mean feat. It took a miracle catch to dismiss him. How good is cricket?

Holy crap. What a catch by Steven Smith. Watch the replays. #AUSvIND #Australia #India

7.41am GMT

24th over: India 83-1 (Rahul 51, Pujara 14)

Rahul faces up to Lyon and gives about 1/8th of a chance when he turns one hard to leg. It gets to Handscomb very quickly at short leg, and you can’t really fault him, or call it a drop. In relative terms, Pujara is also more comfortable against the off-spinner and gets one. This is genuinely absorbing Test cricket at the moment.

7.38am GMT

23rd over: India 81-1 (Rahul 50, Pujara 13)

In a surprise to absolutely nobody bar Steve Smith, the Indians continue to profit from pace bowling when Rahul lathers a half-volley through cover for another boundary off Starc, then flicks off his pads with class to pick up two. Might Darren Lehmann or the bowling coach David Saker send a memo out to the skipper at this point? O’Keefe stands with his hands on his hips as Rahul strokes a single off the final delivery of the over, which brings up his half-century from 82 deliveries. He’s making batting look ridiculously easy when you consider the grim efforts of the other 21 batsmen in this game.

7.33am GMT

22nd over: India 74-1 (Rahul 43, Pujara 13)

Fascinating stat: Lokesh Rahul averages 60 in the first innings of Tests but only 16 in the second. This is now his highest score in the second innings. He’s playing with house money. In an odd moment of this over, he backs away as Lyon moves in and gets bowled by a dead ball. Somebody is moving around in front of the sight screen again. Lyon had an opportunity to work Pujara over here, but his first delivery of the over was short and allowed his bunny to pull a single. Rahul handles the rest with aplomb.

7.28am GMT

21st over: India 70-1 (Rahul 40, Pujara 12)

A run-out is the last thing India needs at this point but Pujara almost perishes running to the danger end for a Rahul single. It was Pujara’s call, to be fair. A direct hit from gully might have had him in trouble but the throw misses. But more to the point, why is Mitchell Starc replacing Hazlewood and not Steve O’Keefe? Spin is the clear threat here, so it’s all a bit baffling from Steve Smith. Pujara has a grand old time flicking the paceman to leg and restoring his confidence a little.

7.23am GMT

20th over: India 66-1 (Rahul 39, Pujara 9)

Again Rahul decides it’s best to concede the over to Lyon and shield his partner, though Pujara might actually want to face a ball at some stage. Probably at the other end. Rahul eventually takes a single from the penultimate delivery, and Pujara’s in all sorts for the final one. So…the original plan was a good one.

7.20am GMT

19th over: India 65-1 (Rahul 38, Pujara 9)

Somewhat surprisingly, Hazlewood gets another over. Personally I think it’s time for some Steve O’Keefe, which is underlined when the tired paceman fires one down the leg side and gets turned for a gimme boundary. Puzzlingly, Rahul tries to ramp a short one over the cordon, which doesn’t seem wise. Luckily for him he fails to make contact. That aside, he’s continuing where he left off in the first innings, and boy didn’t India need his 90 runs then. They’re starting to feel like 200 as this game wears on. He’s also kept the strike for Lyon’s over.

7.15am GMT

18th over: India 60-1 (Rahul 33, Pujara 9)

Lyon’s bowling to Rahul again in this over, and turning it sharply to put his close-in fieldsmen into play. There is a slip, a leg slip and a short leg, but when his third delivery keeps low, Rahul does very well to get bat on it and avoid an LBW demise. It’s fantastic bowling by Lyon. It actually has the vibe of those times when Harbhajan Singh was off on one and tormenting the Aussies. Rahul gets a single from the final delivery to keep the strike. He’s shepherding Pujara to safety here. Brilliant batting under immense pressure.

7.12am GMT

17th over: India 59-1 (Rahul 32, Pujara 9)

Pujara is on his fourth life here, and takes advantage by opening the face and gliding Hazlewood down to third man for a boundary. The big paceman might be out of gas here, so from the next over at his end we might see a change.

7.07am GMT

16th over: India 55-1 (Rahul 32, Pujara 5)

“87 is an unlucky number in the Australian culture,” says Brett Lee, referring to Australia’s first innings lead. It’s utter hogwash, of course, though Nathan Lyon might be starting to disagree. This over he manages to avoid any further frustration, though it’s only because Pujara is standing at the non-striker’s end throughout.

7.05am GMT

15th over: India 53-1 (Rahul 30, Pujara 5)

Something worth mentioning as Josh Hazlewood is hit for Lokesh Rahul’s 1000th run in Test cricket: Che Pujara has been dismissed five times in Tests by Nathan Lyon. In the last ten minutes he’s given no less than three chances as Lyon works him over. This is the primary contest right now, and it’s enthralling. Rahul will have the strike to start with in the next over. He might want to keep it.

7.00am GMT

14th over: India 50-1 (Rahul 27, Pujara 5)

Rahul turns a single towards fine leg to get off strike, which seems a good idea the way Lyon is bowling. Sure enough, the second ball of the over is ANOTHER DROPPED CATCH! It passed Wade’s right pad – and really should have been his – but it’ll go down as a Steve Smith drop. The Aussie skipper dived to his left at first slip but he couldn’t see the ball until it was until late, and it just slaps into his palm before hitting the turf. Matthew Wade is having a shocker here. Lyon is bowling like a dream here but he could do with some help. Pujara survives.

6.56am GMT

13th over: India 47-1 (Rahul 25, Pujara 4)

Hazlewood continues with diligent intentions, but he’s a little inconsistent with his line and length so there are singles on offer for both batsmen. He attacks the stumps again with his final delivery but Rahul keeps it out. Strap in for some more of that Nathan Lyon chaos in the next over. This could be fun.

6.52am GMT

12th over: India 44-1 (Rahul 23, Pujara 3)

Ooft. Big turn for Lyon with his first delivery of the session. Rahul is forward to it but it jags in at an alarming angle to rap him on the front pad. Matthew Wade being Matthew Wade, he screams for an LBW decision, but there’s nothing doing. Rahul composes himself and gets off strike, then Pujara pushes through cover for two.

6.49am GMT

11th over: India 41-1 (Rahul 21, Pujara 1)

Che Pujara is the new man for India, and he’ll be aiming to improve on his strange showing in the first innings, where he looked well set on 17 before getting himself out. He’s off the mark with a single and Nathan Lyon will pair with the wicket-taker Hazlewood in the next over.

6.46am GMT

What a start to the second session for Australia! Josh Hazlewood appeared after the break with a few innocuous deliveries but then ripped through the defences of Indian opener Abhinav Mukund from around the wicket, castling him with the fourth ball of the session. Perfect start for Australia.

6.30am GMT

Some very sad news for lovers of great Australian sportswriting

Trevor Grant, the longtime sportswriter at the Herald Sun, Sunday Press, The Age, Sporting Globe and Newsday, has died at the age of 65. There is a tribute to him here by his former colleague Jon Anderson, but it suffices to say he was one of the most inquisitive, humane and excellent sports journalists in Australia, and a must-read cricket writer for much of his almost 50-year career.

RIP Trevor Grant one of the best sports journos I ever had the pleasure to work with. Gone too soon. #shortone

6.14am GMT

I have no idea how this is calculated but it looks good for India

An great morning session for India has seen their #WinViz rise from 14.8%. #IndvAus

6.03am GMT

10th over: India 38-0 (Rahul 20, Mukund 16)

Lyon’s over is an accurate and probing one, but Rahul and Mukund both push singles on their way to seeing off the threat. They couldn’t have done much better in this 35-minute barrage. They’ve chipped off 38 runs to trail by 49, and didn’t lose a wicket. The Australians will be a little disappointed with that. None of the four bowlers used produced anything compelling. The net result: India’s best session of the series.

India have had a great session there, but the last ball from Lyon was the first ball that has kept low all morning.

6.00am GMT

9th over: India 35-0 (Rahul 18, Mukund 15)

Steve O’Keefe does indeed appear for a pre-lunch over now, but it won’t be the last of the session. Rahul nudges a single to cover and knock me down with a feather, but Mukund drops his glove as he runs through for it, eking out a bit of time in the process. Then he pulls away from the final delivery as well. It doesn’t work. O’Keefe is through his six deliveries in a flash, so Lyon will have one more over.

5.56am GMT

8th over: India 34-0 (Rahul 17, Mukund 15)

Hmm, there was a little more to the Starc-Mukund conversation at the end of the last over, though it was a one-way street. Starc was unloading on the Indian opener. I wonder what Ian Healy will think. Lyon continues to left-handed Mukund, and he’s getting a decent amount of spin in this over, coming around the wicket and fizzing it past the outside edge. In a moment of madness, Mukund leaves the last, which goes on with the flight and misses the off stump by a matter of inches. Mukund chuckles, but that wasn’t his finest moment.

5.54am GMT

7th over: India 33-0 (Rahul 16, Mukund 15)

Steve Smith might have been tempted to give Steve O’Keefe an over here but sticks with Starc. The Indian openers continue to take brisk singles, which has been an obvious ploy to set a tone early in their innings. So far it’s working. Mukund can’t cash in on a wild and wooly short one from Starc, which he attacks with a full-blooded hook shot but misses. Brilliantly, he does latch on to another, top-edging it rather unconvincingly but picking up a six in the process. Starc laughs because crying wouldn’t inspire confidence.

5.48am GMT

6th over: India 25-0 (Rahul 15, Mukund 8)

Spin time now as Nathan Lyon wanders in to replace Josh Hazlewood. That seems sensible to me. Something needed to change, and he’s worth a go before lunch. He’s also on a hat-trick after taking wickets with his final two deliveries of the first innings. Mukund keeps the first one out with a solid forward defence, and when he’s on the back foot he’s offering a dead straight bat. Without a diving stop from Warner at point, Mukund also might have picked off a boundary from a half-tracker but contents himself with a single. Not much turn for Lyon in his first over.

Related: Former Australia cricketer Ian Healy ‘losing respect’ for Virat Kohli

5.44am GMT

5th over: India 24-0 (Rahul 15, Mukund 7)

We’ll have 15 minutes more play before lunch, which probably means three overs after this one from Starc. He comes around the wicket to Rahul but both he and his partner are handling things comfortably at the moment. They might not want to go off the way the early momentum has gone in their favour.

5.39am GMT

4th over: India 20-0 (Rahul 12, Mukund 6)

Remember half an hour ago when I floated a theory about India being bowled out for 75? Funny thing: I was hacked. The IT boffins tell me the security breach has since been fixed. Speaking of remedies, Josh Hazlewood seems to have reined his line in a decent amount now, and this is much tidier in his second over. A single to Rahul is the only damage and there’s a quarter of a LBW shout against Mukund from the final delivery. Not out.

5.35am GMT

3rd over: India 19-0 (Rahul 11, Mukund 6)

Rahul is making himself a little vulnerable in one sense; Starc’s extra pace means he’s not opting to bat outside his crease as per the approach of the Australians, thus he’s a greater liability to be trapped in front by Starc’s yorker. Still, the big left-armer has to nail one for that to be a problem. At the moment he’s taking the Ishant approach and pitching it a yawning distance outside off stump.

5.29am GMT

2nd over: India 14-0 (Rahul 11, Mukund 2)

Matthew Wade is grimacing already, and you can’t really blame him. Hazlewood steams in with a wide one and as well as taking off at right angles towards the cordon, it bounces a couple of times before Wade has to stop it. I hope he’s wearing a mouthguard. The next ball takes off like the pitch is the WACA circa 1975. Rahul continues his bright start by clipping a compact and effective straight drive to the fence when Halzwood over-pitches. This is a dreadful start by Australia’s opening bowlers. Both have bowled six entirely different deliveries. Line and length would do the job here. Even Mukund gets a couple.

5.24am GMT

1st over: India 7-0 (Rahul 6, Mukund 0)

We’re away in India’s second innings, and facing up to start with is Lokesh Rahul, the only major contributor of the first innings. He immediately clips Starc down to fine leg for a single. Less settled in this line-up is Abhinav Mukund, who hasn’t played a Test in six years and looks a bit rusty when he fences outside off stump to Starc first up. The Aussie laughs, then literally licks his lips.

5.18am GMT

Losing 4-7 is hardly an ideal way to finish

Though Australia’s nose is slightly ahead here. In more good news, Robert McLiam Wilson’s migraine must be clearing. He writes: “Reasons to wish you were Australian: Vol I – every single time any Aussie ever says ‘crook’ or ‘strides’ (I was born to say such things but neither work convincingly with my accent). Mind you, I feel something the same when Americans say ‘doofus’ or ‘No shit, Sherlock’.”

5.11am GMT

WICKET! Hazlewood c Rahul b Jadeja 1 (Australia all out for 276)

That is that. Jadeja finishes with 6-63 from 21.4 overs having done a superb job finishing off the Aussies. The final wicket was Hazlewood, who thumped one down to long on but not far enough to avoid Rahul in the deep. The tourists lead by 87 runs and will have somewhere in the vicinity of 35 minutes to jag a few wickets before lunch.

87 run lead for the Aussies. Very well played in tough batting conditions once again

5.07am GMT

122nd over: Australia 275-9 (O’Keefe 3, Hazlewood 1)

Does anyone else get the sneaky feeling India might be bowled out for 75 on this track? Just me? A qualifier: Josh Hazlewood is playing Ashwin comfortably in this over, and he’s hardly Sir Garfield Sobers.

5.05am GMT

121st over: Australia 275-9 (O’Keefe 3, Hazlewood 1)

Hazlewood survives the hat-trick ball and gets a single to boot. Having bowled half as many overs as Ravi Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja now has 5-62 from 21 overs of canny left-arm spin. That was an outstanding over to reduce the Australians to nine down. They lead by 86 runs at the moment, and that could have been a far bigger deficit for India.

5.03am GMT

Jadeja is on a hat-trick! Lyon is gone for a golden duck and things are falling away very quickly for the Australians. Often their tailenders have got them out of bother, today they’re falling like nine pins. The tourists have lost their last three wickets for five runs.

5.01am GMT

It’s given, and Lyon opts for the last chance saloon review. If he fails, Jadeja is on a hat-trick!

4.58am GMT

Wade’s gone! It was a hit and hope referral, that one, but it was heading straight for the stumps when it struck him in line. Off he trots and the rest of them stop for drinks.

4.57am GMT

Well that answers the question about Jadeja’s fitness, though Matthew Wade’s stay might be over. He’s been given out and he conferences with O’Keefe before asking for a review. Worth a shot.

4.56am GMT

120th over: Australia 274-7 (Wade 40, O’Keefe 3)

Hmm, has Ravi Jadeja just crocked himself diving in the outfield? He’s certainly grimacing in pain after Wade scurries through for a single. It looks like his hamstring or buttock is the issue. Sod’s law has it that he’s forced into another chase soon after. In the next over we’ll see how it’ll alter his delivery stride, if at all.

4.53am GMT

119th over: Australia 271-7 (Wade 39, O’Keefe 1)

Steve O’Keefe gets off the mark with a single, and it is worth mentioning at this point that he too can handle a cricket bat. In first-class cricket he averages 28.74 with nine half-centuries. One more here would just about get Australia over the line.

4.50am GMT

118th over: Australia 269-7 (Wade 38, O’Keefe 0)

OBO favourite Robert McLiam Wilson arrives now with his first dispatch of the Test. I won’t hold it against him that it’s taken until day three, because it appears he’s crooker than that Nigel Llong decision from earlier in the over.

4.50am GMT

Starc goes! Finally he latched onto a slog sweep, but I was wrong about the distance covered; he picks out Jadeja at cow corner, though the latter has to do some very smart work moving around to take the catch. With that wicket down, Australia have three more in the bank and lead by 80 runs. Forty more and they’ll be reasonably content.

4.46am GMT

OK, I was completely wrong on that one. It’s been overturned! Starc lives to fight another day.

4.45am GMT

And it’s been given! Starc immediately reviews but the replays don’t look good for him.

4.44am GMT

117th over: Australia 267-6 (Wade 37, Starc 25)

This is actually much better from India. Jadeja has a wide-ish leg gully in place as he comes around the wicket to Wade and when he claims an inside edge the ball nearly reach that man. Wade weathers a searching five deliveries and then plays a beautiful stroke, dancing down the wicket and gently driving past mid-off for a boundary.

4.41am GMT

116th over: Australia 262-6 (Wade 33, Starc 24)

Ashwin changes his plan of attack and comes around the wicket to Wade. He’s got a slip, a silly point and a man on the 45 (that is a close-in fine leg or a deep leg gully, in case you’re wondering). At least it gives Wade something else to think about, and he’s watchful and defensive in this over. Maiden.

4.38am GMT

115th over: Australia 262-6 (Wade 33, Starc 24)

Kohli’s seen enough of Ishant now, and I don’t entirely blame him on that front. Ravindra Jadeja appears for his first bowl of the day, and Wade is crouching low to sweep him for a single down to fine leg. Starc does even better, opening the face and running one to third man to pick up two. It’s all Australia so far. The Indian bowlers are really battling.

4.35am GMT

114th over: Australia 257-6 (Wade 31, Starc 21)

This is turning into a pesky partnership for Virat Kohli and his side. It now totals 35 runs from just under 13 overs, and Australia’s lead has stretched to 68 with a couple of bys in this over. Ashwin has half a LBW shout against Starc but it’s a rather desperate one, and not taken seriously by Nigel Llong.

4.31am GMT

113th over: Australia 255-6 (Wade 31, Starc 21)

Ishant was approaching Wade from around the wicket before, but he comes over now, which means he’s a bit straighter in his approach, and no less likely to miss out on an LBW if he’s not going to bowl straight. He draws Matthew Wade into a thick outside edge but it’s low and wide of the cordon, and runs away for four. Unlucky.

4.27am GMT

112th over: Australia 249-6 (Wade 25, Starc 21)

Ravi Ashwin is coming over the wicket to Starc, spinning it from a fourth stump line outside leg, but when he straightens up a bit Starc angles the bat and gets a couple through gully. He’s also throwing the kitchen sink at those slog-sweeps I mentioned earlier, but can’t quite make contact. When he does it might clear the stadium roofline.

4.24am GMT

111th over: Australia 247-6 (Wade 25, Starc 19)

Starc misses out on clipping one to fine leg but Wade scurries through for a leg bye, making his ground well before Saha throws down the stumps with his glove still on. Fair effort, that. I know containment is the name of the game for Ishant, but his economy rate is a moot point when Ashwin isn’t taking wickets at the other end. BOWL IT AT THE STUMPS, ISHANT!

4.18am GMT

110th over: Australia 246-6 (Wade 25, Starc 19)

Ashwin continues to Starc, who is often shaping to slog sweep but having difficulty wedding his premeditated stroke to the delivery in question. Matthew Hayden wants him to hit it flat and straight, which is his best suggestion in a while. A misfield gives Starc a single, and he retains the strike.

4.16am GMT

109th over: Australia 245-6 (Wade 25, Starc 18)

Ishant returns and finally gets one in the vicinity of the stumps, but it’s angling into Starc’s pads and he clips it away for three hany runs. So far so bad from the Indian paceman, who was excellent yesterday if a little wide with his line. Something else worth asking, re the Mitch Marsh debate: is he really needed when Starc is batting this well? Another thing: I haven’t received one publishable email about Ian Healy yet, but will keep checking them all off with the lawyers.

4.11am GMT

108th over: Australia 242-6 (Wade 25, Starc 15)

Ravi Ashwin is on from “the spinner’s end” of the ground, and will settle in for most of the morning I would think. Starc greets his first with a gigantic front pad, and then he plays an accidental French cut through his legs before four byes fly away to the boundary. It might be a tough morning behind the stumps for Wriddhiman Saha.

4.06am GMT

107th over: Australia 237-6 (Wade 25, Starc 14)

And we’re off on day three. Ishant Sharma has the ball in his hand first up and Matthew Wade faces up, whipping his hand off the bat and shaking it when the Indian paceman gets one to rear up and rap him on the gloves. Others keep lower, and I might make an early suggestion that Ishant takes on board a lesson from his dismissal of Mitch Marsh and just bowls it at the stumps. Crazy, I know, but you’re not bowling anybody or trapping them in front by pitch it a foot outside off stump on an up-and-down pitch. Balls three, four, five and six are all pitched outside off, drastically reducing the chance of a wicket as Wade gropes around. Get it together, Ishant.

3.59am GMT

Ian Healy has taken a decent old swipe at Virat Kohli

We’re still five minutes from the first ball and the hostilities have begun. The former Australian wicketkeeper says he’s “losing respect” for the Indian skipper after his verbal skirmish with Steve Smith yesterday. “The pressure is starting to tell on (Kohli),” Healy said on Melbourne radio station SEN this morning. “I’m losing respect for him. He’s not only now continuing his disrespect of the Australian players and umpires, but I think he’s putting pressure on his own players now.”

3.47am GMT

The pitch

“It looks like a totally different morning, this morning,” says Brett Lee, explaining the key differences between the concepts of yesterday and today. The pitch? The cracks are opening up like sinkholes. It’s an alarming sight on day three. We’re going to see a lot of deliveries staying low, and t’s going to be very fun to bowl on. “If Australia get the lead to 120, India’s going to have their backs to the wall,” says Sunny Gavaskar, and he’s pretty much spot-on there. “It’s almost been a pitch of two halves,” adds Lee. Somebody gag him, please.

3.43am GMT

On Shaun Marsh

“I don’t really know why he comes under the scrutiny he does,” says national selector Mark Waugh of Australia’s No4. Waugh is, remember, a member of the national selection panel, so has something of a vested interest in Marsh’s success on this tour. It’s tough on Usman Khawaja, who really should be in this side instead of Mitchell Marsh, but the older brother was magnificent yesterday. He’s not quite as stylish as Khawaja, but there is something inarguably artful about his batting on Asian pitches. He had a bit of luck in his 66 yesterday, but he did precisely the job he was brought in for.

3.38am GMT


Hello all and welcome to day three of the Bangalore Test. Russell Jackson here to take you through the first couple of sessions on what will prove the pivotal day in deciding the result. In actual fact, I have a feeling that 45 minutes of big hitting by Mitchell Starc could put India out of the game and with it, the series. If you disagree, please do hit me with an apoplectic email or tweet.

5.55am GMT

Russell will be here shortly. In the meantime, here’s how yesterday went down. It was enthralling stuff.

Related: Renshaw and Marsh edge Australia ahead of India in Bangalore Test

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Mar 05

Renshaw and Marsh edge Australia ahead of India in Bangalore Test

  • Australia (237-6) lead India by 48 runs after day two of Bangalore Test
  • Matthew Renshaw (60) and Shaun Marsh (66) lead the way for tourists

Australia have defied an inspired Indian fightback to claim a 48-run lead at stumps on day two of the second Test in Bangalore. Half-centuries from Shaun Marsh and Matt Renshaw – who both epitomised the tourists’ graft on a tense Sunday at M Chinnaswamy Stadium – pushed their side to 237-6 at the end of play.

Billed as a series-defining day after Nathan Lyon claimed eight wickets to spin the hosts out for 189, India rallied for the first time in the four-Test series. There was no shortage of twists, turns and terse words – especially between opposing skippers Virat Kohli and Steve Smith.

Related: Meg Lanning guides Australia to Rose Bowl series win over New Zealand

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Feb 25

Steve O’Keefe takes 12 wickets as Australia thrash India inside three days

  • Australia beat India by 333 runs
  • Test lasted less than three days

Left-arm spinner Steve O’Keefe picked up 12 wickets to guide Australia to a first win in India since 2004, the 333-run thrashing in the opening Test also bringing the home side’s 19-match unbeaten streak to a juddering halt on Saturday.

The 32-year-old, who returned matching career-best figures of 6-35 in both innings for a maiden 10-wicket Test haul, shone with the ball after his skipper Steve Smith had recorded his first Test century on Indian soil to anchor Australia’s batting.

Related: Australia beat India by 333 runs inside three days at first Test – live!

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