SCG Test, Day 2: India on top despite Smith's ton
Openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill have put India (96/2) in the driving seat in the final session on Day 2 of the ongoing SCG Test. The former remained sturdy in his comeback game, while youngster Gill stole the show with immaculate timing. Earlier, Australian star Steve Smith fired his 27th ton before the hosts got bowled out on 338. Here are the takeaways.
Australia resumed with an overnight score of 166/2 as Smith and Marnus Labuschagne arrived in the middle. All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja then gave India a crucial breakthrough in the form of Labuschagne (91). The rest of the batsmen couldn't do much damage, however, Smith went on to slam a hundred. Eventually, a direct hit from Jadeja resulted in his wicket. Meanwhile, India finished on 96/2.
Youngster Gill headlined the Indian innings on the second day, having dealt with the Australian bowlers comfortably. His technique against short-pitched deliveries grabbed attention after he displayed several back-foot punches. With this, he slammed his maiden half-century in the ultimate format, Test cricket. He has become the fourth-youngest Indian opener (21y, 122d) to score 50 or more outside Asia (Tests).
Rohit and Gill added 70 runs for the first wicket in the ongoing Test. This is the first time the Indian openers have lasted 20 overs in a Test outside Asia ever since Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir played out 29.3 overs in the second innings of the Centurion Test in December 2010. Interestingly, this happened as many as 92 innings ago.
Australian middle-order batsman, Smith, finally ended his run-drought as he slammed his 27th Test ton. He is now at par with India's Virat Kohli (27) in terms of centuries. Notably, Smith registered his eighth Test ton against India, joint-most with legends Gary Sobers, Viv Richards, and Ricky Ponting. He is also the second-fastest to 27 Test centuries in terms of innings (136).
With a 27th Test ton, Smith has emulated the record of former Australian captain Allan Border (27). He now has sixth-most Test centuries among Australians, alongside Border. The tally is led by the great Ricky Ponting, who has 41 tons to his name.
This was Smith's first hundred after 14 Test innings, the most between two centuries in his career. Also, he smashed one in 22 innings outside The Ashes, since recording 111 against India in Dharamsala (March 2017).
The Indian bowlers were terrific with the ball in the first innings. Jadeja was the pick of India's bowlers with figures of 4/62. He removed Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon in the second session. His rocket throw that dismissed the dangerous Smith toward the end grabbed the attention. Meanwhile, Bumrah (2/66) and Saini (2/65) also starred in the bowling segment.