Team India script history: Key learnings from SCG Test
Team India held off the Australian bowlers on Day 5 of the third Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground. While chasing a mammoth 407, the Ajinkya Rahane-led side batted out as many as 131 overs in the fourth innings to salvage a memorable draw. The likes of Hanuma Vihari and Ravichandran Ashwin remained unbeaten, denying Australia a win. Here are the key learnings.
Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma did justice to the opening slot as India dropped Mayank Agarwal for the game. The duo added 50+ runs for the first wicket in both the innings. One of the notable features was their propensity to play the short ball. It will be interesting to see if they replicate the show at Gabba, which offers more pace and bounce.
Rishabh Pant didn't take the field in the second innings after suffering a blow while batting. Notably, Wriddhiman Saha replaced him behind the stumps. However, the former single-handedly turned India's fortunes on the final day, receiving a promotion up the order. Considering his blazing knock (97) but lackluster wicket-keeping skills, the experts argued that Pant should play as a specialist batsman in the middle-order.
All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja sustained a similar blow while batting. Jadeja, who gave an all-round performance in the first innings, was later taken for scans. It has now been reported that he won't play the fourth Test. In the Gabba Test, India will services of yet another important asset, having already lost Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, and KL Rahul due to injuries.
Vihari and Ashwin pulled off a daunting task on Day 5. The duo showed terrific resistance on a tricky wicket, having dealt with the bowlers valiantly. While Vihari batted with a hamstring issue, Ashwin took multiple blows on his body. After the match, Ashwin's wife revealed that he had a stiff back in the morning. It was indeed a great advertisement for Test cricket.
Although hosts Australia couldn't capitalize upon their first-innings lead, they gained a number of positives in the SCG Test. One of them was the resurrection of Steve Smith, who faltered in the first two Tests. Smith, who was adjudged the Player of the Match, scored 131 and 81 in the two innings. He scripted several feats with a record-equaling 27th ton.
Young all-rounder Cameron Green rose to occasion in the second innings, coming to bat at number six. He extended Australia's lead by smashing a maiden Test fifty. He ended up scoring 84 off 132 balls, a knock that was studded with 8 fours and 4 sixes. Besides that, Green's ability to provide some crucial overs might make him an effective fast-bowling all-rounder.