Match report: Ind vs Aus – 3rd Test, Day 3
Batting for two sessions and an over, the Indian openers – Murali Vijay (83*) and Shikhar Dhawan (185*) posted 283 without loss at the end of third day’s play, after Australia were bowled out for 408. The Dhawan blitzkrieg outshone the valiant effort of Mitchell Starc (99) earlier in the day.
If ever there was an example of fighting your battles on the front foot, Dhawan’s innings in Mohali was it. He took the game away from Australia in a dream debut at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium. He held the audience’s attention and raced to the fastest Test hundred on debut, off 85 balls. The Delhi opener drove, pulled, punched and guided the ball through the gaps effortlessly leaving the opposition clueless. Yet to open the account when India went in to lunch at three for no loss, the left-handed batter got off the mark with a single and then followed it up with a boundary through cover off Peter Siddle in the next. There was no looking back from there on as he sent the ball to the fence with ease and struck 21 boundaries en route his century.
The opener from Delhi dived at the non-striker’s end to get to the all-important one run to reach 100 and got four more thanks to overthrows. His opening partner Murali Vijay, who was enjoying the theatrics from the other end and played a supporting role, too had his moments to impress the onlookers. Fresh from a brilliant ton on his comeback at Hyderabad, he dispatched Nathan Lyon for two breathtaking sixes in the long-on region in an over that yielded 17 runs. In another expensive over, Dhawan plundered 18 off Xavier Doherty as he slammed four boundaries and ran a couple. India were on a rampage as they blunted the Australian attack and added 153 runs without losing a wicket in the second session.
The Indian openers continued to milk the bowlers in the second session. Dhawan surpassed the legendary left-handed batsman Gundappa Viswanath to post the highest score by an Indian on debut when he reached 140 with a boundary over mid-wicket. India were 125 runs short of the Australian first innings total when play ended today.
Earlier, Mitchell Starc and Steven Smith had pulled Australia back into the game as they added 75 runs to their overnight stand, before Pragyan Ojha struck to end it. Unbeaten on 20 overnight, Mitchell Starc made a sparkling 99 to take Australia to a respectable total, before falling to Ishant Sharma with Australia one run short of 400. Smith was the first to return to the dressing room this morning; he was stumped for 92 off Ojha. After the departure of Smith, Starc found an able ally in Nathan Lyon who held up one end in a 51-run stand. It was Ishant Sharma who set set up Starc’s fall and got the lower-order batsman to edge the ball as MS Dhoni took a low diving catch. Xavier Doherty was then trapped lbw by Ravichandran Ashwin to end the Australian innings a little before lunch.
At the end of Day 3: Australia 1st innings 408 all-out in 141.5 overs (S Starc 99, S Smith 92, I Sharma 3/72, R Jadeja 3/77); India 1st innings 283/0 in 58 overs (S Dhawan 185*, M Vijay 83*)
At the end of Day 2: Australia 1st innings 273/7 in 104 overs (Ed Cowan 86, D Warner 71, S Smith 58*, M Starc 20*, R Jadeja 3/56, I Sharma 2/41)
At the end of Day 1: No play due to rain