Australia v India – Third Test, Day 3: Relentless Australia Takes Charge



I always say that like championship golf that “Day 3 at the cricket is moving day” and so it turned out to be.


Right from the start Paine employed just the solitary slip for Pujara and Rahane. The plan was to contain the batsmen into playing false shots if they wanted to score runs.


The bowlers were making it hard for the batsmen to score such was their immaculate length.  Cummins, Hazlewood and Lyon were right on the spot.  Hazlewood’s 6 overs for 6 runs was a perfect example.


Both batsmen had decided anything wide of the stumps could be left alone and they would attack only the loose balls. In return the bowlers peppered them with short balls as well as their unerring length.


It was a gritty battle between two very fine batsmen and the best attack in world cricket.


It came as a surprise when Rahane (22) played on to Cummins. The ball cut back ever so slightly and hit the inside edge of what had been a very defiant bat until then.  India 3/117 and Cummins had struck a telling blow for his team.


New batsman Hanuma Vihari never looked like making runs. Lyon had him tied up in knots and it took him 21 balls to get his first run.


It came as no surprise when on 4 he was brilliantly run-out by a diving Hazlewood at mid-off who hit the middle stump with a direct ping.  Brilliant cricket.  India 4/142.


The out-fielding of both sides has been outstanding in this series and like all first-class cricket this is the one facet of the game that has become a highlight in recent years.


Meanwhile Cheteshwar Pujara “The New Wall” continued to defy the attack without ever taking control.  His objective is to stay there and he certainly knows how to do that.


Although he missed a couple of chances in Australia’s first innings Rishabh Pant is a very valuable Number 6 batsman as he gets on with the game, chances his eye but puts runs on the board for his team.


Spare a thought for Matthew Wade at silly leg. What a morning he had. Stretching, diving, sprawling he tried every thing in an attempt to make and take catches.  Only one went to hand and it would have been a miracle if he had taken it.


At lunch the Indians had moved on to 180 for the loss of 4 wickets.  An even morning with Australia having a bit of luck in claiming the 2 wickets, with Nathan Lyon bowling a marathon spell without any.  Pant 29 and Pujara 42 at the crease.


Australia take the new ball shortly after lunch and the run rate trickles down to virtually 1 an over.  It is tough cricket and made even tougher when Pant takes a nasty one on the elbow from Cummins. I’d be surprised if there is not a chipped bone somewhere but Pant decides to bat on.


Obviously in pain Pant (36) does not get across to a Hazlewood ball and Warner takes a comfortable catch at first slip.  India 5/195 becomes 6/195 when Cummins, bowling superbly, gets one to nip across Pujara (50) and Paine gobbles it. Two top overs from the express men has broken the back of India’s innings.


A foolish run by Jadeja sees Ashwin (10) run-out at the bowler’s end. That was the last thing India needed at this stage. 7/206 and they have lost 3 wickets for 11 runs.


Ugly Australians in action?  You betcha, as Starc bounces an incompetent Navdeep Saini (4) and he pokes one to Wade 8/210. It is fine to bounce “real” batsmen but this attitude of “we can bounce anyone” leaves a lot to be desired. Starc’s smirk did not go over well with this cricket purist.


Sportsmanship?  I don’t think so.


Another run out when Labuschagne brilliantly throws out Bumrah (0) from an attempted sharp single. 9/216 and the visitors have collapsed after lunch, losing 5/21.


Ravindra Jadeja has been left stranded at the non-strikers end while wickets tumble around him.  The Australian out-fielding has been brilliant today.


He decides to “go for it” and takes to Starc with a vengeance. The bowler hits him on the fingers and another stoppage in play is the result. The injury is on his spinning fingers as well.


A further 28 runs are added for the last wicket before Siraj (6), all at sea against Cummins, tickles him through to Paine.


A disastrous session for the Indians and they are all out for 244. Since lunch they had lost 6/64.  Jadeja remained 28 not out.


Cummins was superb again and his 4/29 come from 21.4 overs. There is no doubt that Patrick Cummins is head and shoulders above everyone else in the fast-bowling fraternity. He bowls an immaculate length, varies his pace and swing, and has a lethal bouncer when he uses it. No wonder he is the highest paid player in the IPL when you throw in his fielding as well.


Hazlewood 2/43, Starc 1/61, and three run outs made up the rest of the wickets. Lyon was superb in bottling up the batsmen in a marathon effort of 31 overs and his figures indicate nothing of his value.


Australia lead by 94 runs and will have a big session to build on that lead for the remainder of the day.


A bit of a disappointing crowd for Pink Day with a little over 9,000 in attendance.


Pucovski (10) plays a couple of fluent strokes but falls to one from Siraj that moves enough for him to touch it through to substitute keeper Saha (Pant had gone to hospital with his elbow injury). Warner taking his time played one lovely straight drive but on 13 tried to hit Ashwin’s first ball out of the ground and was plumb LBW and his team were 2/35.


Australia’s lynch-pins, Inspector Gadgets, call them what you like, are together and for the Indians to have any chance they must get rid of these two players.


Labuschagne is having a marvellous summer again, and Smith after his failures in the first two Tests hit form with a vengeance in the first dig here in Sydney.


Being one bowler short again has hampered the Indians.  Bumrah has not had a good match and the experience of Jadeja is missing.  They battle on valiantly but these two batsmen are world class and you need your best available bowlers if you wish to contain them.


At stumps Australia are 2/103 with Marnus 47 and SPD 29.  Australia now lead by 197 with 2 days of cricket remaining. Ashwin and Siraj a wicket a piece.


The home side have been relentless throughout the day and the scoreboard says it all. India’s injuries just keep mounting and they will find it hard to save this one if two key players in Pant and Jadeja cannot bat in the second innings.


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About Bob Utber

At 80 years of age Citrus Bob is doing what he wanted to do as a 14 year-old living on the farm at Lang Lang. Talking, writing, watching sport. Now into his third book on sports history he lives in Mildura with his very considerate wife (Jenny ) and a groodle named "Chloe On Flinders". How good is that.


  1. This is the last Test of the series. India didn’t need more excuses to go home with all their injuries and Covid inconveniences. Now racist abuse by morons inspired by Warne & Symonds.
    Paine needs a spell in the hall of mirrors. When you are complaining about DRS rather than focussing on the contest between bat and ball you really need to consider what game you are playing and why.
    Langer has lost the plot and let the boys be boys again. Winning ugly.
    I’m out here along with the Indian side.

  2. Yes, a good day by Australia, Citrus.

    I thought the two key moments were when Cummins bowled Rahane, and then when Cummins hit Pant on the elbow. Pant was batting well up until that point, and really was moving the scoring rate along, but he just never looked comfortable after taking that blow.

    I am not as critical of Paine as others. Yes, it is not ideal that he uses a profanity, but I hardly expect them tio be choir boys on the field of play. He wasn’t swearing at the umpire, he was expressing frustration, and that is the big difference.

  3. Citrus Bob you have to be joking,Warner plumb lbw ! It was all what is wrong with umpiring and drs guesswork the batsman a MILE down the pitch yes poor shot but it is pure insanity batsman are being given out for playing a poor shot.There HAD to be ENORMOUS DOUBT which the batsman should have received but guesswork is now encouraged re umpiring and as for this drs complete dribble – yes it MAY have clipped the bails for mine showed what a absolute stinker it was last ball I watched for the day totally disgusted
    ( I’m certainly not a lover of Warner either) Paul Reiffels 1st howler for mine
    Test cricket is the elite all players have to be able to handle the blade a pathetically soft dismissal by Saini
    ( yes if bouncer after bouncer but there wasn’t anything wrong with that bowling on this occasion )

  4. Smokie couldn’t agree more

  5. Jennifer Carver says

    PB – Like you I am concerned that this could be the last Test. If they play in Brisbane India will be digging deep into the barrel to find a team and will be glad when the series is over because of the injuries. Agree that the boys have become boys again. Let us hope that Pucovski and Green don’t learn much.
    SMOKIE – I have noticed an attitudinal change with Paine this series. Cummins is brilliant
    RULEBOOK – I was going to comment today about the umpires and in particular “Pistol” who has been excellent. Both Saini & Siraj cannot bat so why bounce them is my attitude. The bowlers had the ability to keep Jadeja away from the strike so why bounce two incompetent batsmen?

  6. Apologies gentlemen!
    I hit my wife’s “button” by mistake although it would have been wonderful to see comments on cricket from her in the media!
    Got the paper very early this morning and Tim Paine has not missed out. interesting to see what will happen when fellow Taswegian David Boon files his report at the end of the match.

  7. Pistol has been excellent until that absolute stinker ( but that’s where the instructions have gone horribly wrong ) disagree re the bouncers part as Gary Hayes said yesterday may as well have bowling machines instead of this inane criticism he nailed it imo
    ICC should have stepped in after Smith putrid lbw against,SA in Perth have a spot if you’re that far forward it can’t be out blatant common sense

  8. Liam Hauser says

    Paine’s complaints about DRS were on display last season as well. I remember a lifting delivering hitting a Kiwi batsman on the wrist, and Paine unsuccessfully claiming a catch. Replays weren’t totally convincing but Paine insisted that the ball clipped the bottom of the batsman’s glove, and that the batsman should have been given out. I reckon Paine sometimes gets too bogged down with the DRS.
    The DRS system will never be perfect, nor will technology ever be able to eliminate human interpretation and human error. There’s always going to be marginal calls that could go either way. Human nature being what it is, people often tend to only notice when the decision doesn’t go their way.
    In his book Cricket as I see it, Allan Border remarked of Australia: “We play a hard game, but when someone plays hard against us, we’re inclined not to like it.”
    So very very true!

  9. CITRUS BOB says

    IH – How very true is Alan Border’s remark.
    Think we have all agreed on Tim Paine – just get back to being a great captain and not a “whinging Aussie”.

  10. Daryl Schramm says

    Didn’t get to see a lot yesterday, even with Tbox, preferring to be out and about on a Saturday. Interesting article and comments. Looking at the scoreboard and the highlights it seems the bowling and the fielding was top class. Cummins a stand out. 3 run outs a combination of great fielding and inept judgement by those at the crease. I’m over bouncers. Have been for years. Their overuse at Headingly ’19 contributed to that result (and drama). This series was always going to be a bouncer war after the Conway episode before the first test. I can only assume Shami was involved when the attack and field changed as soon as he came to the wicket in Adelaide. Besides, Saini wasn’t backward in letting a few go on day 2. There also seems to be a lot of cats on the ground. There is ‘Cat Shit’ everywhere.

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