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Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Shubman Gill’s century leads India’s response to Australia

In the third Test match between India and Australia, Shubman Gill scored his fifth international century of the year, leading India’s response to Australia’s first-innings total of 480. While Australia managed to restrict the scoring rate for long periods, Gill’s knock of 128 off 235 balls ensured India remained in the game. At the end of the third day, India was 191 runs behind Australia’s total with seven wickets in hand. Virat Kohli also scored his first fifty since the Cape Town Test in 2020 and looked set for a hundred.

The Pitch and Australia’s Strategy

Although there was some turn and misbehaviour from the pitch, it was not enough to make survival difficult. Australia bowled predominantly to one side of the pitch and waited for mistakes, as they realized that there wasn’t much threat to the wicket, but scoring wasn’t easy either.

India’s Early Assault and Partnership

India’s early assault on Mitchell Starc meant that the first 15 overs of three of the four new balls used in the match had gone for 193 runs and no wicket. Once Australia went to spin at both ends, the runs dried up, and Rohit Sharma lost his wicket to an innocuous delivery from Matt Kuhnemann. However, the partnership between Gill and Cheteshwar Pujara began to pick up the pace again once Australia went back to pace.

Shubman Gill’s Century and Kohli’s Arrival

Gill marked his second Test century with two lovely cover drives off Cameron Green, followed by a dance down the pitch to pop Nathan Lyon over his head. Just before tea, Pujara lost his wicket to Todd Murphy’s off-break, bringing Kohli to the crease. After tea, Gill and Kohli ran hard and played sedately until Gill fell to a quick full off-break from Nathan Lyon.

The Final Exchanges

India’s run rate slowed down as Australia continued with the old ball, with only 26 runs coming in the first 15.2 overs of the Kohli-Jadeja partnership. The new ball was taken, and Jadeja hit a six off Kuhnemann to bring up his six runs. However, with only 13 wickets falling in three days, the Test match was left needing something dramatic for an outright result.

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