Jadeja, Gill Shine as India Dominate Day 2 Despite Smith Century

Smith got his act going in the series and smashed his 27thTest ton to propel Australia to 338 in the first innings.

3 min read
India’s Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill steal a single during the first innings at the SCG against Australia. 

All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja’s (62/4) was the X-factor for India with the ball and in the field as they fought back on Day 2 of the Sydney Test against Australia, before openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill kept the new-ball bowlers at bay but failed to kick on.

Gill, playing his second Test scored his maiden half-century, and Rohit, scored 26 on his return from injury, as the openers put on a 70 runs off 27 overs, India’s longest opening stand since 2004 when Aakash Chopra and Virender Sehwag batted for 39.1 overs and scored 123 runs. It was also India’s longest opening partnership outside Asia since December 2010.

However, before young Gill mesmerised the pundits, Steve Smith finally got his act going in the series and smashed his 27th Test ton to propel Australia to 338 in the first innings, in the process breaking the century drought against India that stretched back to the 2017. At Stumps on the second day, India finished with 96/2 with Ajinkya Rahane (5*) and Cheteshwar Pujara (9*) holding fort.

The hosts began Day 2 with Marnus Labuschagne and Smith hoping to bat long hours and pile on the runs in the first innings after finishing the opening day with the score at 166/2. The duo completed their 100-run partnership before Labuschagne became India’s first wicket on the day, caught in the slips by Rahane for 91, the first time he got out in the 90s in Test cricket.

By Lunch, there had been two more rain delays while India picked 3 wickets as Australia’s score read 249/5 with Matthew Wade (13) and Cameron Green (0) losing their wickets in the space of eight overs and 17 runs. Captain Tim Paine (1) could not keep Smith company for too long either and was also dismissed cheaply by Jasprit Bumrah (66/2).

India continued to fight back after the break even though Smith tried to keep them at bay for as long as he could with Pat Cummins (0) and Mitchell Starc (24) hung in there with him too. Smith, who breathed a huge of sigh of relief on reaching his century, finished with 131 when an inspired piece of fielding by Jadeja ran him out and put an end to the Australian innings.

Debutant Navdeep Saini picked two wickets as well while Mohammed Siraj took one and off-spinner R Ashwin, however, went wicket-less in the 24 overs he bowled and conceding 74 runs.

India continued to control proceedings after that as well with Gill and Rohit playing out the new ball, with a solid defence and a few very attractive shots, especially from the more inexperienced batsman.

However, with 26 to his name, Rohit failed to kick on and became Josh Hazlewood’s 300th Test wicket on his 30th birthday. A few overs later, Gill first stole a quick single off Nathan Lyon and completed his maiden Test fifty, before edging one to Green at gully, becoming Cummins’ first wicket of the day.

Thereafter, India captain Rahane and Pujara dug in for the final hour to come away unscathed at the end of the second day in Sydney. India managed to add 11 runs to the total with the duo in the middle in that period of after Gill’s dismissal.

Ahead of Jane McGrath Day at the SCG, the third day of every Sydney Test since 2009, India were 242 runs behind with the contest delicately poised.

Brief scores: India 96/2 at Stumps on Day 2 (Shubman Gill 50, Rohit Sharma 26; Pat Cummins 1/19) Australia 338 all out (Steve Smith 131, Marnus Labuschagne 91; Ravindra Jajeja 4/62)

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