Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 28th 2014 Contents A51
December 28, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
Vijay brought up his fourth half cen-
tury of the series as India made 108-
1 at stumps in a solid start to its chase
of Australia s massive first-innings
total of 530.
But it was Steven Smith who set the
standard for the day, falling just eight
runs short of a double century on the
second day of the third Test yester-
Australia s captain smashed an impe-
rious 192 for his highest first class score,
his third century of the series and sev-
enth of his test career. On the way he
also passed hard-hitting opener David
Warner as Australia s highest scorer of
Smith went on to snap up the catch
of Shikhar Dhawan at third slip off
Ryan Harris (1-19) for the only wicket
of the third session.
Vijay was 55 not out with Cheteshwar
Pujara unbeaten on 25 at the end of
play after the Indian batsmen made a
watchful start to their chase, content
to leave the ball rather than risk a wicket
"If you look at the overall game, the
score is pretty par for this wicket," spin
bowler Ravichandran Ashwin said. "It
seems slow and pretty flat as well. We ll
take 1-108 and we d like to pile on the
Ashwin optimistically said India
could still post a score big enough to
take control of the match.
"We ll make 650 and try to put them
back in," he said.
Pujara got a lucky escape while on
12 when an edge carried to Brad
Haddin, who fumbled the catch.
"When you get 530 runs on the
board everything gets easier from there,"
Smith said. "It would have been nice
to take a couple of wickets this evening,
but if we start well in the morning and
get the ball in the right areas I think
we ll get some rewards."
Smith was earlier ably assisted by
Haddin (55) and fast bowler Harris (74),
who brought up entertaining half cen-
turies to help the Australians add 271
runs to their overnight score.
With India s field ranged against the
boundary, Smith was the last Australian
out, bowled middle stump playing at
an Umesh Yadav (3-130) ball to usher
"I got out to a pretty silly shot,"
Smith said. "They had every man on
the fence. I was just trying to get a
boundary and it didn t work out so
that s OK."
Smith s knock came off 305 balls
with 15 boundaries and two sixes.
Harris scored his third test half cen-
tury in style with eight fours and a six
before he was trapped lbw while
attempting a big sweep off Ashwin (3-
Smith added another 50 runs with
Mitchell Johnson, who scored 28 before
being stumped off Ravichandran Ash-
win (3-134) shortly before lunch.
"Mitch Johnson again today looked
good and Ryan Harris came out and
batted beautifully. I don t think they
(India) had an answer for the way they
were playing," Smith said. "It s great
for us that the tail can come out and
do that and be really aggressive."
Nathan Lyon added 11 and was
bowled by Shami.
Smith and Haddin turned an evenly
poised match in Australia s favor with
an aggressive start to the morning,
sharing a 110-run, sixth-wicket part-
nership until Haddin (55) offered a bot-
tom edge to India wicketkeeper M.S.
Dhoni off Mohammed Shami (4-138).
After resuming the day on 72 with
Australia at 259-5, Smith brought up
his century with a four down the leg
side off Shami, raising his bat and hel-
met in celebration before an apprecia-
tive Melbourne Cricket Ground crowd.
The Australia captain s 100 came off
191 balls with nine boundaries and a
six.Haddin proved a resilient partner at
the other end, seeing off a barrage of
short balls from the Indian pacemen
to reach his half century off 75 balls
with seven boundaries a and a six.
Smith s previous highest first-class
score was 177 scored for New South
Wales against Tasmania. He has now
scored 1,132 test runs this year, eclipsing
Warner s 1,096.
Australia can clinch the four-test
series and reclaim the Border-Gavaskar
trophy with a win or draw in Mel-
bourne after a 48-run win in the first
test and a four-wicket victory last week
in the second test at Brisbane.
India reply to Aussies 530 on day 2
Brad Haddin scored 26 runs off
35 short balls bowled at him, play-
ing an important role in a 110-run
partnership for the sixth wicket
that helped take Australia to a huge
score from 5 for 216.
The Indian team, though, believes
their plan of continuing to bounce
was spot on, and that Haddin can
expect more of the same.
The plan stems from Brisbane
where he was caught fending in the
first innings and hooking in the sec-
Most experts, however, reckon
Haddin is more suspect to nicking
outside off, that he generally plays
the short ball well, and that his early
dismissals in Brisbane were more
an indication of his general form
and not his weakness against the
Here in Melbourne, Haddin found
a way to overcome the Indian plan
of bowling into his armpit from
round the wicket with a long leg,
a leg gully and a forward short leg
in place. He kept moving, staying
leg side of the ball, and kept pulling
the tired Indian bowlers in front of
square. India s plan meant Haddin
had to mainly watch out for only
his mode of dismissal, and not
worry about nicking the ball. R Ash-
win, though, doesn t think Haddin
was comfortable out in the middle.
"Did he seem comfortable?" Ash-
win shot back at the question.
"Okay. If you say so. We really
thought he had a genuine weakness
over there. We continue to think
he has a weakness over there. We
will continue to target him in the
next Test match as well. We will
continue to target him next innings
He doesn t quite look that com-
fortable. That s the idea behind
them." That makes it twice in a row
that India have lost the momentum
in Tests by overdoing the short stuff.
Mitchell Johnson laced them all over
the Gabba and Australia didn t seem
to mind it at all at the MCG.
"He played really well," their cap-
tain Steven Smith said. "Brad bats
best when he comes out and tries
to take on the opposition. He did
that today. He came out and was
very positive from ball one. I
thought he played the short ball
really well. He got underneath a few
and played a few pull shots and I
thought he played really well."
Ashwin was equally bullish about
India s chances in the game. "We
wanted to get them out pretty early,"
he said. "That was the plan. Unfor-
tunately Smith batted very well.
They got a bit too many runs for
our liking. But if you look at the
overall game, the score is pretty par
for the game.
The wicket seems slow and it is
pretty flat. We ll take 110 for 1 and
we ll like to pile on the runs tomor-
"I am not the one to basically
look and comment at this game.
But if you ask me, I will say only
one thing: we ll make 650 and try
and put them back in."
Ashwin has made a good come-
back into the team, tying one end
down to keep the quicks fresh.
He reckons this might be some
of his best bowling away from
home: "The last two days have been
hard work for me. I have put a real
honest effort, put in whatever I have
worked on to practice. I have been
really disciplined in my skills. There
have been better spells in patches,
but this is probably the best overall
However, Ashwin didn t get a
bowl for more than 90 minutes on
the second morning. Ninety min-
utes during which India failed to
keep a lid on the scoring.
"I am not one to stand next to
him (MS Dhoni) in the slips and
ask him for a bowl," he said. "The
idea was to exploit the new ball as
much as possible.
This is what I think. I hope it
stays that way.
"Not really (surprised). I thought
if we had a breakthrough I would
come in handy against Johnson. I
was prepared with my plans in
place. I was pretty clear with what
I was going to do." Ashwin, though,
didn t bowl for the first six overs
of the Smith-Johnson partnership.
Australia v India, 3rd Test, Melbourne...
India firm on short-ball plan for Haddin
Australia's captain Steve Smith watches the ball after making a shot
against India during the second day of their cricket Test match in
Melbourne, Australia, yesterday. He was out for 192. AP PHOTO
Brad Haddin deals with a short ball during his knock of 55 © GETTY IMAGES
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