Lunch: Australia 109 for 3 (Smith 34*, Handscomb 6*) v India
Live scorecard and ball-by-ball details
India nabbed three vital wickets as Australia risked not taking full advantage of the best pitch of the Border-Gavaskar series so far, at lunch on day one of the third Test held in Ranchi.
Steven Smith had won an important toss for the visitors but was less than satisfied to go to the interval having lost David Warner, Matt Renshaw and Shaun Marsh to the only three moments the batsmen looked in trouble all session.
Warner and Renshaw will be particularly frustrated to have wasted starts on a surface that played far better than widely predicted. Umesh Yadav bowled a quality spell of reverse swing for the hosts, but R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja found far less assistance than they had seen in Pune and Bengaluru.
Virat Kohli conceded he had lost a key toss, and that seemed more so as Renshaw and Warner rattled to 50 in less than 10 overs by taking advantage of the pitch’s even pace and a scorchingly fast outfield.
Jadeja erred on the full side to Warner, but a full toss found the batsman in two minds about hitting square or straight, and the resultant return catch maintained his mediocre overseas record. Renshaw had been finding gaps either side of the wicket and looked in full control, so it was a surprise when he fiddled in undisciplined fashion at Umesh and edged to Kohli at first slip. Umesh had created uncertainty by gaining some movement.
Marsh was unable to get established, well caught at short leg by Cheteshwar Pujara off bat and pad, the decision made after India’s successful DRS referral against Ian Gould’s initial not-out verdict. Peter Handscomb’s cover drive off his first ball to the fence underlined the improved batting conditions.
Smith edged one reversing ball from Umesh to the fine leg boundary between his pads, and will be keenly aware Australia are going to need their highest innings tally of the series to be able to dictate terms in Ranchi.
Australia had gambled on Pat Cummins as the replacement for the injured Mitchell Starc, handing the New South Wales fast bowler a first Test appearance since his memorable debut against South Africa in Johannesburg in 2011. Glenn Maxwell returned to the Test team after another long absence in place of Mitchell Marsh, having last played in the UAE against Pakistan in late 2014.
India recalled M Vijay after he missed the Bengaluru match due to a shoulder injury, and retained Karun Nair rather than recalling the off spin of Jayant Yadav.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig
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