The Indian lower-order batters continued to plunder runs as the hosts raised 400 before getting all out on the stroke of lunch on the third day of the first Test against Australia. Axar Patel made 84 while Mohammed Shami slammed 37 as India took a massive 223-run lead in the first innings here on Saturday.
Resuming at the overnight score of 321/7, the Indians added 79 runs to their total in just overs on the third morning with Axar Patel and Mohammed Shami raising 52 runs for the ninth wicket after Patel and Ravindra Jadeja had capitalised on the platform provided by skipper Rohit Sharma on the second day with a magnificent century.
Patel was the last man to get out, as a Pat Cummins delivery sneaked in and clipped the off stump and bail fell off. Patel played a vital innings for India, scoring 84 runs during a 174-ball stay at the wicket during which he struck 10 boundaries and one six. He was cautious to start and went for the runs after Jadeja got out, showing the visitors’ how to build innings on this wicket.
Patel and Shami then raised 52 runs for the ninth wicket, playing at a fast clip as India decided to add as many runs as possible. Shami blasted three sixes and two fours during his 47-ball 37 that added to Australia’s woes.
The Aussies had prepared themselves for a snake pit of a wicket that was specially prepared to render the left-handed batsmen packed in their lineup hors de combat. But ironically, it were two left-handed batters in the Indian lineup — Jadeja and Patel — that took the match away from them with a crucial partnership for the eighth wicket.
However, there was a silver lining for the visitors too as rookie off-spinner Todd Murphy bowled brilliantly, used the conditions well to add two more wickets to his tall for a seven-wicket haul on debut.
Murphy gave Australia the early breakthrough on the third morning that they so desired, by cleaning up Jadeja for 70 off 185 balls. With the ball spinning a little more and bouncing at times, playing from the South End or the Pavilion End looks more difficult and the Australians pressed Murphy into action from that end.
The debutant off-spinner got one to go straight while Jadeja expected it to turn away and thus left it. The ball went past the edge and rattled his off-stump. Jadeja struck nine boundaries during the vital innings that helped India set themselves up for a big lead.
Patel continued to hold one end up while Shami went for his runs from the other. He got down to one knee and hoicked Murphy over square midwicket for a six and also square-cut Nathan Lyon for a four past the backward point fielder.
The pacer was lucky on a few occasions as the ball went closely past the edge and even survived a DRS review for an lbw off Lyon. Scott Boland helped India’s cause by dropping Shami near the long-on boundary as the pacer lived by the sword. He died by the sword too, trying to hit Murphy across the line and top-edging it behind for keeper Alex Carey to run around to backward of square and pouch an easy catch. Shami’s entertaining innings lasted 47 balls and fetched India 37 invaluable runs as they continued to build on the lead, which means they might have fewer runs to score in the fourth innings if the match drags on. Shami hammered two fours and three sixes in all.
Australia 177 v India 400 all out in 139.3 overs (Rohit Sharma 120, Ravindra Jadeja 70, Axar Patel 84, Mohd Shami 37; Todd Murphy 7-124, Cummins 2-78). India lead by 223 runs.