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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Irrepressible Smith powers Australia to another big score: T3D2

India 1/108 (37ov, Vijay 55*/102b/5x4, Dhawan 28, Pujara 25*) trail Australia 530 (142.3ov, Smith 192/305b/2x6 15x4, Harris 74/88b/1x6 8x4, Rogers 57/126b/5x4, Haddin 55/84b/1x6 7x4, Watson 52/89b/4x4, S Marsh 32, Johnson 28, Mohammed Shami 29-4-138-4, Yadav 3/130, Ashwin 3/134) by 422 with 9 1st inns wkts in hand; T3/4 D2/5 at MCG.

Another masterly innings by Steve Smith has led Australia to a dominant position. While India have so far made a reasonable fist of chasing 530 they need to do a lot more work to save, let alone 
win the Test and therefore keep the series alive.

India lost it in the first session, when their bowlers delivered 25 overs and took 2/140. Smith, who'd moved from 72 to 128, wasn't one of them. So, with the four bowler India attack tiring, not only the captain - as seemed inevitable - but also Ryan Harris, who can be dangerous in a situation like this, were able to accelerate and post a total which while not improbable was at the upper end of the spectrum of expectation.

Smith didn't make a double century, yet did post his highest first class score. He is in such good form at the moment that it wouldn't surprise to see him overtake today's 192 soon. His defence is tighter than it used to be, while he doesn't like to allow bowlers to confine him ( and usually gets his way). A class act.

India don't seem to be able to put together a sustained effort with either bat or ball: one good session seems to be about their limit at present. Their selection of only four frontline bowlers, not all of whom are able to perform consistently at frontline standard, has backfired. Whether their batting can surprise us with consecutive good sessions on D3 is questionable: but if it doesn't the Test looks lost.

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