Smith takes a screamer – but it’s the grassed chance that hurts

Posted June 20th, 2019 by admin and filed in 南京夜网
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Full scorecard: India vs Australia, Second Test, Bangalore
Nanjing Night Net

Steve Smith hauled in another screamer, but it’s the catch he could not take that is hurting Australia’s chances to claim a famous victory in the second Test.

The Australians are paying a heavy price after their captain put down Cheteshwar Pujara on four. The Indian No.3 was unbeaten on 79 at stumps and shapes as the key wicket for Smith’s men on the fourth day if Australia are to keep the run chase to a manageable target.

India were 4-213 at stumps on the third day, a lead of 126.

Smith grassed a tough chance low to his left at first slip and though it would be harsh to criticise, he has has held on to many more difficult catches.

He proved that later with his brilliant one-handed grab to dismiss Lokesh Rahul off Steve O’Keefe’s bowling.

Smith dived full stretch to his right to complete a catch every bit as good as the one he held to dismiss New Zealand’s BJ Watling a one-day international in Sydney.

“That’s one of the best catches I’ve ever seen live,” Brett Lee, who had a 21-year career at the top levels, said on Star Sports.

Smith, who made eight in the first innings, will need to play a key role with the bat in the run chase if Australia are to win the second Test and claim a 2-0 series lead.

Pujara had insisted the pitch was becoming easier to bat on – and proved it on the third day. He batted for the best part of two sessions and once set, did not give a chance.

Paceman Josh Hazlewood said he and Mitchell Starc had erred by not attacking the stumps and bringing the pitch’s variable bounce into play.

“We did bowl a bit wide, that Australian line – we can improve tomorrow morning,” Hazlewood said.

Whatever total Australia are set, they can at least draw comfort knowing India were able to score 87 more on a pitch that did not deteriorate much on the third day.

While there is still turn for the slow bowlers, the spin is not as quick as it was on day one when Nathan Lyon capitalised with eight wickets.

“I think the wicket’s drier now. When it does stay low and jump the batsman can react better and counter it,” Hazlewood said.

“Day one or two it was sharp and quick, the wicket played reasonably well today.”

The momentum is with India, but if Australia can strike early they will fancy their chances of quickly wrapping up India’s tail, which has been poor this series.

“I think it feels pretty level at the moment. They obviously fought back really well in that last session,” Hazlewood said.

“Credit to the two guys out there batting now, they stuck to their plans and fought hard and scratched away for quite a good amount of runs.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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