Gill (128), Kohli (59*) lead strong India reply against Australia

SUMMARY: Australia 480 (Usman Khawaja 180, Cameron Green 114; R Ashwin 6-91) lead India 289-3 (Shubman Gill 128, Virat Kohli 59*, Cheteshwar Pujara 42) by 191 runs


Shubman Gill’s second Test century led India’s confident reply to Australia’s 480 on the third day in Ahmedabad. The opener put up fifty-plus stands with Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli, who also helped himself to his first fifty in 16 innings.

On a pitch that held true for the third day running, Australia found the going tough to break through but struck once in every session, the last of which was Gill who was LBW to Nathan Lyon. Until then Gill had looked solid in the company of Kohli, as the duo played the attritional game well, and took every boundary opportunity that came their way.

That partnership worth 58 was similar to the 113-run one that Pujara had put on with Gill. After Rohit Sharma hit a short one from Matthew Kuhnemann to extra cover for 35, Pujara had remained steadfast in the company of Gill, even as Australia tried a variety of methods to apply pressure.

Gill, who had scored 65 in just the first session, had to stay calm in the second with Australia bowling dry with 7-2 fields. Both Mitchell Starc and Lyon operated with discipline for a major part of the session to restrict the run flow. The shackles were broken when Cameron Green erred and conceded two boundaries in an over to Gill.

Racing into the nineties, Gill lofted Lyon down the ground and gloved a big sweep off Murphy to get to a ton that headlined India’s reply.

An equally patient Pujara, finally missed one turning in from Todd Murphy and was given out LBW. Even a review could not save him as he fell for 42, minutes before the Tea break.

That session had gone in stark contrast to how the day had started with the runs coming at a good clip as Rohit and Gill met Australia’s initial fire with fire.

In a bid to cause early damage, Starc tested the openers out with short balls but ended up conceding boundaries to each batter in the process, with Rohit even pulling him over fine leg for a six. Even as Lyon wheeled away at the other end keeping things tight, India’s run-rate was healthy in that first hour of play as the openers put on a fifty-plus stand.

But against the run of play, Rohit fell after a 74-run opening stand. It was here that Pujara helped steady the innings after being beaten first ball against Lyon. Gill also managed to see off a nervy period against Lyon during which he even survived a review for LBW after coming down the track, but proceeded to dig in and pick his moments to get going.

Starc, operating predominantly from round the wicket in a bid for reverse swing, was the one who ended up being hit for boundaries on either side of the wicket as Gill showcased cover drives and short-arm jabs in equal measure before digging in to play a long innings.

His departure though led to the baton being handed over to Kohli, who carried the innings forward with a steady knock, alongside Ravindra Jadeja, and in the process getting his 29th Test fifty that helped India close in on the 300-run mark by Stumps. (cricbuzz)

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