India's ace spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was elated after dismissing Steve Smith for the third time in the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy against Australia on Sunday. Ashwin trapped the dangerous Steve Smith for an LBW in the 67th over, just when the Australian run-machine looked like he was going to go berserk. Starting off Day 4 with Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith helped Australia expand their lead past the 300-run mark and went on to register his 29th Test fifty. Steve Smith was dismissed for 81 runs after playing 167 balls, having scored eight boundaries and a six.
Labuschagne made 73, his second half-century of the match, and Smith continued his welcome return to form with a patient and unbeaten 58 on Sunday to place Australia in an increasingly dominant position against a short-handed India lineup. All-rounder Cameron Green was 20 not out at lunch, sharing a 34-run partnership with Smith. Navdeep Saini snared two wickets for India and returned 2-47. After resuming at 103-2 on Sunday, Labuschagne and Smith made a watchful start as India’s attack bowled a tight line to limit Australia’s scoring opportunities.
Labuschagne should have been out on the second ball for 47 but Hanuma Vihari dropped a regulation chance at square leg off Jasprit Bumrah's bowling. The 26-year-old reached his 50, off 82 balls with six boundaries, a few overs later with a single off Bumrah. It was Labuschagne's 10th half-century in just his 17th test and came as part of a second successive century partnership with Smith.
On Saturday, pace bowlers Cummins and Josh Hazlewood starred with the ball to help Australia take the upper hand by bowling India out for 244, giving the hosts a 94-run first-innings lead. Three India batsmen were also run out, including Vihari to a direct hit from Hazlewood that helped swing the momentum of the match. The four-match Border-Gavaskar trophy series is level at 1-1. The holder India is hoping to secure it with a victory in Sydney and Australia needing to win the series to reclaim it. Australia won the opening day-night match in Adelaide by eight wickets and India responded with an eight-wicket win in Melbourne last week.
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