Australia's run-maestro Steve Smith ended a year-long ton drought as he brought up his first hundred for the 2021 calendar year as the hosts stood firm on Day two against India on Friday. Steve Smith played a gritty and patient knock en route to his century, getting to the three-figure mark in 201 deliveries, laced with 13 boundaries. Steve Smith's ton is also the first hundred for an Australian batsman in the ongoing Border-Gavaskar trophy. Earlier, Marnus Labuschagne was nearing his ton before he was dismissed by Ravindra Jadeja on 91.
With this hundred, Steve Smith has accumulated eight Test tons against India in just 25 innings, leading the list which features Gary sobers, Sir Vivian Richards and Ricky Ponting. The ongoing series against India hasn't been very forgiving for Steve Smith as the top-ranked Test batsman failed to get ahead of the Indian bowlers, especially R Ashwin. However, Steve Smith displayed great confidence and batted patiently as he led Australia's fight against India in the first innings.
Marnus Labuschagne fell short of his fifth test century but Australia continued its strong start to the third cricket test, reaching 249-5 at lunch Friday in another rain-interrupted session at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Labuschagne made 91, after resuming on 67 on Friday with Australia at 166-2, and shared a century stand with Steve Smith to see Australia past 200 runs for the first time in five innings this series. Ravi Jadeja took two wickets and Jasprit Bumrah had Cameron Green lbw with the last ball before lunch in the morning session as India maintained pressure with accurate bowling to keep Australia’s scoring in check.
On Thursday, Will Pucovski set the tone with a flourishing 62 on debut, before Labuschagne and Smith took over as Australia’s batting lineup finally clicked against India, reaching 166-2 on a rain-interrupted opening day. After Australia won the toss and elected to bat, Labuschagne shared a partnership of 100 with Pucovski and then 60 with Smith after going to the crease in the fourth over. The four-match Border-Gavaskar trophy series is currently tied 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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