January 7th, 2021 marked the kick-off of the Pink Day Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground named so because it happens to be the origination day of the McGrath Foundation that aims to raise awareness on breast cancer. This day marked the 13th year of service and commitment of this Foundation. The highly anticipated Sydney Test did not start on a very high note but neither did it disappoint the spectators as players tried their best to entertain them on a rain-fed morning of cricket. This match which was reportedly decided to be held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground has shifted yet again to Sydney Cricket Ground keeping in mind the COVID conditions around Australia and also the iconic Pink Day Test.
Australian fans were very excited as their “little warrior” David Warner returned to action after a long spell of missing matches due to injuries. Before rain stopped play, Australia and especially David Warner got off to a disappointing start as he lost his wicket early to Mohammad Siraj. The ball clipped his bat and slip cordon pounced on the catch making his comeback a sad one. He only managed to score 5 runs from the 8 deliveries he faced. His opening partner and the replacement for Joe Burns, Will Pucovski who also happens to be a debutant scored a brilliant yet solid knock of 62 off 110 deliveries. Many expected him to get a century but he fell for a leg before wicket to another debutant Navdeep Saini. Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith managed to put up a big partnership where at the end of day one, Marnus Labuschagne stood at 67 off 149 deliveries and Steve Smith was not out at 31 off 64 deliveries.
The Indian bowlers managed to take some wickets early. On the other hand, in the final session of day one, they took some good battering from Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith. At the end of the day one, Navdeep Saini was the most expensive bowler who had an economy rate of 4.57 and a wicket followed by Ravichandran Ashwin with an economy rate of 3.29 going wicketless. The other bowler to claim a wicket was Mohammad Siraj who too had an economy of 3.29. India’s key bowler Jasprit Bumrah was mostly ineffective for most of day one and for the 14 overs; he bowled having an economy rate of 2.14. Rishabh Pant dropped some dollies of Will Pucovski twice in the stretch of a few overs due to which he moved on to score a debut fifty. Experts believe that Rishabh Pant has got some work to do to prove his spot in the national test team.
The Australian innings bundled up pretty soon after the lunch on day 2 with Steve Smith scoring his maiden century in this series. The Indian team claimed their final wicket as Ravindra Jadeja managed to run out Steve Smith who scored a brilliant knock of 131 off 226 deliveries. Marnus Labuschagne was the other major contributor as he just missed on his ton scoring 91 off 196 deliveries, giving away his wicket to Indian debutant Navdeep Saini. Steve Smith was the lone warrior mostly after his centurion partnership with Marnus Labuschagne ended. Australian skipper Tim Paine had yet another disappointing showing of just 1 run off 10 deliveries. On the other hand, Ravindra Jadeja managed to claim a 4fer with important wickets of Marnus Labuschagne, Matthew Wade, Pat Cummins, and Nathan Lyon. Australia put up a respectable score of 338 on the board. Another disappointing yet eye-catching highlight of the match was rain-interrupted proceedings thrice in the first session. The Sydney Cricket Ground took quite a soaking with the outfield turning even faster due to rain. The new ball played its part in dismantling the Australian innings as it swung ruthlessly.
The Indian players have taken to the pitch with a positive start on their side on day 2. India tries yet another opening pair, Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill. Fans hope that there is no more rain interruption due to which there has been a huge loss of overs and the overall playing time.
Just keep an eye on updates to watch the rest of the exciting Test 3.