Stand-in Kangaroo skipper Steve Smith showed lightning-quick reflexes to get rid of India no. 3 Cheteshwar Pujara during Day Two of the ongoing third IND-AUS Test match.
Pujara, who played a laborious hand of 59, flicked a leg-stump lined delivery from Australian off-spinner Nathan Lyon, looking to run it fine between Smith –who was stationed at leg-slip– and wk Carey.
Though Pujara tried his best to thread the gap between the duo, Smith despite being wrong-stanced, dived to his right to pluck the ball with one hand.
The acrobatic effort from Steve Smith sent Cheteshwar Pujara packing to reduce the Men in Blue to 155 for eight. The last two wickets followed in quick succession as India was bundled out for 163 runs, leading by mere 75 runs.
Smith’s one-handed stunner to get rid of Pujara proved to be an important moment in context of the game, and a plethora of fans applauded Steve Smith for his effort.
— Rameshwar Singh (@RSingh6969a) March 2, 2023
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— 🄺Ⓐ🅃🄷🄸🅁 1⃣5⃣ (@katthikathir) March 2, 2023
Steve Smith 👏 pic.twitter.com/5zZeqUQRXA
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Nathan Lyon and Steve Smith put Kangaroos in the driver’s seat
Smith was shrewd with his bowling changes, field placements as well as DRS usage throughout the 2nd innings, and played a crucial role in putting Australia in the driver’s seat entering Day Three. The stand-in skipper made things happen, instead of waiting for them to happen.
The most effective of Smith’s dice rolls were bringing Mitchell Starc on to dismiss a threatening Shreyas Iyer and then choking all-rounder Axar Patel when he was batting with the tail.
The cunning from Steve Smith, however, would have accounted for lesser if not for off-spinner Nathan Lyon (8 wickets) bowling disciplined lines.
Lyon’s 8 for 64 are his second-best figures ever in Test Cricket; en route to which the bowler ran through India’s top, middle order as well as lower order. The only scalps that went to others were Shreyas (to Starc) and Kohli (to Matt Kuhnemann).
Nathan Lyon bowled stump-to-stump, unflustered from the occasional positive intent shown against him, limiting India to 163 runs in their 2nd innings.