Smith and Maxi put Oz on top

A nineteenth Test century from Steve Smith and a maiden fifty from Glenn Maxwell left Australia in charge of the third match of the series in Ranchi reaching 299/4 by stumps.

The pre-match talk of a rank turner was put to bed as India struggled to get anything out of a pitch that looked fantastic to bat on.

Australia won the toss and elected to bat first with David Warner (19) and Matt Renshaw putting on 50 in less than ten overs before Warner slapped a full toss from Ravindra Jadeja straight back to the bowler.

Renshaw has been an impressive find for Australia displaying a calm that few veterans can muster and looking every bit the part as a Test opener in tricky conditions.

The 20-year-old opener won't be pleased with the shot he played to get out just six runs shy of yet another half century, he played a nothing shot outside off to a length ball from Umesh Yadav and was caught by Virat Kohli in the slips.

Smith was then joined by Shaun Marsh (2) but the left-hander wouldn't last long before becoming Ravichandran Ashwin's 77th victim of the season. The tweaker is now just one wicket behind the record for wickets in a single season set by Dale Steyn.

Peter Handscomb grafted his way to 19 before an Umesh yorker slammed into his foot trapping him leg before to leave Australia wobbling at 140/4.

Australia have had a serious problem with the number six slot for some time with no batsman able to pass fifty from the position since Mitchell Marsh's 53 against Sri Lanka last August but Maxwell strode out with purpose and the will to prove his doubters wrong.

Maxwell took 56 balls to reach 23 and uncharacteristically struck no boundaries during that time, but having settled he kicked on and would reach his fifty by smashing a long hop from Jadeja over midwicket for six.

India's DRS woes continued as they opted to review a not out decision on a leg before appeal when Maxwell had 16 but replays showed Ishant Sharma had overstepped and the ball tracker would have returned an umpire's call verdict anyway.

Smith played a chanceless knock at the other end determined to do well after the DRS scandal and subsequent war of words with Kohli between the Tests.

With Smith closing in on a hundred Wriddhiman Saha provided us with what will go down as one of the most comical pieces of play in Test history. Suspecting Steve Smith edged the ball into his pads Saha tried to retrieve the ball from the Australian skipper’s gear which ended with both men on the floor, the keeper appealed but the ball was dead and hadn't taken the edge. The umpire needed a moment to compose himself before declaring Smith not out.

Smith became the seventh fastest man to reach 5000 Test runs during his knock of 117 not out.

Maxwell's unbeaten 82 is the highest score by an Australian number six in Test cricket since Smith hit 100 against South Africa in Centurion in 2014.

Maxwell and Smith have put on 159 for the fifth wicket which is a record for Australia in India.

Umesh's return of 2/63 left him as the pick of the India bowlers so far.

 

 

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