Australian captain Steve Smith let his bat do all the talking as he guided his side to a very strong position at the end of Day 1 of the 3rd Test with India in Ranchi on Thursday. His polished unbeaten 117 was the cornerstone of a formidable total of 299 for 4 off 90 overs as the visitors, after winning the toss, made the most of the batsman-friendly conditions.
Smith was involved in an unbroken 159-run fifth-wicket stand with Glenn Maxwell who, playing his first Test of the series, scored 82 not out as the Indians found the going hard for most of the day.
India saw Murali Vijay return to the action, replacing Abhinav Mukund, while Australia went in with Maxwell and Pat Cummins in place of the injured Mitchell Marsh and Mitchell Starc.
India had the better of the exchanges in the morning session when they managed to get rid of the off-form David Warner and the steady Matt Renshaw, as well as Shaun Marsh.
But Smith then took over and the visitors were 194 for four at tea. He put on 51 runs for the fourth wicket with Peter Handscomb (19).
India’s troubles were compounded when skipper Virat Kohli had to walk off the field with a shoulder injury in the 40th over and did not return to the field till stumps. Vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane had to do the captain’s job.
Earlier, Renshaw (44) gave the visitors a brisk start before undoing his hard work by edging a wide Umesh Yadav delivery, with Virat Kohli taking the catch at first slip.
Renshaw and Warner had put on 50 runs for the opening wicket before left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja struck in his first over to get Warner (19) trudging back to the pavilion.