Debu­tant bowler pun­ishes Aussies in de­ci­sive Test

New Straits Times - - Sport -

AUS­TRALIAN skip­per Steve Smith hit his third ton of the se­ries be­fore debu­tant Kuldeep Ya­dav grabbed four wick­ets to tilt the scales in favour of In­dia in the de­ci­sive fourth Test yes­ter­day.

Smith smashed 14 fours in his fine 111-run knock to be­come the first Aus­tralian skip­per to hit three cen­turies in a Test se­ries in In­dia.

The 27-year-old also be­came only the sec­ond vis­it­ing cap­tain to hit three hun­dreds in a se­ries af­ter Eng­land’s Alas­tair Cook.

The vis­i­tors squan­dered a promis­ing start to be bowled out for 300 just min­utes be­fore the close of play af­ter win­ning the toss and elect­ing to bat first.

The Aussie looked firmly in con­trol, hav­ing cruised to 131-1 at lunch but Kuldeep’s scin­til­lat­ing spell meant the vis­i­tors lost their re­main­ing wick­ets in the last two ses­sions.

At stumps, In­dia had played out one over with­out scor­ing any runs.

With the se­ries tied 1-1 go­ing into the fi­nale, the hosts must win the match to re­gain the BorderGavaskar tro­phy.

In­dia’s ploy to keep chi­na­man bowler Kuldeep (4-68) un­der wraps and use him for the fi­nal Test paid div­i­dends as he caught the Aussies by sur­prise through his guile and un­ortho­dox spin.

Kuldeep was brought in as a last-minute re­place­ment for skip­per Vi­rat Kohli, who was forced to watch the ac­tion from the side­lines af­ter fail­ing to re­cover from a shoul­der in­jury.

And the 22-year-old did not dis­ap­point, pick­ing his first in­ter­na­tional wicket when he had David Warner (56) caught by standin skip­per Ajinkya Ra­hane in the slips.

The bowler broke down as he hugged his team­mates to cel­e­brate the oc­ca­sion.

Kuldeep struck again soon to send back Peter Hand­scomb (eight) with a ball that turned in sharply and hit the stumps.

Glenn Maxwell also lost his wicket to the wrist-spin­ner, mis­read­ing a goo­gly only to see the ball clip­ping the off bail.

Smith had put on 134 runs for the sec­ond wicket with David Warner (56) af­ter Aus­tralia lost opener Matt Ren­shaw in the sec­ond over of the day.

The unas­sum­ing cap­tain un­der­lined his rep­u­ta­tion as the World No 1 Test bats­man, reach­ing his 20th cen­tury in the process and his sev­enth hun­dred in his last eight Tests against In­dia.

The skip­per raised his bat and hel­met to ac­knowl­edge the stand­ing ova­tion from a grate­ful Aus­tralian dress­ing room.

Smith’s ef­forts meant h e r emained on top of the bat­ting chart in the se­ries with a whop­ping 482 runs from seven in­nings.

He fi­nally lost his wicket to spin­ner Ravichandran Ash­win, with Ra­hane tak­ing an­other catch in the slip re­gion.

Smith’s run in the se­ries has been in con­trast to Kohli who man­aged only 46 runs from three Tests.



In­dia’s Kuldeep Ya­dav bowls dur­ing the first day of the fourth Test against Aus­tralia in Dharam­sala yes­ter­day.

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