KULDEEP CHEER FOR INDIA
Debutant bowler punishes Aussies in decisive Test
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.