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Ranchi: Comeback kid Pat Cummins has produced a heroic display on a featherbed wicket as maintained their dominance over Virat Kohli on a day where controversy returned in India.
Kohli’s attempt to mock backfired spectacularly on Saturday when his wretched run with the bat continued but he can still have the last laugh in Ranchi with the third Test hanging in the balance with two days to play.
Playing in his first Test since his debut in late 2011, Cummins was a constant menace to India’s batsmen with his pace and ability to extract bounce from the lifeless surface.
He jagged four wickets, including the prized scalp of Kohli, in a performance up there with his bag of six against South Africa.
“He deserves a five-for. He’s been outstanding in his first Test back,” former captain Michael Clarke said on Star Sports.
India’s rock at no.3, Cheteshwar Pujara, stood firm, batting all day to make a defiant century which has kept his team in the contest.
India were 6/360 at stumps on the third day, trailing ‘s first innings total of 451 by 91 runs.
The draw is the favoured result, however day four is moving day on the subcontinent when hitherto benign wickets deteriorate markedly.
Tensions are still bubbling between the world’s top two ranked Test nations after Kohli again made his presence felt.
In a childish but entertaining game of tit for tat, Kohli mocked for burning their reviews only to be on the receiving end later when Glenn Maxwell made light of his shoulder injury after making a diving save on the boundary.
The ns won the battle that mattered more when Cummins had Kohli nicking off, to of all people Smith at second slip.
Smith’s men celebrated animatedly, whooping with joy in Kohli’s direction as he walked off the field. While it’s unclear if there was a send off given, the n captain was spoken to by an umpire moments later.
There were allegations on social media Smith, like Maxwell, had also poked fun at Kohli’s injury by holding his shoulder though it was later revealed he had done no such thing. Kohli fighting through slump
Kohli is one of the best batsmen in the world but right now he is a shadow of the player who plundered runs for fun during India’s marathon Test summer. From five innings, he has managed just 46 runs, two fewer than ‘s maligned all-rounder Mitchell Marsh.
Not even in their wildest dreams can ‘s bowlers have imagined such a lean trot.
It will take every ounce of Kohli’s champion qualities for him to dig his way out of his slump, particularly now he also has a clipped wing.
Smith and Kohli dominated the headlines in the build up to this match. Three days in, it’s the n captain who holds the honours after his unbeaten 178.
Kohli is one of the few players in world cricket who can still have a significant influence on a game even without firing a shot with the bat or ball. Kohli’s DRS barb to Smith
And he proved it again on the third day when he sparked another spot fire over DRS.
A dour first session lifted several gears about 40 minutes before lunch when unsuccessfully tried to overturn an appeal for leg before wicket from Stephen O’Keefe to Pujara.
Eager to impose himself on the game, Kohli rushed onto the balcony from the dressing room, where he was waiting to bat, to sarcastically applaud Smith for the failed challenge.
Rubbing salt into ‘s wounds, they were denied a wicket the very next ball when umpire Ian Gould missed a bat pad chance from Murali Vijay off Nathan Lyon. , however, were powerless to challenge the call.
Both nations still feel aggrieved they have been cast in a poor light. The ns are unhappy Kohli has not provided evidence to support his claims of systematic rorting of the DRS while India believe their captain has been unfairly criticised for drawing attention to Smith’s actions. Smith has conceded he did the wrong thing.
It was tough going for ‘s bowlers, who struggled in the first half of the day to get anything out of the Ranchi featherbed.
The pitch had been expected to be treacherous for batting however it has played the opposite in the first half of the game.
did not strike until the final ball before lunch when Matthew Wade stumped Murali Vijay.
Wade, who has been much improved behind the stumps this tour, had the bails off in a flash after O’Keefe had managed to get one between the bat and pad of the advancing batsman.