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PHOTOS: India v Australia, Mohali Test, Day 3

Last updated on: March 16, 2013 16:36 IST

PHOTOS: India v Australia, Mohali Test, Day 3

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One run was all that separated Mitchell Starc from becoming the first number nine Australian batsman to notch up a century in India, as the visitors posted a competitive 408 all out in the third and penultimate Test in Mohali.

- Scorecard

Though he missed out on the hundred by a whisker, Starc, along with Steven Smith (92), did enough to frustrate the Indians, helping Australia add 135 runs in the first session of play before Ravichandran Ashwin trapped last-man Xavier Doherty (5).

The Indians scored three runs from the one over they faced before lunch with Murali Vijay scoring all of them and Shikhar Dhawan yet to open his account.


Image: Steven Smith pulls one through the leg side
Photographs: BCCI
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Resuming at 273 for seven, both Steven Smith and Starc were at ease while dealing with the ball, which was 104 overs old at the start of the day's play.

Starc made his intentions clear by pulling Ishant Sharma and then flicked Ashwin for another boundary.

After surviving a close leg-before-wicket shout by Ishant, Smith got into the act driving him through the offside for his first authoritative shot of the day.

Starc, meanwhile, played Ishant straight over his head and the ball sped to the fence in one bounce.


Image: Mitchell Starc celebrates after reaching his half-century
Photographs: BCCI
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The new ball was taken after 108 overs, but it was not the quicker bowlers, but a spinner who gave India the first breakthrough of the day.

Having replaced Aswhin from the pavilion end, Ojha got one to turn and bounce sharply, and Dhoni completed a smart stumping with Smith's back foot on the line.

For India, Ishant and Ravindra Jadeja finished with three wickets each, while Ashwin and Ojha had two apiece.

Making a comeback to the Test squad after more than two years in wilderness, Smith made it count with a career-best score that included 10 boundaries and a six.

He occupied the crease for 235 minutes and faced 185 balls.


Image: Steven Smith is stumped by MS Dhoni
Photographs: BCCI
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Australia ensured they consolidate their position with another half-century partnership, for the ninth wicket between Starc and Nathan Lyon, with the former firmly in control of the proceedings.

Starc smashed 14 fours and faced 144 balls during his 146-minute stay at the crease.

The 23-year-old left-hander from New South Wales was equal to the task whether it was about facing pacers or the spinners.

Starc was caught-behind on 99 by Mahendra Singh Dhoni off Ishant Sharma, which also dashed his hopes of becoming the first Australian in 66 years to score a century while batting at number nine.


Image: Ishant Sharma celebrates after dismissing Mitchell Starc
Photographs: BCCI
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Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay started off on a promising note, especially the former, who smashed a 85-ball century on debut.

The 27-year-old Dhawan smashed his way to an unbeaten 106 off a mere 90 balls as India went to tea at a commanding 156 for no loss.

The Delhi batsman surpassed the record of earlier fastest hundred on debut which was in the name of West Indian Dwayne Smith who reached his century in 93 balls in the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town in January 2004.

Dhwan hit 21 fours while spending 115 minutes in the middle, helping India score 153 runs in the 28 overs bowled in the second session of play.

Murali Vijay played his part in the first-wicket big century partnership, contributing an unbeaten 42 off 85 balls with the help of four fours and two sixes.


Image: Shikhar Dhawan celebrates after reaching his century
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Interestingly, Dhawan raced into the 90s without hitting a single ball in the air.What makes his effort even more praiseworthy is that he maintained a strike-rate of over hundred almost all through his innings.

It was a staggering 117.64 when Dhawan got to the three-figure mark.

The post lunch session completely belonged to Dhawan who treated the Australian bowlers with disdain, playing some delightful shots, especially through the heavily populated off-side.

Such was his off-side play that it would have pleased even Sourav Ganguly and former England captain David Gower. The Delhi batsman's timing was impeccable, and his shot-selection faultless.


Image: Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay
Photographs: BCCI
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The Australians, literally, had no answer to counter Dhawan's stroke-play.

The way Dhawan dominated the Aussies, it never looked like he was playing in his maiden Test.

In terms of statistics, he hit 19 fours in the first 23 overs, the joint-highest along with West Indian Chris Gayle. Dhawan reached his 50 off 50 balls, with the help of 12 fours in 72 minutes.


Image: Shikhar Dhawan
Photographs: BCCI
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