Images from Day 3 of the third Test between Australia and India, at the SCG, on Saturday.
Cheteshwar Pujara's singular lack of intent pushed an injury-ravaged India into a deep hole as Australia tightened the noose with a substantial 197-run lead on a forgettable Saturday for the visitors in the third Test, at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Pujara's slowest Test half-century, a painstaking 50 off 176 balls, was soon followed by India being bowled out for 244 on the third day with the other batsmen feeling tremendous pressure of a dormant scoreboard.
A first-innings lead of 94 runs provided by the bowlers and some good fielding did help Australia's cause.
By stumps, Steve Smith (29 batting) and Marnus Labuschagne (47 batting) gave an exhibition of how to bat on slow tracks with Australia reaching 103 for 2.
Labuschagne, in particular, showed how to bat positively on a dead track, hitting six boundaries off the 67 balls he faced.
As Shane Warne pointed out during commentary, it would be very difficult to chase any score in excess of 250 with variable bounce and the odd balls keeping low.
Pat Cummins (4/29 in 21.4 overs) was brilliant on an unresponsive track with some effective short-pitched bowling and got good support from Josh Hazlewood (2/43 in 21 overs) and Mitchell Starc (1/61 in 19 overs), having set up a leg-side trap.
To make matters worse for India, there were run-outs, and two batsmen -- Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja -- were hit on the left elbow and left thumb respectively.
While both might bat in the second innings, Jadeja, with a swollen left thumb, will find it difficult to even grip the ball.
An ultra-defensive approach by their senior batsmen put India in a spot of bother before Rishabh Pant's impressive stroke-play lifted them to 180 for four at lunch.
Cheteshwar Pujara found it difficult to keep the scoreboard ticking during an extended first session as he crawled to 42 off 144 balls.
Skipper Ajinkya Rahane managed 22 off 70 balls before playing an off-cutter from Pat Cummins on, while Hanuma Vihari (4, 38 balls), who has been in terrible form, was needlessly run-out going for a quick but non-existent single.
It was Pant (29 batting, 45 balls), who showed some intent as he tried to release the pressure created by Pujara's negative approach.
A total of 84 runs from 34 overs during the session, with lack of intent especially from Pujara, did not help India's cause. Rahane's dismissal was purely due to the scoreboard pressure.
India’s captain failed to get a move-on initially on a slow track, where bounce became variable as the session progressed.
He did hit a cover drive and then tried to take on Nathan Lyon by lofting him for a six over long-on.
However, Cummins bowled one which had extra bounce in his off-cutter; Rahane was cramped for room and played on. The duo added 32 runs in 22.3 overs and it did not help the team in any way.
Had KL Rahul been fit, there could have been a case of Vihari getting dropped as he hardly looked in control during his 30 minutes’ stay at the crease.
Pujara, at the other end, was bowled to an off-side field and he was unable to find ways of scoring. Even the drive through covers or the one wide off mid-on could not fetch him boundaries. He did not have a single boundary off the first 100 balls.
The only notable shot he hit during the session was a backfoot punch through cover off Lyon, which got him a boundary.
It took an aggressive approach by Pant to give the Indian total some muscle going into the break.
Patrick Cummins and Josh Hazlewood produced devastating spells to shoot out India for 244, after Cheteshwar Pujara's slowest half-century, and enable Australia take command of the third Test against India at tea.
Australia have a first innings lead of 94 runs.
Pujara's (50 off 176 balls) ultra-defensive approach put tremendous pressure on his teammates and India never quite got the momentum going as Cummins (4/29 in 21.4 overs), Hazlewood (2/43 in 21 overs) and Mitchell Starc (1/61 in 19 overs) continuously attacked the batsmen -- first with a leg-side field and short-ball strategy and then on the corridor of uncertainty.
Pujara does not play the pull or hook shot well and he wasn't allowed room to either cut or drive. While he never tried to rotate strike, the likes of Ajinkya Rahane (22 off 70 balls) and Rishabh Pant (36 off 67 balls) felt the urge to break the shackles in the absence of any such intention from the other end.
It also resulted in three run-outs, including that of Hanuma Vihari (4 off 38 balls), who fell short while going for a quick but non-existent single.
It was then left to Ravindra Jadeja (27), who had to throw his bat around to bring the lead down to less than 100 runs, but that would be of little comfort considering that India would now have to bat fourth to save the match.
A total of 84 runs from 34 overs in the first session, with lack of intent especially from Pujara, didn't help India's cause and Rahane's dismissal was purely due to the scoreboard pressure.
Pant got into the groove quickly but a nasty blow on the forearm did affect his shot- making and the result was a caught behind off Hazlewood, after a 53-run stand in a little over 20 overs.
Pujara, at the other end, faced short deliveries initially, with three men on the leg side and then on the off-side with his cover drive dried up.
Finally, after completing his slowest ever half century in Test cricket, Cummins got one to rear up from short of length and it was that one good ball every batsman gets when he is not scoring runs.
From 195 for four, suddenly it was 210 for eight and there was only Jadeja left to score a few runs.