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Yadav bamboozles, but Smith stands up for Aussies

World Cricket

DHARAMSALA, IndiaAustralia skipper Steve Smith’s third century of the series and India spinner Kuldeep Yadav’s memorable debut left the fourth and final Test between the teams evenly poised on Saturday.

Smith, comfortably the leading scorer of the series, made 111 as he and David Warner, who scored 56, added 134 runs for the second wicket to help Australia dominate the morning session after opting to bat.

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Australian captain Steven Smith scored his 20th Test century on Saturday. Photo: Tsering Topgyal, APIndian spinner Kuldeep Yadav celebrates the wicket of Glenn Maxwell. Photo: Adnan Abidi, Reuters

Left-arm wrist-spinner Yadav, an inspirational selection in India’s bold move to go with five bowlers, led the hosts’ strong comeback in the post-lunch session when five wickets tumbled for 64 runs.

Matthew Wade made 57 down the order to help Australia reach 300 all out, leaving India to bat the final over of the day, a maiden from Josh Hazlewood.

Openers Lokesh Rahul, who faced all six deliveries from Hazlewood, and Murali Vijay will hope to give India a strong start when they resume on Sunday.

The hosts received a jolt even before a ball was bowled when regular skipper Virat Kohli was ruled out of the match with a shoulder injury he had sustained in the drawn third Test in Ranchi.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar, replacing fellow paceman Ishant Sharma, swung the first ball of the match to induce an edge from Warner, but Karun Nair spilled it at third slip.

India did not have to wait long for the breakthrough, though. In the next over, Umesh Yadav pushed one through Matt Renshaw’s gate and pegged back his off-stump to dismiss the opener for one.

Smith and Warner laid the foundation for a big first-innings total with a century partnership, during which Smith’s characteristic fluency contrasted Warner’s scratchy knock.

Warner brought up his first half-century of the series after Smith had reached his own, before Kuldeep led India’s fightback after lunch with brilliant display of wrist-spin bowling.

Indian spinner Kuldeep Yadav celebrates the wicket of Glenn Maxwell. Photo: Adnan Abidi, Reuters


The 22-year-old generated extra bounce and the ball flew off the shoulder of Warner’s bat en route to India’s stop-gap skipper Ajinkya Rahane at slip.

Umesh dismissed Shaun Marsh for four before Kuldeep (4/68) returned to further torment the tourists.

The Uttar Pradesh player disturbed Peter Handscomb’s stumps and then bamboozled Glenn Maxwell with a brilliant googly to put Australia on the back foot.

Smith brought up his 20th Test century in 150 balls to steer Australia past the 200-run mark before edging Ravichandran Ashwin to Rahane in the slip.

Smith faced 173 balls during his composed knock, hitting 14 boundaries.

Wade and Pat Cummins, who made 21, defied the Indian bowlers for nearly 13 overs before being separated.

The four-Test series is level at 1-1.

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