India v Australia, 3rd Test, Ranchi, 2nd day March 17, 2017

Plot watch - Ranchi pitch continues to behave itself

ESPNcricinfo staff

There was enough bounce on day two, contrary to pre-match expectations © Associated Press

Day 2

Pitch watch

Standard, slow Indian Test-match pitch with something in it for everyone: fact.

Stitched-up, tailor-made, doctored, raging, cracking dustbowl, which spits venom like a basilisk: alternative fact.

After 177.3 overs of competitive Test cricket, Steven Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Ravindra Jadeja, India's openers and Australia's fast bowlers deserve all the headlines. The pitch does not. For starters, it has produced the longest innings of the series yet, as Smith and Co posted 451.

India followed up with a 91-run opening partnership, without being put under any serious pressure by Australia's spin attack. If they had any trouble dealing with the Australian bowling, it was because of the steep bounce the pace bowlers extracted from the pitch, and a testing spell of reverse swing from Josh Hazlewood after tea.

As if to mock all the talk about a possible lack of bounce, the only Indian wicket on the day fell to a perfectly directed Cummins bouncer. Otherwise, it was normal service for the best part of the day, and any misbehaviour from the track was a rare, countable-with-one-hand exception. What will day three hold?

Australia's fast bowlers occasionally troubled India's top order with steep bounce © ESPNcricinfo Ltd

Aggression watch

For a while, KL Rahul and Pat Cummins had a duel going on, starting with the Indian opener giving him a brief glare after flicking one down the leg side for four. Cummins then treated him to some chin music, with steep rising ones directed at his head. He eventually came back to snare a well-set Rahul with a well-directed slower bouncer. Otherwise, this was a calm yet competitive day of Test cricket by this series' lofty standards of punching and counterpunching.

DRS watch

A Ctrl+F on ESPNcricinfo's ball-by-ball commentary for "DRS", "review" and other such terms returned a grand total of zero results until the penultimate over of the day; then, Australia lodged an entry in the book of unsuccessful DRS referrals, calling for a review against M Vijay after significant deliberation. It returned nothing more than a flat line on the snickometer, and life moved on.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • CricMystique on March 17, 2017, 22:04 GMT

    So the regulars of the 'lets bash that one team for its pitches and by extension all that is wrong in cricket' brigade got one in eye, eh? could the serial whingers and bashers of us who'e poured scorn over us for so many years on such blogs have the decency to come out and say 'yes, the bounce was even'....or is this too much to expect.... am happy the pitch was not a lottery, the bounce was even, who evern wins from here is winning on skills and not on conditions, something that should be the norm in indian cricket always.....its just the repetitive slagging of us that is tiresome

  • Srinivas on March 17, 2017, 18:55 GMT

    Not sure about Gavaskar's advice to Kohli, will depend when the first wicket falls. Aim must be to get through second new ball with wickets in hand. Kohli needs to bat overs 65-90 or with the second old ball given that he is compromised. but India needs atleast 400 to stay alive. a score less than 350 is not good as australia may make another 250 and push for a win. Kohli can be rested next test, if they win this one.

  •   rahul.nair on March 17, 2017, 18:42 GMT

    Pitch will remain same on day 3 and during the lunch of day 4 it will start breaking up a lot.Black soil can certainly hold down the pitch for 3 days.But i think on the 4th and 5th day it will be really difficult to bat on. Aussies though batted with passion they just missed the trick,if u want to win a match in these batting track u need to make 600 odd runs. India needed to bat down carefully. A 100+ runs in each session.If they got all the sessions India will win this match. 4th day Aussies wont be able to make 150 runs in this track.

  • Naman Agarwal on March 17, 2017, 18:24 GMT

    I have a feeling this pitch is going to start exploding suddenly towards the end of day 3 or on day 4. Batting last is gonna be tough because it'll be a minefield by then. That said, a really good test match wicket, designed for 5 days and not giving too much advantage to one party. India wouldn't want to chase 150 here. By the looks of things, they'll make somewhere around 550-600 in the first innings. About the sledging, I'm guessing it'll really start when Kohli comes out to bat.

  • Sid on March 17, 2017, 17:56 GMT

    Pitch behaved perfectly as against all the aussie expectations. Clearly, Aussies dont know many things when it comes to reading a pitch.

  • rohan on March 17, 2017, 15:43 GMT

    It is going to get tougher to bat as the game progresses specially on days 4 and 5. Which is why India needs to bat through till at least lunch or mid way of the second session on Day 4 and try get a lead of somewhere near 70-80 runs. The spinners and Umesh will take care of the rest in the Aussie second innings with India winning on the final day.

  • Procheta on March 17, 2017, 15:22 GMT

    Even though it was clearly not lbw, how come they didn't check for it in the UDRS protocol in the penultimate over?

  • risaif6352899 on March 17, 2017, 15:21 GMT

    This test is really a temparament test for both the teams. India needs to play the 3rd day full and if possible 4th upto lunch inorder to safe in this match. From there it can take up the spin duo of Ashwin and Jadeja to rattle Australia in 2nd innings

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