Game very much in balance, says Hazlewood

Game very much in balance, says Hazlewood

Josh Hazlewood, who picked up three wickets in the second session to put India in trouble, was denied any further success in the final session by the gutsy duo of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane. Despite India’s fine fightback, the right-arm pacer believed the game is still very much in balance.

“It feels pretty level at the moment. They fought back really well in that last session. Full credit to the two guys (Pujara and Rahane). They stuck to their plans and fought hard and scratched away for quite a bit of amount of runs. So, I think it’s still pretty level,” said Hazlewood.

In Hazlewood’s three victims, Indian skipper Virat Kohli was definitely the prized one. The pacer said sticking to their plans has helped Australia keep Kohli subdued. “It’s hard scoring runs on these kind of wickets. So you just have to stick to your plans against him (Kohli) and we’ve been quite successful in doing that. All the bowlers have got him out once now. So, it’s good stuff moving forward.”

Hazlewood was all praise for Rahane and Pujara for forging a partnership that kept India in the game. “They (India) scored about three runs an over which is more compared to their last couple of innings. Pujara and Rahane were more intent in the crease, scoring off those loose deliveries and I think they kept rotating the strike, which is the key here. I think those guys did that pretty well," he said.

For the second straight day, players from both the teams were involved in heated exchanges. Hazlewood agreed that things are becoming fierce in the middle.

“Temperatures are rising a little bit – on Sunday and today. It’s pretty intense out there. But we are trying to just focus on our skills and be calm,” he said.

Statistical highlights of the third day’s play between India and Australia:

Ravindra Jadeja’s performance (6/63) is his second best in Tests behind 7 for 48 vs England at Chennai in 2016-17.

Jadeja’s figures are the second best by an Indian left-arm spinner vs Australia, next only to 7/98 by Bishan Singh Bedi at Kolkata in 1969-70.

Jadeja’s second five-wicket haul vs Australia is his seventh in Tests. His first five-wicket haul against them was 5 for 58 at Delhi in March 2013.

Jadeja enjoys an impressive record vs Australia — his tally being 35 at 17.74 runs apiece at a strike rate of 46.6 in six Tests.

KL Rahul, playing in his 15th Test, has completed his 1000 runs — 1022 runs at an average of 40.88, including four hundreds and four fifties.