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Kohli's disappointment could be Ashwin's delight!

Whether it be player, official or fan, every Indian would have been disappointed to have lost the wicket of Virat Kohli late on day 3 except perhaps one person.



Virat Kohli worked hard before being dismissed before stumps. Source: Hindustan Times

Watching in the stands as Nathan Lyon constantly aimed at the footmark outside off stump, watching the ball turn and bounce, that person was Ravichandran Ashwin.


Baring a huge collapse, India will now set Australia a difficult score to chase at some point on day 4. With Cheteshwar Pujara in good fighting form, and still batting to come, India will be looking at a score of in excess of 300 for Australia to chase on days 4 and 5.


The match looks set up for one of India's greatest spinners to enter the equation, but this time, away from his comfort zone of the sub continent.

Ashwin's record in Australia makes for poor reading. His 24 wickets in 7 tests to date has cost him 50.25 a piece. This is more than twice his overall average of 25.44 (Shane Warne averaged 25.40 in his career). 


But never would Ravi Ashwin had a test match set up for him in Australia any better. A place he is yet to be part of a winning test team. In fact, only Ishant Sharma out of the current team has been part of a test match win in Australia.



R.Ashwin could be a key figure later in the Test. Credit: Indian Express

The third day was delayed due to rain and India soon had established a first innings lead, something they no doubt would have spoken about before play. First box ticket.


Second box that was ticked for the visitors was their openers getting them off to a solid start. The bowling was good,  in particularly from Josh Hazelwood whose first 4 overs were maidens. but they did their jobs until Vijay possibly played his last shot of the test match summer in edging to second slip. Peter Handscomb continued his good catching form in the process.


After Rahul fell to a very poor shot just shy of his 50, the test match cricket that was played was of a very high standard. It was like two top tag team wrestling teams without the antics. In one corner was the team of Hazelwood and Lyon, probing away, asking questions and bowling in a great partnership. On the other team were the oppositions best two batsmen, first innings century maker Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli. 


Hazelwood bowled the line and length that was hard for the Indian duo to get away, whilst Lyon bowled beautifully to an inventive on side field. This was test match cricket both audiences had been waiting for. This was riveting stuff.


Lyon thought he had Pujara twice, so did Nigel Llong, however technology came to his rescue on both occasions. Then he simply went back to work for his country. Using his feet to try and negate the footmark outside the off stump, he showed marvellous application and mental toughness to get through unbeaten at stumps. This was the help Kohli had needed more in South Africa and England. It had finally arrived. Too late for those lost series', but in great timing for this tour. It must continue.


India are in front in this test, but a big morning awaits. If Australia can chase a score under 250, they will be thrilled. Anything above that, then the match is there for the Indian bowlers to win a test for the visitors.

Ravi Ashwin will be keeping a close eye on those footmarks.

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