Pant Power Propels India on Record-Breaking Day at SCG

Pant Power Propels India on Record-Breaking Day at SCG

Veteran seamer Peter Siddle was included in Australia's revamped 14-member squad for the three-match ODI series against India starting here on January 12.

The rock-like number three has been by far the best batsman from either side across the series against Australia, and brought up his ton in Sydney with a boundary off Mitchell Starc.

India just need a draw at Sydney to achieve their first ever series win in Australia. The weather however, remains an influence. Australia pegged back after a good partnership for the second wicket.

Pant produced the first Test century by an Indian keeper in Australia, while the 21-year-old became the youngest keeper to hit a Test hundred in Australia. Previously, Farukh Engineer, with a score of 89 at an Adelaide Test, had the highest score for an Indian wicket-keeper in Australia. Ravindra Jadeja has accounted for both the wickets. But before he could complete the catch, the ball had taken a bounce. Jadeja finally got out for 81 runs. But India had one more wicket-taking delivery left in the session.

Jadeja picked two in quick succession. Kuldeep did not stop there.

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But for some unusual reasons, the Australian captain deployed defensive tactics and thereby played into the hands of the Indian batsmen. Harris had taken up the challenge and moved step by step to lay the foundations for a big inning.

When the series started, it was the Australian batting which was under scrutiny in the absence of David Warner and Steve Smith. In an act of sportsmanship, Rahul quickly signalled to the umpires that he failed to cleanly take the catch. That brief heart-in-mouth moment out of the way, Harris set about constructing a busy half-century. The very fact that Kuldeep is the first of his kind to play global cricket for India is an indication of how rare a breed the left-arm wrist spinner is back home. He grew increasingly confident, hammering Kuldeep over mid-on twice in an over, with a coruscating flat-batted pull sandwiched between those confident shimmies. He rotated strike cleverly too, an attempt to try and make the bowlers keep changing their lines.

The Australian openers came out to bat for just ten overs and scored 24 runs before stumps were called. Labuschagne c Rahane b Shami 38 (95). He repeatedly swept Kuldeep with power, which kept Hanuma Vihari at short leg constantly wary. With a focus on improving our ability to post competitive totals we've recalled Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb and Mitch Marsh to the squad.

Having fielded for nearly two full days, Australia navigated a tricky 10-over spell late in the day via Marcus Harris (19 not out) and Usman Khawaja (5no) to reach 24-0 at stumps, still trailing by 598 runs, albeit fortuitously after Khawaja was dropped by Pant.

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