Welcome to our live report of the third day of the Australia-India Test from Brisbane. Join us for updates, analysis and colour. You can find our traditional ball-by-ball commentary here
It’s still raining quite heavily, and the umpires have indicated that there will be no more play today. We will hopefully get 98 overs tomorrow, starting 9.30am local time. Do join us nice and early for that, and let’s hope this enthralling series doesn’t end on a damp note.
4.37pm: Here comes the rain
Australia got to bowl just 1.5 overs before having to go off the field again. India are 4 for 0. The rain isn’t too heavy yet, but it’s really gloomy and overcast, and the floodlights are on at full intensity as the covers come on.
Cricket is probably the only thing that can get Tamil Nadu Weatherman to tweet the Brisbane weather radar.
4.20pm: India need 328 to win
Mohammed Siraj ends with a richly deserved five-for. Australia is such a difficult place for a visiting debutant to come to, and he’s come here and looked so impressive, especially today while leading this incredibly inexperienced attack. He’s hit that awkward length consistently, got the ball to move off the seam, and exploited the uncertain bounce very well too. The fifth wicket is of Josh Hazlewood, who makes room and steers a short ball down the throat of third man.
Siraj now has 13 wickets in this series, at 29.53. He’s gone past Ashwin to finish as India’s leading wicket-taker.
India will have to negotiate a possible 24 overs today, and, of course, all of tomorrow, weather permitting.
3.57pm: Lead passes 300
And Nathan Lyon celebrates by hooking Siraj for six.
Then he’s out in the next over, slapping Thakur straight to Agarwal at extra-cover. Now both Siraj and Thakur have four each.
Interesting point from Dan Brettig on why Australia may be delaying their declaration, or, at the rate they’re losing wickets, not declaring at all.
3.47pm: Smack on the elbow
Siraj hits a crack close to off stump, just outside off, and gets a shortish ball to jag awkwardly into Cummins and hit him on his unprotected bowling arm. The lead inches towards 300, but Australia are really risking losing one of their bowlers by continuing to bat here.
3.37pm: Siraj bags four-for
Mitchell Starc chips a slower offcutter to mid-off, and Australia are 247 for 8, effectively 280 for 8. No sign of a declaration yet.
In the previous over, Pat Cummins ducked into a Shardul Thakur bouncer that didn’t bounce as high as expected, and the ball grazed the back of his helmet. He had only the most perfunctory-looking concussion test after that, and didn’t look to have been affected in any way, but should Australia keep their bowlers out there and risk them getting injured on this pitch?
3.20pm: The covers are coming off
And play will resume at 3.30pm. If the rain stays away, we’ll only lose one over today.
2.32pm: Early tea
It’s begun drizzling fairly heavily at the Gabba, and the umpires have called the players off the field. Australia are 243 for 7, and they lead by 276. How long this rain break lasts will probably determine how long they continue batting, if at all.
2.24pm: Australia stretch lead to 275
As soon as I put that up, Shardul Thakur bowls an effort ball and gets Tim Paine to top-edge a hook. Thin edge, and Rishabh Pant takes a sharp catch over his head. No sign of a declaration yet, as Mitchell Starc walks out to join Pat Cummins.
2.06pm: Thakur sends back Green
Thakur has bowled beautifully in this innings, and he gets his second with a classic Gabba dismissal. Good-length ball in the corridor, a hint of movement away, and Green is caught on the crease while defending, edges and Rohit takes a chest-high catch at second slip. Australia are 227 for 6, their lead now 260.
1.32pm: Uncertain bounce gets Smith
A proper lifter on a tight, fourth-stump line, and Siraj gets Smith caught at gully, off the glove. The third umpire came in to check whether Smith’s glove was off the handle when the ball hit it, but it wasn’t. He goes for 55, and Australia are 196 for 5, leading by 229.
If the pitch keeps playing like this, Australia might already have enough of a lead.
At the other end, meanwhile, Cameron Green is batting on 20 off 73. He’s looked pretty comfortable out there, but he seems to have batted himself into a bit of a rut, with his technique looking a little mechanical at the moment. I’d say he’s batting more like an allrounder than a batsman at this stage of his career, by which I mean he’s a bit block-or-bash without the in-between tempos.
Steven Smith gets there in just 67 balls. He’s looked to score at every opportunity today, and other than that dropped chance off Sundar – and one moment when he ran a quick single and seemed to feel a twinge in his hip – has looked utterly at ease. His footwork down the pitch against Sundar has been a particular highlight so far. Australia are now 185 for 4, and they lead by 218.
Yikes. Siraj comes back on to bowl the over after Smith reaches his fifty, and spills a caught-and-bowled off Green. Reflex catch, though, it was punched firmly back at him, and he had to stick his arms out to his right, against the direction of his follow-through.
1.10pm: Lead passes 200
Smith and Green are beginning to look quite comfortable out in the middle now, as their control percentages of 85 and 88 would suggest. India have bowled okay since lunch, but they haven’t done a whole lot to trouble the batsmen. Just as I type that, though, a ball from Natarajan creeps through at ankle height, beats Green, and just misses off stump. Then two of his next three balls, all from around the wicket, climb uncomfortably from a length and hit Green on the thigh pad and the box.
And in the next over, Smith jumps out and looks to hit Washington Sundar for six. There’s a long-on in place, and he initially runs a few yards in off the rope, which seems a misjudgment from the fielder, Siraj. He backtracks and moves to his left and reaches above his head after Smith miscues, and he gets both hands to the ball but spills the catch. It’s quite noticeable that Smith has tried to attack Sundar at every opportunity. He was getting a few to turn quite sharply in the morning, so maybe it’s an effort to put him off his lengths, or maybe he just thinks he can hit him for quick runs.
Australia are 149 for 4, and they lead by 182. Steven Smith and Cameron Green have added 26 in 10 overs so far, and the ball has continued to do something when pitched in good areas. India will be quite pleased with how that session went after Australia’s openers had threatened to take the game away, but they’ll have to bat fourth, and just for that you’d think Australia are in front right now. I would think even 250 will be hard to chase here, and Australia could set a lot more if that man Smith stays at the crease long enough. Ominous signs: he’s already moved to 28 off 38.
11.50am: Natarajan vs Green
Cameron Green, like a certain other Australia allrounder of recent vintage, is an lbw candidate, with a front-and-across movement that leaves his front leg planted firmly in line with the stumps. It often means his pad is in the way of his bat coming down straight against the incoming delivery, and Natarajan tried hitting that pad right through the first evening, bowling full from left-arm around. Now, from the same angle, he has an lbw appeal turned down, and India lose a review with ball-tracking returning umpire’s call on impact and suggesting the ball would have bounced over the stumps. It did swing in, though. India, however, will know it’s going to be hard to give Green out given he’s batting well outside his crease and getting a front-foot stride in, and even if he’s struck in line he’s usually struck a long way down the pitch. Plus he’s six feet and 396 inches tall.
India have bowled well since Siraj’s two-wicket over, by the way, and kept things tight. Navdeep Saini has also come on and bowled with discipline, though he’s well off his usual pace, hovering in the high 120s for most part.
11.11am: Siraj joins the party
He’s bowled well in this game without too much success, but now Mohammed Siraj gets Labuschagne with a peach after coming on for a new spell. Angling into the corridor, just back of a length, making the batsman play, and getting it to straighten and take the edge to second slip. Important breakthrough, because Labuschagne was counterattacking dangerously till then, using his feet brilliantly against Sundar in both directions to try and put the offspinner off his lengths. He’s out for 25 off 22, and Australia are 123 for 3. They’re 156 ahead now.
Two balls later it’s 123 for 4, as Rishabh Pant dives to his right to snaffle Matthew Wade, who’s out strangling the ball down the leg side. Well, well.
10.50am: Sundar gets Warner
Excellent delivery, the one that goes with the angle from around the wicket, Kryptonite for left-handers in the DRS era. This one would have been given out even in the pre-DRS era, because David Warner didn’t get a stride forward at all, and was struck on the back leg, just inside the line of the stumps. He was trudging off disconsolately before deciding to review at the last moment; he needn’t have bothered. Natural variation has done the trick for Sundar again, and Australia are 91 for 2 with two new batsmen at the crease. Those two are Marnus Labuschagne and Steven Smith, and if India can get rid of either of them quickly…
10.42am: Thakur breaks through
It’s been a good spell, and Thakur has struck just as the first hour was about to end, getting Harris to glove a sharp bouncer to the keeper. He was looking to get under it, but didn’t manage to drop his hands out of the way in time. Australia are 89 for 1, and lead by 122.
10.35am: The weather
That’s Google searches for those terms over the last seven days. My own search tells me there’s a 92% chance of rain starting around 3pm today.
10.25am: The pitch
The ball has done a lot over the last few overs, with Shardul Thakur beating the left-handers’ bat frequently. He’s bowling from over the wicket, pitching within the line of the stumps, thus forcing the batsmen to play, and getting the ball to jag away from them appreciably. He was wayward in the first innings; today he’s bowled with control and looked incisive, hitting the high 130s consistently. At the other end, Washington Sundar has also found a good amount of turn. While all this will enthuse India, Australia are still without loss, and their bowlers will like what they’re seeing too. It’s 81 for 0.
10.00am: Australia race away
A couple of expensive overs from India, and Australia are suddenly 94 ahead with all ten wickets in the bank. Both new-ball bowlers have strayed in line and length, dropping short and wide and straying on the pads, and Marcus Harris has hit three fours in two overs. He’s even driving balls on the up through the covers now, and rapidly catching up with his opening partner both in terms of score and strike rate. Natarajan, who conceded 14 in the 12th over, has now given way to Shardul Thakur. Navdeep Saini is on the field, by the way, which is hugely encouraging news for India.
9.49am: It’s all happening at the Gabba
So far it’s been a morning to summon up Bill Lawry’s classic line. Mohammed Siraj has beaten David Warner a couple of times with seam movement from just short of a length, and got him to edge a similar delivery just beyond Rohit Sharma’s reach at second slip. T Natarajan has found Marcus Harris’ edge at the other end, only for the ball to fall short of the cordon. When the bowlers have erred slightly on the full side, both batsmen have picked up boundaries with sweetly timed straight drives. Australia are 39 for 0 in 11 overs.
9.15am: The fairytale of Sundar and Natarajan
That’s Sidharth Monga on the common sense running through a partnership that was in every other way the product of schoolboy cricketing dreams. We also have Deivarayan Muthu speaking to Washington Sundar’s sister – who’s also a cricketer – and his coach and delving into his early years; if you were surprised by his batting display yesterday, you really shouldn’t have been.
Looking at it from the Australian perspective, Dan Brettig suggests the Sundar-Thakur stand told of a bowling attack that showed the physical and mental fatigue of playing all four Tests, in a deviation from the rotation policy adopted during the 2019 Ashes.
9.00am: Clear weather… for the moment
Australia are 54 ahead at the Gabba, with two full days left to play and all ten wickets in hand. Ordinarily that would mean they’re in the driver’s seat, but we may not get two full days of play given the rough weather that’s expected in Brisbane today and tomorrow. The news for now, though, is that it’s sunny, so we should start on time, which is 9.30am local time.
Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo