<
>
Player of the Match
Player of the Match

Smith 192 helps Australia pull away

India 1 for 108 (Vijay 55*) trail Australia 530 (Smith 192, Harris 74, Rogers 57, Haddin 55, Watson 52) by 422 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

On Christmas Eve, it was pointed out in a local newspaper that for all Steven Smith's recent achievements he had yet to conquer the MCG. Not once had he passed 50 in a Test match at Australian cricket's colosseum.

On a day of blue skies, a raucous crowd of 51,566, and some dreadful Indian fielding and bowling, Smith put that particular matter to rest. His 192 was a masterpiece of light and shade, determination and dominance, pace and patience. Smith was happy to play a minor role in no fewer than three significant partnerships on the second day, but in showing when to stick and when to twist he guided his side to 530.

Having hoped to be chasing somewhere in the region of 300 when Australia's fifth wicket fell at 216 on Boxing Day Afternoon, India were bereft of ideas against Smith, and were fortunate to reach stumps as tidily placed as 1 for 108. Shikhar Dhawan was winkled out by Ryan Harris, and Cheteshwar Pujara survived only through an untidy miss by Brad Haddin from the accuracy of Josh Hazlewood.

M Vijay at least maintained his command of India's top order, passing 50 for the fourth time in five innings and weathering some searing overs late in the day from Mitchell Johnson, who charged in with the crowd baying expectantly behind him. They had been roused to life early by Haddin's free-spirited start alongside Smith.

Stands of 110 with Haddin and 50 with Johnson set the scene for a rollicking union of 106 between Smith and Ryan Harris, who posted his highest Test score. In the end only the lure of a double-century before tea tripped up Smith, bowled when attempting to ramp Umesh Yadav to fine leg with last man Josh Hazlewood looking on.

All India's bowlers conceded centuries of their own, and none could find a way past Smith, who is finding exceptionally rare territory with his current glut of runs. Chris Rogers had ranked him alongside AB de Villiers on the first evening, and said it was "scary" how good Smith may yet become. In front of an appreciative MCG crowd, Smith scared the living daylights out of MS Dhoni.

This was his third hundred in as many matches, making him the first Australian to pass three figures in each of his first two Tests as captain. Smith and Haddin looked assured as stumps neared on the first evening, and they resumed as though the interval had been only a few minutes rather than a night's sleep.

Haddin was untroubled by India's short-ball fixation, playing one neat hook shot and another more outlandish overhead, cross-court forehand. This convinced Shami to revert to over the wicket, but when he did Haddin delivered the shot of the morning: an iron-wristed punch through point for which there was no need to run.

A brace of boundaries in the following over from Ishant Sharma took Haddin to 50 - his first in 15 innings and a reassuring sight for the Australian selectors.

Smith had announced his intent for the morning by gliding Shami through cover for three in the day's second over, and a flurry of boundaries through cover, point and midwicket took him to the cusp of another century. Shami was obliging with a leg-stump offering that Smith flicked fine of long leg, and he cast his eyes on Phillip Hughes and the heavens upon notching his first Test hundred at the MCG.

Haddin did not last much longer, snicking Shami behind while trying to leave one alone, but Johnson showed plenty of verve and power in a racy 28. A dance down the wicket to R Ashwin had Johnson stumped after a stand of precisely 50, and there was time for Harris to deliver one boundary of his own and Smith to pass 500 runs for the series before lunch arrived.

Harris and Smith set a cracking pace in the afternoon, the No. 9 batsman briefly putting his captain in the shade with a series of hefty blows that reaped the majority of a hundred stand. A towering six over midwicket took Harris to his Test best, but next ball he was lbw to Ashwin just as spectators began thinking of a Harris hundred.

Smith resumed the dominant posture in adding a riotous 48 with Nathan Lyon in 38 balls, and it was only in attempting a stroke of outrageous intent that the captain met his end. Given how well Smith had played to this point, it was hard to blame him.

  • 'Sometimes we're too harsh on our bowlers' - Kohli

    Virat Kohli began the task of captaining India full time by throwing his weight behind his bowlers, saying the batsmen need to share some of the blame for India's failures

  • Memo to Virat Kohli

    India's new captain needs to realise talking is sweet but winning sweeter

  • Just what is the Australian way?

    It's not as easily defined as just saying it is about playing positive, aggressive cricket at all times

  • How Johnson rose above all to create magic

    When the clock is ticking but the drop-in pitch is refusing to misbehave, when everything is hitting the middle of the bat, you need a man to rise above the conditions, you need some magic. On day five in Melbourne, Mitchell Johnson created magic

  • Give this team 12 months - Shastri

    India's team director Ravi Shastri believes "the scoreline does not matter" so long as the team continue to show their attacking intent and push their opponents

Home field advantage

13

This draw ends 13 consecutive Tests between Australia and India all won by the home side, going back to a draw in Delhi, October 2008

Rare Draw Coming Up?

17

Number of years since a Test has been drawn at the MCG. The last drawn Test was between SA and Aus in 1997

Just Missing Out

499

Runs scored by Virat Kohli in this series. No overseas No. 4 batsmen has scored 500 runs in a series in Australia.

Run batsmen run

57

Number of 3s run by batsmen in this Test (at tea). Since 2001, the record for the most 3s in a Test is 58 (Aus v Ind, Adelaide, 2003)

A Boatload

848

Runs scored by Australia in this Test, the third-most by either team in Tests between India and Australia

Don't Run on 99 at the MCG!

3

Shaun Marsh's is the 3rd instance of an Australia batsman getting run out on 99 - all three of them have come at the MCG.

Indian Record

9

Number of dismissals collected by MS Dhoni in this Test - India's record for the most dismissals in a Test by a wicketkeeper.

Declare already?

234

Most runs scored on day 5 by a team batting fourth at the MCG in the last 40 years.

Maiden at home

0

Number of fifties Shaun Marsh had got in nine Test innings in Australia before today.

Ishant joins a club

8

Number of Indian bowlers who have taken 300+ international wickets; Ishant Sharma became the eighth

Bunny

7

Number of times Watson has been dismissed by Ishant Sharma in Tests, averaging 19.85 runs per dismissal.

Struggle

8.66

Shane Watson's batting average against R Ashwin in six Test innings; has been dismissed thrice in 55 balls.

Better later

41.70

Chris Rogers' batting average in the second innings as opposed to his average of 30.50 in the first.

Second-innings specialists

4

Second-innings century stands by Rogers and Warner - no other pair has put on more such partnerships in Tests since 2000.