STORY: Australian batsman Glenn Maxwell, who scripted his maiden Test ton, said on Friday (March 17) that he hoped to push the partnership with skipper Steve Smith to 250 runs after end of day two at the third Test in eastern Ranchi city.
Better known for his exploits in the shorter formats, 28-year-old Maxwell grasped his chance in his first Test outing in more than two years to build a series-high 191-run partnership with his skipper Steve Smith.
Smith, who crossed 5,000 test runs in Australia’s 800th test, the first ever at the Jharkhand State Cricket Association Stadium, was in complete control at the other end and remained unbeaten on 178.
Talking to media persons after end of day’s play, Maxwell said he was hoping to take the partnership with Smith to 250 runs.
“It’s probably unfortunate I got out when I did as the partnership could have really driven the game forward. I would have probably taken 250 as a stop,” said Maxwell.
The normally swashbuckling Maxwell assiduously inched his way to become the second Australian cricketer after Shane Watson to score a century in all three formats.
After reaching his hundred with a fierce cut that flew through the slips for his ninth boundary, Maxwell looked quite overwhelmed by the achievement as he embraced Smith with a huge bear hug, took off his helmet and kissed the badge.
Maxwell added that he wanted to maintain his consistency going forward in his career.
“I would always try to be consistent that what the coaches, selectors want-consistency. If I keep performing in other innings that’s go a long way in keeping my spot in the side,” said Maxwell.
After Australia had resumed on 299-4, paceman Umesh Yadav broke Maxwell’s bat in two with the very first delivery but could not really unsettle the batsman.
He added four more runs to his score before edging Jadeja to wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha for 104. Maxwell also hit two sixes and faced 185 balls in his four-hour vigil, the longest he has spent on the crease in an international match.
Lion-hearted left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja bowled the bulk of the overs to claim 5-124 and effected a spectacular run-out to wrap up Australia’s first innings.
Yadav praised Jadeja’s bowling and said the spinner was at the best time of his career.
“I think Jadeja is balling at his best time. I think he took five wickets and he is doing well. Jadeja is a bowler whose style suits every wicket. And the kind of variation he has, he never leaves his place. He keeps on bowling at a particular spot. Even if the ground is rough, he knows his aim and where he has to bowl. So, I think he is bowling at his best time and he is getting rewarded for that,” said Yadav.
Jadeja, who bowled more than a third of the overs in the Australia innings, kept India in the game, dismissing Matthew Wade for 37 and the scoreless Cummins in the same over.
Yadav added that the wicket was holding good so far and the team was closely watching it.
“Right now, we are watching the wicket. Usually, batting is good here so let’s see how much it changes. Because we cannot say how much will it change or how much will it help us or not,” he said.
India mounted a positive reply and scored 120 for one at close, still 331 behind, with Murali Vijay unbeaten on 42 and Cheteshwar Pujara on 10.
Home skipper Virat Kohli, who did not take the field since sustaining a shoulder injury in Thursday’s second session, was expected to bat.
The four-test series is all square at 1-1.