SYDNEY: Australia batsman Steve Smith said he was trying to redeem himself by putting spinner Ravichandran Ashwin under pressure on the opening day of the third Test against India at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on Thursday.
Smith, who was struggling in the series before the Pink Test, played confidently with a different approach. He is unbeaten on 31 and put on a good partnership with Marnus Labuschagne (67*).
The 31-year-old batsman was bagged twice by Ashwin in the four innings of the ongoing series and so Smith decided to stay positive.
"I'm good, nice to spend a bit of time out there, nice to stitch in a partnership with Marnus. I wanted to put him (Ashwin) under a little bit of pressure which I haven't done in this series. Was just trying to hold the grip a bit tighter, I've been struggling, so I was getting into good positions today. Was good to get a couple of boundaries early. Marnus played well, hopefully, we go along well tomorrow," Smith said after the conclusion of play on the opening day.
Debutant Will Pucovski rode his luck and Labuschagne showed resolve as the duo hit half-centuries to put Australia in a dominating position.
At stumps, Australia's score read 166/2 in 55 overs. On a day when the Indian bowlers had to toil hard -- for the first time in the Test series -- 35 overs were lost due to rain.
Mohammed Siraj, playing in his second Test, struck in the fourth over to hand India an early breakthrough as opener David Warner -- returning after missing two Tests due to groin injury - walked back after scoring just five runs.
The first session saw just 7.1 over being bowled and the persistent drizzle brought about an early call for lunch as the hosts' score reads 21/1. After losing Warner early in the game, Pucovski showed great intent in front of a fierce bowling line-up and with Labuschangne for company and the two built a platform to bring the hosts back into the game.