Australia's stand-in captain Steve Smith remains in the dark over which pitch will be used in Ahmedabad in the fourth Test against India starting on Thursday.

Ahmedabad's massive Narendra Modi Stadium will host the finale of the Border Gavaskar Trophy, but two pitches were being prepared and under covers when Smith and the Australian team trained at the venue on Tuesday.

Smith conceded he left the venue less than 48 hours out from the first ball of the Test uncertain which pitch they would be playing on, having been given no clarity by the curator.

"The short answer is no," Smith replied when asked he knew which pitch was going to be used in the fourth Test. "There's two prepared."

Smith added that situation, given the short turnaround prior to the game, was something he had never encountered before in his career.

"[There] might have been a couple of [pitches] prepared maybe a bit longer out than two days but I can't remember two days," he said.

It is the latest in a series full of controversies surrounding pitches used, with all three Tests completed within three days so far. The series is on track to finish with the fewest balls bowled in a four-match series in Test history.

India coach Rahul Dravid had more clarity on which pitch was going to be used, although he said both being under covers was unusual.

"I don't know why two strips are covered," Dravid said. "I never asked him why he covered the other one. But I don't know what that was. We're playing on this one, I have no idea about the other one."

Australia can secure a series draw with victory in Ahmedabad after an impressive nine-wicket win in Indore in the third Test.

The tourists have come in for constant criticism after falling 2-0 down in the series, with Smith responding that some of that had been "mind-boggling" particularly around their bowling selections.

Australia have deployed three spinners in their past two Tests in the series where fast bowlers have played a minor role and been far less fruitful. The five leading wicket-takers in the series are all spinners, with 78 of the 93 wickets taken by bowlers coming via spin.

"It's been weird with a bit of the commentary back home, people talking about us playing three quicks and one spinner," Smith said.

"It's kind of mind-boggling to me when we look at these surfaces and we see what we've had, 11 innings in six days or something like that, and spinners have taken the bulk of the wickets and you see how difficult it is to play the spin.

"It's kind of odd to hear that kind of commentary, but we've had faith in what we're trying to do and it's good that we are able to show that we can play with three spinners and win. We weren't too far away in Delhi either, outside of that hour of madness.

"Nice to know our plans and everything we are trying to do can work."

After comfortable victories in the first two Tests of their home series against Australia, it looked like India would be on the way to a simple series win.

The Baggy Green came back with a vengeance in the third Test in Indore though, winning by nine wickets after limiting India to a total of just 272 runs from their two innings.

It provides more drama for the fourth and final Test, when the home team will be looking to avoid suffering defeat in multiple Test matches in a series in India for the first time in over 10 years. 

India have not lost more than once in a men's Test series on home soil since going down 2-1 to England in November-December of 2012.

The Border-Gavaskar series finishes in Ahmedabad, which has seen spin dominate in previous Tests.

Surfaces have been almost the sole subject of discussion around the matches so far, but India captain Rohit Sharma just wants to focus on playing cricket.

"Honestly the pitch talk is getting too much, every time we play in India focus is only on the pitch. We focus too much on the pitch in India," he said.

"I don't think that is necessary. Honestly speaking, these are the kind of pitches we want to play on.

"This is our strength, so when you're playing at your home, you always play to your strength, not worry about what people outside are talking about."

It was a good job Australia were able to restrict India to so few runs in the third Test, as their batters have struggled throughout the series, only scoring more than 200 in an innings once.

They have scored an average of 25.3 runs per wicket in men's Tests in 2023, their lowest rate since 1956 when they averaged just 21.6 runs per wicket.

The tourists will also be up against history, having not won multiple games within a single series in India since 1969.

Their spinners will likely be needed to step up again, with the emergence of Todd Murphy and Matthew Kuhnemann alongside Nathan Lyon proving a revelation in the third Test, with the trio taking 18 of the 20 India wickets to fall between them.

Murphy wants to make the most of it, saying: "I haven't thought too far ahead but when you look, Gaz [Lyon] is still bowling as good as he ever has so when this series does come to an end it is going to slow down a little, it's quite rare other places in the world to play two spinners."

Can Kohli rediscover form?

Virat Kohli has been unable to find his best form of late, averaging 22.2 in the series and without a half-century in five innings.

However, he has made a good connection on 82 per cent of his 219 balls faced, the highest of any player to have faced at least 60 balls this series, so just needs to find a way to translate that into more runs.

Lyon close to becoming number one tourist in India

The experienced Lyon was sensational in the last Test, particularly in the second innings as he claimed figures of 8-64.

The 35-year-old has taken 53 Test wickets in India, the second most of any visiting player in the history of the men's format, with only England's Derek Underwood (54) having taken more.

South Africa have turned to spinners Keshav Maharaj and Simon Harmer as they attempt to secure a 2-0 Test series whitewash of West Indies at the Wanderers.

The Proteas started a new era with Temba Bavuma as captain and Shukri Conrad head coach with an 87-run victory over the Windies at SuperSport Park.

Bavuma has since been dropped from the Twenty20 International team and replaced as skipper by Aiden Markram.

South Africa start the second and final Test in Johannesburg on Wednesday knowing third place in the World Test Championship is there for the taking.

Maharaj and Harmer come into the side along with batter Ryan Rickelton and all-rounder Wiaan Mulder.

Anrich Nortje was ruled out with a groin injury, while Marco Jansen, Senuran Muthusamy and Keegan Petersen also drop out of the team.

The tourists are unchanged despite crumbling to 159 all out in the first Test, Kagiso Rabada doing much of the damage with brilliant figures of 6-50.

Both sides turn their attention to trying to qualify for this year's 50-over World Cup after this match, with South Africa not playing again in the longest format until taking on India in December.

West Indies have won only one of their 16 Tests in South Africa, that coming back in December 2007 and have lost 13 of those matches.

South Africa will be striving to secure a 20th Test win at the Wanderers, a tally they have already reached at Newlands and SuperSport Park. 

The Proteas have won both Tests against the Windies at this venue, the last of those triumphs coming in 2003.


Opportunity knocks for Rickelton

Rickelton returns for his fourth Test and Conrad says the 26-year-old left-hander has earned the chance to show he belongs in the middle order.

He said: "Rickelton deserves his crack at it.

"I still feel Keegan has a big role to play in the middle order rather than at the top of the order. I think his best position might be number five going forward in terms of the way he plays.

"But again this Test batting unit is still a work in progress."

Reliable Roach

Kemar Roach has produced the goods time and again for West Indies and he put them in the hunt to win the first Test by taking 5-47 in the second innings, with the Proteas skittled out for only 116.

The paceman has a strike rate of 42.3 against South Africa in Tests, his best against any team in the format.

Anrich Nortje has been released from South Africa's squad ahead of the second Test against West Indies due to a groin issue.

Paceman Nortje took 6-84 as the Proteas claimed an 87-run victory in the first Test of the two-match series at Centurion.

However, the 29-year-old will not feature at The Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg after he after experienced what South Africa described as "mild groin discomfort" during the first Test.

South Africa have not called up a replacement for Nortje, who has taken 70 wickets in the longest format since making his debut in October 2019.

The second Test starts on Wednesday, with three ODIs and as many T20Is to follow.

Pat Cummins will not return to India before the fourth and final Test, meaning Steve Smith will again captain Australia in Ahmedabad.

Cummins headed back to Sydney after the second Test – a second defeat – to be with his mother, who is in palliative care with breast cancer.

Former skipper Smith led the Australia team in the absence of the regular captain and oversaw a dominant nine-wicket win in the third Test in Indore.

That victory secured Australia's place in the World Test Championship final, but they need another result in the final match of the series to earn a draw.

Smith will again deputise for Cummins, Australia confirmed on Monday.

Cummins, who is also the ODI captain, has been included in Australia's 50-over squad, with no decision yet made on his involvement in the white-ball series.

Fast bowler Jhye Richardson has withdrawn from that ODI series due to a hamstring injury with Nathan Ellis replacing him in the squad.

Mark Wood is not expecting to play a full role for England in the Ashes against Australia given Ben Stokes' wealth of Test bowling options.

The Durham quick was England's leading wicket-taker with 17 dismissals as the tourists succumbed to a 4-0 defeat in Australia in the 2021-22 Ashes series.

Wood has only played three internationals in the red-ball arena since that humiliation against England's old foes, in an attempt to manage his workload after repeated injury issues.

James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Ollie Robinson continue to impress under captain Stokes in coach Brendon McCullum's side. England could also call on the likes of Matthew Potts, Olly Stone, Sam Curran, Saqib Mahmood, Chris Woakes and the fit-again Jofra Archer.

With such depth of bowling talent, Wood acknowledged there is little chance of him playing all five Tests against Australia in the home series that starts on June 16 at Edgbaston.

"I will definitely not play all five [Ashes Tests]," Wood told reporters in Chattogram, where he is away touring with England's white-ball team against Bangladesh.

"I was delighted to play four out of five in Australia. I was knackered, wrecked, exhausted, [but] that was a big tick in my box to say that in a big series, I can do it, if Stokesy or Baz [McCullum] want me to play.

"More than likely, with the bowling stock we have, especially at home, I probably won't even play four. They might even want me for one or two, if they need a pace element."

 

The frontline trio of Anderson, Broad and Robinson again combined well in the recent 1-1 Test series draw with New Zealand, in which England suffered a dramatic one-run defeat in the decisive second meeting.

"[Stokes] might want to mix it up to keep people fresh, but if people are playing well, I might not play any," Wood added, acknowledging the quality of his bowling partners.

"I very much doubt, from the way they have managed me, [that I will play] four. If they want three or four, I will put my hand up."

Wood was afforded a two-month break before the tour of Bangladesh to recover both mentally and physically.

The 33-year-old heads to the Indian Premier League with Lucknow Super Giants after England's ongoing white-ball series, before the Ashes, a set of limited-overs fixtures and the 50-over Cricket World Cup in India follow.

"With my record, I might get [through] two of them," Wood said.

He added: "I've done interviews in the past where I've said, 'Of course I'm thinking about the Ashes in the background', [but] I'm actually not.

"There's so much going on before: we've got this, the T20s, the IPL and then the Ashes after that.

"I've got the birth of my daughter in between that, so it's going to be a massive time, I'm not really thinking that far ahead."

Ricky Ponting believes David Warner missed the ideal chance to retire in style at the SCG after his double-century at the MCG in December.

Warner plundered his way to 200 from 255 deliveries in the Boxing Day Test, which was his 100th appearance for his country in the format, as Australia dismantled South Africa by an innings and 182 runs.

That knock came at the end of a difficult 2022 for the opening batter, who had scored only two half-centuries in his previous 19 innings.

The 36-year-old was included in Australia's squad for their tour of India, but managed just 26 runs in three visits to the crease before suffering concussion and subsequently withdrawing.

Former Australia captain Ponting thinks the perfect opportunity for Warner to bow out was at the end of the South Africa series, with his home ground in Sydney hosting the final match.

Ponting told the ICC Review podcast: "Look, I was on radio a couple of days ago, back here in Australia, and I thought the absolute best time for Davey to retire, if he was thinking about it at all, was after the Sydney Test match here in Australia.

"He'd just played his 100th Test in Melbourne, and obviously got 200 in the first innings down there. And to bow out in front of his home crowd is obviously the way that every player would like to finish their careers.

"Who knows now that opportunity might not come around again for Davey, you know. That's nearly another 12 months away."

Australia will feature in this year's ICC Test Championship final at The Oval, and Ponting thinks Warner will play in that match if he is fit.

Indeed, Ponting says it could well act as an audition for the Ashes, which start at Edgbaston on June 16.

"They're probably going to have similar things to think about when they get to the UK because David's record in the UK is not as strong as it is in some other places around the world," said Ponting.

"I think his career deserves to finish the way he wants it to.

"Sort of not to be dropped or tapped on the shoulder in the middle of an overseas tour and have his career end in that way. That's why I just hope he can find it within himself to score a lot of runs between now and next summer."

Australia's recovery from the "one hour of chaos" that sank their second Test hopes against India delighted head coach Andrew McDonald.

The tourists lost their first two red-ball games to the hosts, including a dramatic batting collapse in Delhi that cost them the chance of regaining the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

But they recovered to seize victory in the third Test in Indore, thanks to Nathan Lyon's record-breaking spell with ball-in-hand - which saw him become the highest wicket-taker in Tests between Australia and India - during their nine-wicket triumph, one which saw them qualify for the World Test Championship final.

That bounce-back has impressed McDonald, especially after losing six wickets of their own for just 11 runs during the first innings, with the coach thrilled by their resolve.

"You have almost got to be near perfect against India in India," he said. "I think this game besides that 6 for 11 was near perfect.

"We had a little bit of luck [but] we took our opportunities as well. You compare that to the Delhi game. We had one hour of chaos there and that cost us that Test match when we'd played pretty good cricket."

"We came here and doubled down on what we'd set out to achieve at the start of the tour. So on the back of Delhi, it was 'how clear are we going to be in what we need to do next'".

On Lyon's second-innnings 8-64, McDonald added: "We go out there and Nathan Lyon as the experienced spinner delivers one of his best performances. It always takes an individual to do something special to get the team back on track, no doubt about that."

Australia will have the chance to tie the series when they meet India in their final red-ball game in Ahmedabad, starting on Thursday.

Australia stand-in captain Steve Smith hailed "a complete performance" as the tourists raced to a nine-wicket win over India in Indore to book a place in the World Test Championship final.

In a low-scoring contest at Holkar Cricket Stadium, Australia set the tone on day one by bowling out India for 109, before going on to build an 88-run first-innings advantage.

Eight wickets in the second innings from Nathan Lyon helped to dismiss India for 163, and that left Smith's team needing just 76 for victory on Friday.

They lost Usman Khawaja early, but Travis Head made 49 not out and Marnus Labuschagne an unbeaten 28 to calm any nerves, with Australia reaching a match-winning 78-1 in 18.5 overs.

Lyon was named player of the match, and Smith said: "Nathan got all the rewards with eight wickets, but I think our bowlers as a collective were really good."

He praised the attack one by one, before adding of Australia's effort: "It was a complete performance in the end."

Smith has stepped in to lead the team since Pat Cummins travelled home to Australia for family reasons.

"We're thinking of Patty back home," Smith said at the post-match presentation. "He's had to go home, so our thoughts are with him.

"I really enjoyed this week, I like captaining in this part of the world, I feel like I understand the conditions really well and the intricacies of the game that need to happen ball in and ball out. I think I did a reasonable job this week.

"We're really proud to have clinched a spot in the World Test Championship in a couple of months' time."

It could be India awaiting Australia at the Oval in London in June, and that certainly will be the case if the home side win the fourth Test that begins at the Narendra Modi Stadium next Thursday.

Smith and Australia want to level the series though, having trimmed their arrears to 2-1 with this victory.

"Hopefully we can put up a similar performance and finish the series really well," Smith said.

India skipper Rohit Sharma said his team would "need to regroup and try to understand what we did right in the first two Test matches as well".

He said India have "got to be brave... which I thought we were not".

Lyon's 11 wickets in the match have made him the most successful bowler in Tests between India and Australia, taking him two past Anil Kumble's haul of 111 wickets.

The spinner said: "I just love challenging myself at this level and get a big thrill out of that."

Australia completed a nine-wicket victory over India early on day three of the third Test in Indore to seal a place in June's World Test Championship final.

The tourists required just 76 runs on Friday at Holkar Cricket Stadium and reached that target before lunch to trim India's lead to 2-1 in the four-match series.

Travis Head made 49 not out and Marnus Labuschagne an unbeaten 28, with Usman Khawaja (0) the only man to fall early on in a routine victory stroll.

Australia, who had lost their past three Tests played in Asia, will now face either India or Sri Lanka in the World Test Championship final at the Oval in London.

India require victory over Australia in next week's fourth and final Test to book their place in the showpiece contest.

Eight wickets from Nathan Lyon, who was named player of the match, left Australia on the verge of victory at the end of day two.

A challenging pitch gave India slim hope of at least dragging out day three, and they started strongly as Khawaja was caught behind by KS Bharat for a second-ball duck.

But Labuschagne saw off some tricky early bowling to keep Australia on course and shared an unbroken stand of 78 with Head to see his side home in just 18.5 overs.

Australia snap losing run

This was a welcome victory for Australia, who avoided losing four Tests in a row against India in the format for the first time ever.

India can have no complaints with the margin of defeat as they missed out on a fourth Test victory in a row for the first time since a seven-game stretch in 2019.

Labuschagne and Head hold firm

After strong work on Thursday from Lyon, whose total of 113 career wickets in Australia versus India Tests is a record in the rivalry between these teams, it was left to Labuschagne and Head to get Australia easily over the line.

Their 78-run partnership ranks as the highest unbeaten stand by a batting pair in the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy series between Australia and India, which will go down to the wire.

Kagiso Rabada took six wickets as South Africa recovered from a batting collapse on day three to beat West Indies by 87 runs in the first Test in Centurion.

A haul of 6-50 from Rabada carried the hosts home as West Indies were bowled out for 159 in their second innings, with Jermaine Blackwood's terrific 79 from 93 balls providing the chief resistance.

The SuperSport Park crowd had seen South Africa fall from their overnight 49-4 to 116 all out in the morning session, with Aiden Markram following his century in the first innings with 47 as only two others reached double figures.

Kemar Roach took 5-47, with Markram among his victims, to fuel hopes of a first Test win for West Indies against South Africa since December 2007.

Yet momentum began to tilt back the Proteas' way when West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite fell to Rabada just before lunch, before any runs went on the board in the chase.

The tourists needed 247, but a wretched start saw them crumble to 20-4 and left the middle and lower order with a cliff face to climb.

Rabada had Brathwaite and Raymon Reifer caught behind by Heinrich Klaasen, before Marco Jansen drew a badly timed hook from Tagenarine Chanderpaul and then bowled Roston Chase with the next ball.

They were 33-5 when Gerald Coetzee had Kyle Mayers taken at slip, and it was only Blackwood keeping West Indies in the game.

He delivered a sparkling innings that nobody else could match, with Joshua Da Silva (17) and Jason Holder (18) briefly joining him in handy stands, but both fell to edges off Rabada.

Eventually, so too did Blackwood, a fiery delivery from Rabada into the body jabbed to Markram at second slip.

That gave South Africa a ninth wicket and it was effectively job done with the dangerman out of the way. Rabada duly wrapped it up, pinning Roach lbw.

Rabada hits Windies for six

This was Rabada's first six-wicket haul in Tests since taking 6-54 against Australia in March 2018, and his three best innings performances have all now come at Centurion. This ranks third on the list, behind the 7-112 and 6-32 that he took in the same game against England in January 2016.

It was not enough for man-of-the-match honours this time, though, with Markram taking that award.

Proteas keep rivalry one-sided

South Africa led by 130 after the first innings of this match, meaning their dismal display with the bat second time around did not prove too costly. The result means they are now unbeaten against West Indies in their last 11 Tests (W9 D2), with this a fourth victory on the bounce. Indeed, all four matches between these sides at SuperSport Park have been won by the hosts.

Home captain Temba Bavuma made a pair of ducks in his first game as skipper, but got away with it. The second and final Test of this series begins at the Wanderers in Johannesburg next Wednesday.

Nathan Lyon took eight wickets on a dramatic day two of the third Test to leave Australia needing 76 runs to beat India and keep the series alive.

Sixteen wickets fell on a captivating second day at Holkar Cricket Stadium, where the tourists collapsed to 197 all in reply to India's 109.

Ravichandran Ashwin (3-44) and Umesh Yadav (3-12) took Australia's last six wickets for only 11 runs to seemingly leave the game in the balance.

With sharp turn and variable bounce to contend with, Cheteshwar Pujara made 59 but India were skittled out for 163 in their second innings in Indore, Lyon claiming a magnificent 8-64 to leave Australia facing only a small run chase to make it 2-1.

Ashwin ended a stand of 40 by removing Peter Handscomb (19) after Australia resumed on 156-4 and Umesh trapped Cameron Green leg before in the next over.

Umesh cleaned up Mitchell Starc and Todd Murphy as the tourists folded after the drinks break, with Ashwin on the money as he struck Alex Carey in front, before bowling Lyon to end the innings in a flash.

Starting their second innings with a deficit of 88, India lost openers Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma bowled and lbw respectively to the excellent Lyon.

Virat Kohli followed for only 13 after being struck on the pad in front of middle stump attempting to pull a Matthew Kuhnemann delivery that kept low and India were 78-4 when Lyon sent Ravindra Jadeja trudging off.

Shreyas Iyer made a brisk 25 before falling to Mitchell Starc and Lyon continued to apply the pressure, seeing the back of Srikar Bharat and Ashwin.

Pujara stood firm for a battling half-century but his knock was ended when Steve Smith produced a brilliant diving catch at leg slip for the relentless Lyon, who dismissed Umesh and Mohammed Siraj without scoring to clean up the India innings.

 

Ashwin into the top three

The 36-year-old Ashwin took his incredible tally of international wickets to 689 in his 269th match to become India's third-highest wicket-taker across all formats.

He surpassed the great Kapil Dev's haul of 687 in all formats for India, making the most of the conditions after Jadeja (4-78) had taken all four wickets for India on day one.

Only Anil Kumble (953) and Harbhajan Singh (707) have claimed more scalps for India in all formats combined.

Lyon Australia's spin king

It was Kuhnemann who starred for the tourists by claiming his maiden five-wicket haul in only his second Test on day one, but fellow spinner Lyon was the main man on Thursday.

He bowled with great guile and control, helping himself taking his 23rd haul in the longest format after picking up three wickets on day one.

Lyon now has more wickets against India across all formats than any other Australia bowler after moving past Brett Lee's total of 111, having claimed his second eight-wicket haul in India.

Ben Stokes is not risking fitness for this year's Ashes series by playing in the Indian Premier League, insists England head coach Brendon McCullum.

England's Test captain has signed for Chennai Super Kings with the IPL season starting on March 31, ahead of the Ashes getting underway on June 16 in Birmingham.

Stokes struggled with his left knee in England's Test defeat to New Zealand in Wellington, where he could only bowl two overs while batting for 33 runs on the final day.

But McCullum has no concerns.

"I don't think he's jeopardising the Ashes. The skipper has a strong mind, and he knows how to get right for the big moments," he told reporters.

"In fact I look forward to watching him play for Chennai, and see him play cricket without the captaincy and having to worry about everyone else.

"We know when he comes back to us, he'll have that bit between his teeth. I also believe the Ashes is the script the skipper is waiting to write."

Stokes has delivered in huge moments for England, from starring in their 2019 World Cup victory to stunning Australia in a famous Ashes Test at Headingley when the series was last played on English soil four years ago.

He also scored an unbeaten 52 to propel England to victory at the T20 World Cup last year and has become the quickest Test captain to reach 10 wins.

At Chennai, he will play under head coach Stephen Fleming, who was once New Zealand team-mates with McCullum.

"I've got a tee-time with him, so I'll be making sure he looks after the skipper," said McCullum of Fleming.

"Chennai have a very good set-up, and they have an outstanding leader in Flem. He sees the big picture in everything, so I've no concerns."

Australia won the last Ashes 4-0 but after developing a distinct style of play since McCullum's appointment, England look primed to take the fight to the tourists. 

"This team has grown over the last eight or nine months," McCullum added. "I think the players have become more at ease with how we're playing, and it's become more authentic.

"Our style certainly does give us the best chance of being able to topple a good Australian side.

"We know it won't be easy but with eight or nine months development of that style under our belts, we should be hard to beat. Bring it on!"

West Indies enjoyed a late flurry with the ball that breathed life into their chances in the first Test against South Africa after Anrich Nortje's five-for limited the visitors to just 212 on day two.

Having skittled the hosts for 342, the West Indies were then left with a significant 130-run deficit at the end of the Nortje show.

But a brilliant spell right at the end of the day saw South Africa lose four wickets for just 18 runs towards the start of their second innings, leaving the Proteas looking frustrated.

Alzarri Joseph (5-81) started the day by picking up where he left off, ending South Africa's first innings when dealing with Gerald Coetzee (17) – caught easily by Jason Holder – and Nortje (14) to complete his maiden five-for, owing thanks to Tagenarine Chanderpaul for getting under the latter's slice.

West Indies initially stood firm against a relentless attack as they went into bat, Raymon Reifer (62) proving particularly defiant.

Runs were tricky to come by for the tourists, putting on just 65 between lunch and tea, though Reifer and Jermaine Blackwood (37) managed a respectable stand of 64.

But Nortje (5-36) removed Blackwood, his inside edge drawing a diving catch from Heinrich Klaasen, who ended Reifer's resistance in similar fashion with the West Indies on 169-4.

South Africa made light work of the rest, Nortje taking another four wickets.

Aiden Markram – scorer of 115 on day one – was seemingly in the groove once again as he hit 35 off 33.

But Dean Elgar (1) fell short going for the ramp, his first of four wickets in relatively quick succession, Joseph (2-17) taking two and Jason Holder (1-0) removing Keegan Petersen (7) lbw with the day's last delivery.

A day for the bowlers

The day's last session was particularly dramatic, with the West Indies losing seven wickets and South Africa seeing four fall.

Clearly, the stars of the day were Nortje and Joseph, who each secured five-fors. The South Africa man deserves special mention, however, with his figures of 5-36 truly exceptional.

Holder reaches a milestone

The scalp of Petersen right at the end of the day was momentous for Holder, who reached 150 Test wickets.

As such, he became only the second West Indian to achieve 150 wickets and 2,500 runs in Test cricket. Joseph may have been the main man on the day, but Holder had his moment to shine as well.

Matt Kuhnemann starred on the first day of the third test at Holkar Stadium as Australia reached stumps in control of India.

Not even in the squad for the start of the series, Kuhnemann bowled a five-for on a poor pitch as India's first innings in Indore amounted to just 109 in 33.2 overs.

Marnus Labuschagne (31) and Usman Khawaja (60) then steered Australia into a comfortable position with a 96-run stand, as India's flagrant use of the DRS caused issues for the hosts.

While Ravindra Jadeja bowled Labuschagne to end that pairing, the tourists remained strong to finish the day 156-4 and hold a 47-run lead.

Australia came out of the blocks flying to take five wickets in the first hour, and seven in the first session.

Kuhnemann (5-16) and Nathan Lyon (3-35) had three wickets each, while Todd Murphy (1-23) trapped Virat Kohli lbw (22) to leave India 84-7 at lunch, before the hosts finished all out for 109 in just over a session.

India's response with the ball started well, Jadeja (4-64) taking Travis Head (9) lbw with just 12 runs on the board, and then bowled Labuschagne off a no ball – a mistake that proved costly.

Poor decision-making on DRS also contributed to the hosts' downfall, losing two reviews and opting not to challenge the umpire's call for an lbw on Labuschagne, which replays showed would have been out.

Australia welcomed those errors, Khawaja hitting a half century before being caught by Shubman Gill to put the tourists well on their way to fighting back in the series.

 

Kuhnemann's fine day

In just his second Test, Kuhnemann oversaw the undoing of India to finish with figures of 5-16.

Australia's charge saw six wickets tumble in just 22 overs, the most India have lost in the first innings of a match in this format since the beginning of 2007.

Jadeja's record

On a disappointing day for India, there was at least some comfort with the performance of Jadeja, who took all four of Australia's wickets.

He became just the second Indian player – and 11th cricketer overall – to take 500 wickets and score over 5,000 runs in the international game.

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