Rohit Sharma ‘absolutely spits’ after brain atrophy, Shubman Gill Century, Day 3 Talking Points, Cricket News 2023

Just three wickets fell on day three of the Ahmedabad Test, with India’s top order driving Australia’s bowlers into the dirt in a quest for a first-innings lead.

Indian opener Shubman Gill cemented his status as one of cricket’s future superstars by plundering a second century of Testing before falling to Nathan Lyon for 128 in the evening session.

Virat Kohli, who has not achieved a Test century in three years, was unbeaten on stumps at 59, but the competition looks set to end in a tie unless the pitch at Narendra Modi Stadium starts to turn.

India resumes on day four at 289-3, still 191 runs behind Australia.

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India took a risk and it paid off.

Last week, the hosts dropped their vice-captain ahead of the third Test at Indore, with young Wilde Shubman replacing Gill KL Rahul at the top of the order.

Rahul had not reached 50 in his last 10 test taps, with an average of 15.90 since early 2022. Although India secured victories in Nagpur and Delhi, the national selectors decided it was time for a change.

Gill didn’t contribute much to the Indore Test, scoring 21 and 5 points from a raging gymnast as Australia clinched an all-out nine-wicket victory, but the 23-year-old repaid the selectors’ trust on Saturday, peeling off 128 with class in Ahmedabad.

The right-hander, dubbed “Gillchrist”, engaged in a thrilling battle with Nathan Lyon in the morning session, beating Mitchell Starc into all corners of the 132,000-seat venue at the other end. His ability to switch gears depending on the game situation was impressive for a cricketer still in the infancy of his Test career.

He linked with Cheteshwar Pujara for a 113-run partnership for the second wicket to frustrate Australia’s bowlers, who grew despondent as their lead dwindled in the first inning.

Gill brought up three numbers, his first Test century on home soil, with a mixed swing shot down by Todd Murphy just before the tea break, and bowed to the rowdy crowd before embracing Pujara. His smile was intoxicating.

“He looked totally in control,” said former Australian wicketkeeper Brad Haddin at Fox Cricket.

“This is his best inning to date.

“He had to weather the storm…really class tapping.

“When Australia bowled well, he respected bowling. I thought he was going to get frustrated and play a stupid shot, but he showed great maturity.”

Gill is in remarkable form in white ball cricket, scoring 208 (149) goals in an ODI against New Zealand in Hyderabad last month. He hit another two centuries against the black caps in Indore and Ahmedabad, prompting speculation of a test recall.

Ahead of this week’s competition against Australia, Gill averaged just 30.48 in the Test arena – but the youngster has proved he really deserves his place in the starting XI. We could be witnessing the emergence of another modern greatness in Indian cricket.

Shubman Gil from India. Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images
Shubman Gil from India. Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images


It seems inevitable that Mitchell Starc will join a growing list of Australians who have failed to conquer India.

The left-hander, who has more than 300 Test wickets to his name, has struggled on his last two tours of India, catching seven scalps in four games at 50.14. The lifeless Indian decks were a stark contrast to the bouncing wickets at home and Indian batsmen enjoyed his bowling when the cherry failed to reverse.

After missing the first two Tests of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy through injury, Starc was recalled for last week’s Indore Test, replacing captain Pat Cummins in the starting XI. He bowled just 12 overs at Holkar Cricket Stadium, finishing 1-35 after catching the deciding wicket of Shreyas Iyer in the second innings.

But in Ahmedabad, Starc has little troubled India’s top order.

As the new ball lost its luster, the 33-year-old aimed bouncers for India’s opening goal – only for rivals captain Rohit Sharma to propel him past the fine-leg limit for a six.

Starc was brought back later that afternoon in search of a reverse swing, to no avail. He was particularly ineffective against Gill, who has accumulated over 125 runs against Starc at the Test level without being dismissed.

The New South Welshman had 0-74 numbers on stumps on Day 3, losing 4.35 runs per over at Narendra Modi Stadium.

Mitchell Starc from Australia. Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

Starc averages 57.50 with the ball on Indian soil and never takes more than two wickets in a Test innings. Of Australian Test cricketers to have bowled at least 100 overs in India, only Brett Lee has a higher average (61.62).

This will almost certainly be Starc’s final test tour of India – he will be 37 when Australia returns to the Asian nation in 2027. Unless he can muster some wickets over the next few days, his three Indian escapades will remain a blemish on his stellar Test career.

Mitchell Starc Test bowling average by country

Sri Lanka — 17.48

West Indies – 17.91

Australia — 26.29

England — 31.27

Pakistan — 34.12

South Africa — 34.41

United Arab Emirates — 53.16

India — 57.50


The Indian captain was apparently on his way to a Daddy Hundred in Ahmedabad before a brain failure prematurely ended his Saturday morning tap.

Rohit Sharma was at his best when play resumed on day three, becoming only the sixth Indian to complete 17,000 runs at international level.

The 35-year-old combined with Shubman Gill for an opening 74-run partnership before losing concentration in the 21st over when he faced Australian spinner Matthew Kuhnemann.

The Queenslander fell just behind and Sharma pushed hard towards the covers – but the SG ball went straight for Marnus Labuschagne, who roared with delight.

Sharma threw back her head in disbelief.

“Rohit will be absolutely disgusted with himself,” former Indian spinner Murali Kartik said in a comment.

“It was a brilliant start. He looked extremely comfortable out there.”

Indian cricket legend Ravi Shastri continued: “This is soft. would you believe it He hit it right away for short extra coverage.

“He’s going to kick himself. He hit so nice.”

Narendra Modi Stadium was a hitting paradise on Saturday, offering little support to the bowlers and Sharma had essentially gifted his wicket to the Australians. It was the only dismissal that fell in the first three hours of play.

“He’s going to be disappointed… he’s going to absolutely spit,” Haddin said on Fox Cricket.

“That was a bad concentration error on the part of the captain.

“That was just a nothing shot… he’s absolutely going to kick himself.”

Rohit Sharma from India. Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images


Virat Kohli is one of the most famous figures in world sports, but sometimes his fan base goes above and beyond.

During last year’s T20 World Cup in Australia, a stranger entered the Indian superstar’s Perth hotel room, filmed his personal belongings and shared the footage on social media.

And on Saturday, the crowd at Narendra Modi Stadium came under scrutiny for their premature chants on day three of the Ahmedabad test.

After teaming with centurion Shubman Gill for a 113-run partnership for the second wicket, Cheteshwar Pujara fell to Todd Murphy just before the drinks break, caught on the pads for 42 – Kohli was the next waiting batsman.

Pujara called for a review, and while third referee Joel Wilson consulted the footage, chants of “Kohli, Kohli, Kohli” echoed around the venue.

The reaction didn’t sit well with Indian commentator Harsha Bhogle, who branded the chant “disrespectful”.

Pujara returned to the sheds embarrassed after Hawkeye confirmed he was absolutely fine.


Steve Smith understands the conditions in India better than anyone, but some of his tactical decisions were scrutinized during the first hour of play on day three of the Ahmedabad Test.

Australia’s deputy captain employed a short-ball strategy against India’s opening side early in the morning – Mitchell Starc peppered the right-handers with chin music with three fielders on the boundary rope behind the square.

However, Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill weren’t afraid to play his shots, happily hooking the paceman towards his leg on several occasions. The short ball trick was scrapped after two overs, and Smith quickly turned to spin.

Steve Smith from Australia speaks with Mitchell Starc. Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

In his commentary, former Test batter Matthew Hayden argued Smith should not have abandoned the strategy so quickly, pointing out that outside the off-stump Starc creates a rough target for Australia’s spinners.

“I felt like they should have stayed with Starc for another over,” Hayden said.

“Especially when you consider the Indian thugs worked hard on it…it just needed one more time to find out if India was ready to stick with it.”

Former Indian spinner Murali Kartik continued: “You can’t afford to let it stand too late.

“You have to make sure that pitch does something early on… they have to get it done today because if you think India will take the lead and you have to hit again, that’s a dangerous mindset.”

Previously, Nathan Lyon had a delivery to turn sharply and catch the inside edge of Gill’s racquet, the ball narrowly dodging Peter Handscomb on the short leg.

As The Age’s Daniel Brettig pointed out, India placed their short-leg fielder behind the square in the first innings, leading to Starc’s dismissal on day two. Handscomb had stood in front of the popping crease.

The Australian reserve captain was once again not perfect with his ratings either, wasting a valuable DRS call in the 18th over when Gill was hit on the pad as he faced Lyon – but Hawkeye showed the impact outside the line of the stump lay.

Smith’s refusal to introduce spinner Todd Murphy into attack until the 32nd over also raised eyebrows. Rohit Sharma ‘absolutely spits’ after brain atrophy, Shubman Gill Century, Day 3 Talking Points, Cricket News 2023

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