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Smith bats Australia in command of Test

Steve Smith is going about setting India an insurmountable target at the SCG, helping Australia to 4-182 and with a lead of 276 at lunch on day four of the third Test.

With the four-match series square at 1-1, Smith went to the break on 58 and in pursuit of a second century for the match.

Downtrodden for his start to the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Smith was made to fight hard for runs on Sunday but is now averaging 49.50 for the series.

He has driven beautifully, while the best shot of the morning came when he rocked back and punched Navdeep Saini through the covers.

Australia’s lead is already close to the highest successful fourth-innings chase at the SCG – 288 in 2005.

India’s fight to draw the game has also taken a hit, with Pat Cummins’ 4-29 on Saturday also leaving Rishabh Pant with a heavily strapped arm while Ravindra Jadeja suffered a dislocated thumb.

While there is some chance Pant will be able to bat again if required, it is unlikely Jadeja will feature any further in the series.

But it could have been an entirely different story for India on Sunday.

Hanuma Virahi dropped Marnus Labuschagne on the second ball of the day on 47, with what was an absolute sitter.

By the time Labuschagne went for 73 when he gloved one from Saini down the legside, Australia’s lead was 232 after a 103-run stand with Smith.

Matthew Wade was out cheaply again, for just four, although unlike the first innings it was a case of good bowling rather than poor batting.

Wade’s 12th-straight score of less than 50 came when one from Saini angled in at him and bounced more than he expected, taking his edge on the way through to Wriddhiman Saha.

Cameron Green (20no) was able to get through the lunch safely with Smith, confirming Australia’s dominant position.

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