A basilisk has a hardy pool of HP and can force players to save-or-die constantly. For a party of low-level adventurers, going purely by CR, one should be a normal-ish challenge, but I don't know how said players could ever deal with the save-or-die mechanic of being turned to stone.
Compared to other CR 3 challenges, or even simply other encounter-xp-pool-appropriate challenges, having a save-or-die mechanic (even one with loopholes if the party knows what they are doing) seems harsh.
I am DM-ing for a party of 5 level 3 adventurers. Compared to other challenges I've thrown at them according to the DMG one basilisk should be in the easy-medium range, but I can't stop imagining at least one of the PCs getting more or less permanently removed from the game based on two bad die rolls.
So why is the basilisk's CR so low when it could potentially insta-kill PCs (and the 'cure' is something that they wouldn't have easy access to at the level where a basilisk is a challenge), and how does it compare to other similar-level challenges?