Match report: Ind vs Aus – 2nd Test, Day 3
Australia trailed by 192 runs with eight wickets in hand at the end of Day 3 in the second Test at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium. Although their middle and lower order crumbled, India finished with a sizeable 266-run first-innings lead thanks to Cheteshwar Pujara (204) and Murali Vijay’s (167) marathon innings. And with Ravichandran Ashwin striking in the last session, Australia were 74 for two with Ed Cowan and Shane Watson at the crease when stumps were called.
Earlier, Vijay and Pujara took India to 387, before the former was dismissed. The Indian opener who reached the 150 mark for the first time in Test cricket was caught at backward short-leg by Ed Cowan to give Glenn Maxwell is first Test wicket. And six runs after the mammoth 370-run partnership was broken, Pujara followed him back to the hut. India’s No.3 bat, who had reached his second double-hundred with a boundary in the previous over, hooked a James Pattinson bouncer and was caught by Xavier Doherty. Pujara playing in only his 11th Test reached the 1000-run mark today. Virat Kohli who replaced him in the middle got off the mark with a drive to the fence and completed his 1000 runs as well. Having lost two key wickets just before lunch, India finished the session at 400 for three.
Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli resumed the second session with India in a commanding position. But fortunes turned for the Australians as they ran through the rest of the line-up with precision. India lost seven wickets for 103 runs. The Australian spinners helped halt the Indian innings at 503.
Pattinson set the tone for the session by giving Australia a crucial breakthrough in the form of Tendulkar. The pacer’s delivery took the edge of Tendulkar’s bat down leg side and was taken safely by Matthew Wade behind the stumps. And though, MS Dhoni, who then joined Kohli in the middle, took on the bowlers, he lasted only 43 balls. The Indian skipper who hit Doherty for three consecutive boundaries was caught by at mid-off by Xavier Doherty off Glenn Maxwell for 44. Ravindra Jadeja then returned after contributing just ten runs to the total. And a run later, Ravichandran Ashwin was removed by Doherty – caught at gully by Phillip Hughes. Harbhajan Singh was the left-arm spinner’s next scalp. Then, an excellent single-handed catch by Cowan while diving to his left at backward short-leg saw the back of Kohli and gave debutant Maxwell his fourth wicket. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ishant Sharma then took India past 500 and added 12 runs for the last wicket, before the former was stumped off Doherty to end the Indian innings.
Taking guard in the last session, both Australian openers survived half-chances as the Indian bowlers, particularly Bhuvneshwar Kumar, hit the deck hard. David Warner was the first to be sent back. The explosive opener, who had hit Ashwin for three boundaries in the bowler’s first over, lost his leg-stump to the off-spinner for 26 while trying to sweep. Hughes, who replaced him, was bowled in a similar fashion by Ashwin for naught, leaving Australia on 56 for two. Shane Watson joined Ed Cowan in the middle – the duo was still at the crease when stumps were called.
At the end of Day 3: India 1st innings 503 all out in 154.1 overs (C Pujara 204, M Vijay 167, MS Dhoni 44, G Maxwell 4/127, X Doherty 3/131); Australia 2nd innings 74/2 in 32 overs (Ed Cowan 26*, S Watson 9*, R Ashwin 2/42)
At the end of Day 2: India 1st innings 311/1 in 93 overs (M Vijay 129*, C Pujara 162*)
At the end of Day 1: Australia 1st innings 237/9 decl. in 85 overs (M Clarke 95, M Wade 67, R Jadeja 3/33, B Kumar 3/53); India 1st innings 5/0 in 3 overs (M Vijay 0*, V Sehwag 4*)