Sport Cricket India v Australia: Hosts fight back on dramatic day in Bangalore

India v Australia: Hosts fight back on dramatic day in Bangalore

Steve Smith takes a classic catch off the bowling of Steve O'Keefe. Photo: FoxSports
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India has fought back admirably in Bangalore to build a 126-run lead and put the pressure back on Australia in a fascinating second Test.

The hosts finished the day on 4-213, with not-out batsmen Cheteshwar Pujara (79) and Ajinkya Rahane (40) in a position to turn the lead into a decisive one on day four.

Monday loomed as a critical day in this Test match and that was just how it panned out. Momentum went India’s way early before Australia took charge with a flurry of key wickets.

Pujara and Rahane’s composed and risk-free batting in the final session saw India push its advantage past 100. Their partnership grew to 93 by the close of play in the only session of this series so far not to yield a wicket.

Australia will already be slightly nervous about chasing this total in the fourth innings.

Kohli and Smith at the centre of the action

Captains Steve Smith and Virat Kohli were involved in the two most memorable moments of the day.

The Australian produced one of his now-trademark screamers at first slip, flinging himself backwards and to his right and clutching the flying ball in his paw to dismiss Lokesh Rahul off the bowling of Steve O’Keefe.

Meanwhile, Kohli’s run of poor form (or bad luck, depending on who you talk to) continued, as he was adjudged out LBW on 15 to a ball which appeared to hit his pad and bat almost simultaneously.

It was a potentially match-turning moment, and TV umpire Richard Kettleborough took his time deciding he could find no evidence to overrule the on-field decision, which was out.

Australia began the day on 6-237 with hopes of building a crippling lead, but things did not pan out that way, mainly thanks to an on-fire Ravindra Jadeja.

The overnight batsmen, Matthew Wade (40) and Mitchell Starc (26), looked to attack from the outset, but Starc soon fell to Ravichandran Ashwin thanks to a superb outfield catch from Jadeja.

Wade, looking to shake his reputation as a slogger who lacks patience in the Test arena, put together a fine knock in trying circumstances. He was eventually undone by Jadeja, falling to an LBW decision, and Australia’s innings was not long for this world.

The spinner cleaned up Lyon next ball, before icing the innings by dismissing Josh Hazlewood for 1.

Australia had eked out 276 to earn a lead of 87. Jadeja, who many claimed had been under-bowled thus far in the series, finished with figures of 6-63.

Jadeja celebrates the wicket of Wade
Jadeja was given his first extended spell of the series and it paid dividends for India. Photo: AP

India recovers from early losses

If the hosts were intimidated by the deficit, they did not show it early on. Openers Rahul (51) and Abhinav Mukund (16) put on a rapid 39 before Mukund was clean bowled by a belter of a delivery from Hazlewood.

That brought Pujara to the crease who, like Rahul, showed no signs of pressure as he built a fine half-century. His main partner in crime was Rahane, who came in after Jadeja (2) was pushed up the order for a brief cameo.

They came together at 4-120 and their side leading by just 33 runs, but managed to take the sting out of the Australian attack, on a pitch which had lost much of its zing, and see out the day relatively comfortably, perhaps swinging the match in India’s favour for the first time.

Cheteshwar Pujara
Cheteshwar Pujara showed few signs of giving up his wicket. Photo: AP


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