India came back to catch up with the bat after Day 1 on 96-2. Ajinkya Rahane unable to build on from his 2nd Test heroics. When he picked the wrong shot as well as the jump. And chopped into off stump thanks to Pat Cummins on 22.
Australia did not take long to pick up another early scalp. Hanuma Vihari unable to get back to his crease. Credit to Josh Hazlewood with the brilliant throw towards the stumps. As Vihari has to go for just 4. But India took the other half of the lions share this morning. Cheteshwar Pujara hung on at 42. While Rishabh Pant fired off with the runs quickly as usual.
India are 180-4 at lunch & trails by 158 runs. But they are unable to catch up the run trail threshold. Even though the away side avoided the follow on rule. Rishabh basically reached out for the edge when David Warner catched at slip. So he was out for 29. Pujara aka Steve may have reached his 50. But got immediately grounded by Pat Cummins for the 4th time in this series. Followed by another Cummins effort on the run against Ravi Ashwin. Before Australia cleared the remaining India batting card on 244. And fallen short by 94 runs to meet the 338 run target. As tea is taken straight away.
India did not have problems removing both Australian openers early. When Will Pucovski did not give himself room on the back foot. Used a good ball from Navdeep Saini. And it carried to Rishabh’s Pant gloves. Before they continued to capitalised the faults on Dave Warner. He was rushed back to play with the painful groin. Seems his footwork looked unbalanced to trigger the loft at the wrong time. That helped Ashwin secure the LBW.
But the away side have plenty of trouble against Marnus Labuschagne. And Steve Smith for the rest of this afternoon. Both men remained vigilant when the ball came to him. And punched these shots down low with runs on the board. This approach helped them secure the 50 run stand together. Before both sides paused for the rest of tonight. Australia will resume tomorrow AM at 103-2 and leads by 197.
India will be back in contention to win the 3rd Test. But only if they can get at least both Marnus and Smith out. I mean immediately after overnight. It will otherwise be a tough day bowling to the strengths they can both handle. And that will not be as easy target to respond. Must get the fire under their belly. Before the good balls/limiting runs will do them good.
Australia on the other hand are brilliant with the ball. Not only the seamers can do magic when it comes to bowling. But they can also field/throw as well. Especially with the run out efforts both Hazlewood & Cummins made earlier on. While they need Smith & Marnus to stay on. A close 200 run lead may not be enough. But if you add both 50s & 100s. It will be up for the middle order to salvage it. I would say another 100-150 to top up. Then make a declaration to try and finish the 3rd Test.