While Indian batsmen played well in the first two sessions of Day 2, Nathan Lyon dominated the final session on Sunday, picking up four wickets, to bring Australia back in the game. India still trail by 52 runs in the first innings of the fourth Test in Dharamsala.
KL Rahul (60, 124b, 9x4, 1x6), Cheteshwar Pujara (57, 151b, 4x6) and Ajinkya Rahane (46, 104b, 7x4, 1x6) got off to decent starts, but could not convert them into big scores. Australian bowlers deserved credit for their tight bowling from both ends, making run-scoring difficult through the day for India, especially in the first two sessions.
With India having only lost two wickets in the first two sessions, the home team looked confident of putting up a good show in the final session, but Lyon had other plans. The off-spinner took the all-important wicket of Pujara, first over after tea.
Lyon looked a huge threat as he began to bowl a tight line and length, and also got decent purchase from the track. Karun Nair lost his wicket soon and Australia were back on the game.
Though Rahane and Ravichandran Ashwin played their shots, Lyon dismissed the Indian captain and the Tamil Nadu man to silence the home crowd.
However, the spectators in Dharamsala were given some good reasons to cheer with Ravindra Jadeja hitting some maximums off the Australian spinners, prompting Steve Smith to take the new ball. India survived the second new ball without losing a wicket.
Earlier in the first two sessions:
India had compiled 153 runs for the loss of two wickets. Rahul, who has been one of the most consistent players for India in this Test series, looked solid in the first session, and the right-hander looked dangerous in the second session too, before miscuing a Pat Cummins' bouncer. Rahul scored a wonderful 124-ball 60, studded with nine fours and one six.
Cummins peppered Indian batsmen with bouncers, and Rahane did not shy away from pulling out the hook shots against Cummins. He even top edged one for a six, and smoked another to the boundary. Meanwhile, Pujara continued his impressive form, scoring at a decent rate, and the in-form batsman was not troubled much by the Australian bowlers, who were desperate to dismiss last match's double centurion.
The match is evenly poised with India still trailing by 52 runs. The third day of the Test match is going to be crucial with India keen to bat as long as possible to take first innings lead while Australia will be looking to bundle out the home team quickly.
Scores: First innings: Australia: 300 all out in 88.3 overs.
India: 248/6 in 91 overs, trail by 52 runs.
Overnight score:0/0 in 1 over.
Batting in the middle: Wriddhiman Saha (10, 43b, 1x4), Ravindra Jadeja (16, 23b, 2x6)
Bowling: First innings: Australia: Josh Hazlewood 18-6-40-1; Pat Cummins 21-5-59-1; Nathan Lyon 28-5-67-4; Steve O'Keefe 24-4-69-0;
Fall of wickets: First innings: India: 21/1, Vijay (10.2 overs); 108/2, KL Rahul (40.2 overs); 157/3 Pujara (60.6 overs), 167/4, Nair (64.4 overs), 216/5, Rahane, (78.6 overs), 221/6, Ashwin (82.1 overs)
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