Bengaluru, March 5 (IANS) Gritty half-centuries by Matt Renshaw and Shaun Marsh enabled Australia to post 237/6 in their first innings on the second day of the ongoing second cricket Test against India at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Sunday.
Marsh was the highest scorer among the visitors with 66 runs off 197 balls while Renshaw, who did well to survive a difficult morning session, posted 60.
The duo waged a grim battle on a difficult pitch against some excellent bowling by the Indians to help Australia open up a 48-run lead by the end of the day's play. The hosts were dismissed for 189 runs in their first innings on the opening day.
At stumps, Matthew Wade and Mitchell Starc were batting on 25 and 14, respectively.
Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja was the most successful among the Indian bowlers with figures of 3/49. Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma and Ravichandran Ashwin took one wicket each.
"It was a really good day for us. The challenge was to bat all day, and we did that. India's fast bowlers bowled well, and didn't give us much. It was a hard grind," Renshaw said after the close of the day's play.
"We did a lot of work coming into the series, and it has paid off. Hopefully, we can have two more good days and retain the trophy. We would like to chase as little as possible in the fourth innings."
Starting the day at the overnight score of 40 for no loss, Australia struggled to score runs in the morning session.
The visitors suffered their first blow early on when Ashwin landed a delivery right into the rough just outside David Warner's leg stump.
The ball spun viciously and went on to crash into the off stump. Warner was completely outfoxed and could only manage a feeble attempt to block the ball on the backfoot.
Australia captain Steve Smith joined Renshaw in the middle and the duo struggled for runs as the Indians bowled superbly.
Umesh bowled a longish spell of eight overs, producing pace, swing and movement off the pitch which both Australian batsmen found difficult to deal with.
However, Smith and Renshaw did well to defend stoutly and looked to have done enough to pull through to the lunch break without losing another wicket when the former was caught behind off Jadeja's bowling a short while before the end of the morning session.
Smith faced 52 deliveries for his eight runs.
The first session saw the visitors score just 47 runs in 29 overs.
The visitors continued to struggle for runs after lunch also as Renshaw and Shaun Marsh were involved in a 52-run partnership.
Renshaw was dismissed a short while after completing his half-century when he was stumped off Jadeja's bowling. He faced 196 balls for his 60 runs which included five boundaries and a six.
Peter Handscomb joined Marsh in the middle and the duo added just 26 runs between them before the former was caught by Ashwin at midwicket off Jadeja's bowling.
Sharma then trapped Mitchell Marsh leg before with the last ball before tea to round off an excellent post-lunch session for the hosts.
However, Shaun Marsh and Wade, in a 57-run partnership, frustrated the Indian bowlers in the final session of the day.
Marsh's gritty innings finally came to an end a few overs before the close when he clipped an Umesh delivery to Karun Nair at short midwicket.