Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara toil to give India lead

Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara toil to give India lead

They are playing the spinners, as well as the pacer easily and Australia desperately need a wicket to get back into the game. The Australians, on their part, needed to bide time and rotate the strike in order to extend their lead. They were involved in a 93-run partnership for the fifth wicket and that kept India afloat. Jadeja was instrumental in cleaning the Aussie tail. "When Jadeja was bowling there wasn't enough help from the centre of the wicket". This was right after Ashwin had removed Starc, with Jadeja taking a sharp catch near the boundary ropes.

Jadeja finished with the figures of six for 63, including three from the second day.

Josh Hazlewood dismissed India opener Abhinav Mukund just after lunch, following a good start by the hosts.

Nathan Lyon, who started his spell on a hat-trick following his haul of 8-50 in the first innings, went within centimetres of clean bowling Mukund on 15 with a ball that didn't turn.

With India leading by 126 runs with six second innings wickets in hand, Bangar said the game was in balance. It was truly a one-handed blinder by the visiting captain.

Jadeja having been promoted ahead of Rahane and Wriddhiman Saha could only survive 12 deliveries, with Hazlewood cleaning him up.

The pair rotated the strike easily and their 50-partnership came up off 110 balls. In actual fact, I have a feeling that 45 minutes of big hitting by Mitchell Starc could put India out of the game and with it, the series.

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After India were bundled out for 189 on Day 1, the spin duo of R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja together with the seamers struggled to provide the hosts wickets on regular intervals.

Mukund's first Test in nearly six years ended on a sorry note as his off-stump was uprooted for 16 following a first- innings duck. He played both Lyon and Steve O'Keefe like he was batting at the nets. He also completed 1000 Test runs in the 2016-17 season, second after Virat Kohli.

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 nearly simultaneously. However, Kohli and freakish dismissals have a love and hate relationship this series and he copped another tough end.

All Hazlewood's wickets on Monday came when he attacked the stumps.

And Pujara admitted that the bowlers did a pretty well job, adding that his side will now look to bowl out Australia inside 300.

"After looking at the reviews (of Kohli's dismissal), you could see the ball just touching the pad before the bat". With no Hot Spot technology available, it was even tougher to decide.

Devarchit Varma is senior writer with CricketCountry.