Australia dominated the first half of day two at Ranchi, continuing from where they left off at Ranchi. Steven Smith remained unconquered till the end, on an epic 178, as Australia finished on an imposing 451.
Smith’s knock made him the first Aussie and fifth visiting captain to come up with a 150 plus score in India. Things could have been worse for India had left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja not come up with a five-wicket haul, the eighth of his Test career. India finished the day on 120 for 1, courtesy another fifty by Lokesh Rahul, but they still trail by 331.
Jadeja finished with 5/124, as Smith fell short of a double hundred by 22 runs. At the other end, Glenn Maxwell ended up notching his maiden Test century, making him only the second Australian batsman after Shane Watson to hit a century in all three formats. Smith and Maxwell added 191 for the fifth wicket.
The partnership was finally broken when Maxwell nicked Jadeja to Wriddhiman Saha. Smith continued to find the boundaries as the runs flowed for him. He added 64 with Matthew Wade. Steve O' Keefe further frustrated India with 25 off 71 balls. The innings finally ended with Josh Hazlewood’s run-out.
Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins made life tough for the Indian openers early on. But, once Rahul settled in, the fours came for him, and he dominated the opening partnership. Murali Vijay was happy playing second fiddle, as he often does. Rahul went on to notch his fourth half-century of the series. He pushed, drove and flicked with ease.
He would disappointed to not carry on as a Cummins slower bouncer did him in. Vijay, playing his 50th Test, batted with caution and remained unbeaten on 42 from 112 balls. For a change, O’Keefe and Nathan Lyon hardly troubled the Indian batsmen.
--By A Cricket Correspondent