At a stage of the second Test where India had been rolled over for less than 200 on what was once considered the country’s premier batting deck, and Australia had laboured more than a day to nose past them, Pujara had many less-travelled scribes wondering if “post-truth” had taken root on the subcontinent. Ravindra Jadeja, who had under-bowled on Day Two, eventually went on to take bulk of the wickets and bagged his third six-wicket haul.
Australia is 1-0 up in the series.
Despite Abhinav Mukund getting castled by Josh Hazlewood right after the lunch interval, which could well bury his Test hopes for the time being, Rahul kept the runs flowing from the other end, forging a 45-run second wicket stand with Pujara while notching up his second fifty in his maiden Test on home ground.
Hazlewood trapped Kohli leg before wicket for 15 on a shooting inswinger and a review did not help the star batsman as he walked back to a stunned silence at Bangalore’s M Chinnaswamy Stadium. However, the Hawkeye projection showed the ball would have gone on to hit the stumps.
The pair were far from comfortable but the gods of cricket were on their side as edges flew wide of fielders and bat-pads looped up into no-man’s land. Pujara (79) and Ajinkya Rahane (40) were at the crease. India now trail by 49 runs with all ten wickets remaining.
India’s leading scorer on day one, K. L. Rahul, believes his team’s spinners can be effective on the second day, as the pitch, he says, is getting more hard to bat.
Jadeja, however, emerged the hero in the morning session, returning with figures of 6/63 with his left arm spin to help India bundle the visitors for 276.
At Stumps on Day 3, India were 213 for four, leading Australia by 126 runs. Rahul struck four boundaries in his 85 ball essay and looked good for a bigger effort before Australian captain pulled of a stunning catch. But Starc called for a DRS review and the decision was reversed. They survived Australia’s new-ball attack and added 38 runs for the first wicket. After all, they are professional cricketers and they have to take the packed itinerary in their stride and put their best foot forward day in and day out. He was on a hat-trick before the last named thwarted it. Ashwin accounted for Mitchell Marsh (24) caught well at mid-wicket by Jadeja at mid-wicket. This has been the first session of this series where a team has not lost a single wicket.
Australia was minimized to a mere 87 runs lead but these extra runs would have troubled India if the team showed similar to first innings intent.