The MCG produced another day of attritional, dogged cricket as India and Australia fought to assert dominance on the second day of the third test in Melbourne. The hosts managed to declare at 443/7, and Australia managed to see through a few tricky late overs without losing a wicket.
Resuming overnight at 215/2, Indian skipper Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara continued from where they had left off on the first day, slowly accumulating runs as the visitors went through the first session cautiously.
Kohli brought up his half century while Pujara went on to make his second century of the series as they attempted to frustrate the Australians into submission. Having emerged with nothing from the first session of play, the Aussies attempted to unsettle the Indians with a short ball strategy, and it paid off as Pujara took a few blows to his fingers and Kohli eventually holed out to third man while attempting to counter it with some aggressive shots of his own.
After a couple of overs, Pujara too followed Kohli back to the pavillion as a ball from Pat Cummins kept low and sneaked through his defence.
With both settled batsmen out in quick succession, India needed a partnership to settle things and it was provided by Vice-Captain Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma. The Aussie bowlers bowled their heart out, but without any success, and Rahane and Sharma, like Kohli and Pujara before them, continued to adopt the slow strangulation technique.
Sharma was given a life when substitute Peter Siddle dropped an absolute sitter off the bowling of Nathan Lyon. There was a reprieve for Rahane too, with short leg not alert enough to a potential opportunity.
Lyon however did get Rahane, but Sharma took full advantage of his life, compiling a much needed half century as Rishabh Pant and he took the score beyond 400.
In an attempt to quicken the rate of scoring, Pant played a wild shot which saw him out for 39. Jadeja went it for it from ball one, having clearly been given instructions but he managed to score only 4 before being caught behind, and with his wicket, Kohli called his troops in.
Having in the field for the better part of two days, the Australians were given the tricky task of negotiating about half an hour, which they managed to.
However the pitch did show some signs of wearing, and the well rested Indian quicks will be hoping to make inroads into the hosts’ batting on Day 3.
India at Stumps on Day 2- 443/7- Cheteshwar Pujara 106, Virat Kohli 82 and Rohit Sharma 63* Cummins 3/72, Mitchell Starc 2/87). Australia 8/0
This post has been contributed by Shashi Kumar, editing done by The Cricket Blog.