Led by a half century from skipper Ajinkya Rahane (53*) and a counterattack from Rishabh Pant (29), India took charge in the second session of Day Two in the second Test at Melbourne Cricket Ground. At an early tea forced by light showers, India are 189/5, trailing by six runs.
India showed urgency to score runs after lunch but lost two wickets after the fifty-run stands. Vihari, who looked good for his 21, fell to Nathan Lyon after gloving to sweep to the slip. The extra bounce beat Vihari.
Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant add 57 for fifth wicket
Pant’s entry to the crease meant Australia were bowling to a left-hander for the first time in the series. The southpaw looked at ease and immediately put the Australian bowlers under pressure by getting boundaries at every opportunity.
Cummins, who had bowled an eight-over spell in the first session for 12 runs, was plundered for that many off an over by Pant.
Flowing drives to cuts and pull, Pant looked dangerous and survived a chance after Chris Green dropped him off Cummins at gully.
Pant’s presence helped Rahane bat more positively, who brought up his 23rd Test fifty.
Mitchell Starc provided Australia with the crucial breakthrough in the second over of the comeback spell. Looking to slash through point, Pant got a faint bottom-edge to Paine, handing the keeper his 150th dismissal and Starc his 250th Test wicket.
Starc is now the ninth bowler to enter the 250-club for Australia. He is nine wickets behind Jason Gillespie’s tally.
Meanwhile, Pant also registered his eighth consecutive score of over 25 in Australia. No visiting player has registered more than eight 25+ successive scores in Australia. The only ones to do it are Wally Hammond (England), Rusi Surti (India) and Viv Richards (West Indies.)
Earlier, the first session of the day belonged to Australia with Cummins removing the overnight batters Shubman Gill and Cheteshwar Pujara.
Australia 195 (Marnus Labuschagne 48, Travis Head 38; Jasprit Bumrah 4 for 56, Ravichandran Ashwin 3 for 35, Mohammad Siraj 2 for 40)
India 189 for 5 (Shubman Gill 45, Ajinkya Rahane 53*, Rishabh Pant 29; Pat Cummins 2 for 51)