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Vijay falls at lunch, India reach 193-2

By Amlan Chakraborty

RANCHI, India (Reuters) - Opener Murali Vijay made 82 before throwing his wicket away at the stroke of lunch as India reached 193 for two on day three of the third test against Australia on Saturday.

Playing his 50th test, the opener survived a bat-pad catch when on 58 but could not capitalise on it and jumped out in the final over before lunch to a Steve O'Keefe delivery only to be stumped by an alert Matthew Wade.

Cheteshwar Pujara, Vijay's partner in the 102-run partnership for the second wicket, was batting on 40 at the Jharkhand State Cricket Association Stadium hosting its first test match.

India are still 258 behind Australia's first innings total of 451 but would be buoyant as home skipper Virat Kohli was padded up and ready to bat after leaving the field with a shoulder injury on Thursday.

Resuming the day on 120 for one, Vijay and Pujara faced little trouble negotiating the Australian bowlers.

They saw through a hostile spell by Pat Cummins, who sent down three consecutive maiden overs, and were more comfortable against the slow bowlers.

Playing his 50th test, Vijay launched O'Keefe over the long-on boundary for a six and took a single off the left-arm spinner to reach his fifty.

Desperate for a breakthrough, Australia captain Steve Smith reviewed when O'Keefe's leg-before appeal against Pujara was rejected but could not get the decision overturned as it involved an inside edge.

Bowling the next over, Nathan Lyon had Vijay caught at short leg but umpire Ian Gould did not spot the faint edge before the ball hit the pad and ballooned up. Australia could do nothing about it having exhausted both their reviews by then.

Vijay, who raised 91 runs with fellow opener Lokesh Rahul, also hit 10 boundaries as he and Pujara led India's strong reply before the rush of blood did him in.

The four-test series is levelled 1-1 with Dharamsala hosting the final match from March 25.

(Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

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