India lost skipper Rohit Sharma in the first over after tea break but all-rounders Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel completed superb half-centuries to help the hosts reach 321/7 at stumps on the second day of the first Test of the four-match Border-Gavaskar Trophy series, here on Friday.
At the close of play, Jadeja was batting on 66 while Axar Patel was keeping him company with 52 runs as India took 144 runs lead with three wickets in hand and three days to play.
The duo added 81 runs for the unbeaten eighth-wicket partnership which has really put India in the driver’s seat in this match. Todd Murphy claimed a maiden five-wicket haul on debut but Australia will rue five chances they dropped in the Indian innings, which could have made things quite different from what they are now.
Resuming after the tea break with India 226/5 in 80 overs, Australia promptly took the new ball and Pat Cummins started the proceedings and struck off the fourth ball. Rohit Sharma, who struck his ninth Test century and second at this ground to end a drought extending since September 2021, was the sixth Indian batsman to get out.
Sharma had survived a chance when Steve Smith put down a sharp but catchable chance at the second slip. But Cummins had the last laugh as he Sent Rohit’s off-stump cartwheeling with one that came in to avoid the edge and went through the gate. That ended the Indian captain’s majestic innings, out for 120 off 212 balls. He struck 15 boundaries and two sixes, helping India gain an advantage by taking the first-innings lead.
However, India were down to 229/6 and had a small lead of 52 runs with Jadeja the lone recognised batter in the middle.
But Jadeja played sensibly and despite losing debutant K.S Bharat (8) with the score 240/7 in the 84th over, the all-all-rounder from Saurashtra, who had claimed 5-47 in Australia’s first innings, found an able partner in Axar Patel as they extended India’s lead.
He and Rohit had raised 61 runs for the seventh wicket partnership, both playing cautiously and surviving a couple of close calls each.
Jadeja completed his half-century off 114 balls, hitting seven fours as he and Axar Patel took India’s lead past 100 runs, setting them up on course for a big lead.
At stumps, Day 2: Australia 177 v India 321/7 in 114 overs (Rohit Sharma 120, Ravindra Jadeja batting 66, Axar Patel batting 52; Todd Murphy 5-82). India lead by 144 runs.