Bangalore - Batsman Cheteshwar Pujara hit an unbeaten half-century to
lead India's spirited fightback against Australia on the third day of a
gripping second Test in Bangalore on Monday.
The hosts were 213 for four at stumps, leading Australia by
126 runs in their second innings after the tourists' hopes of building a big
lead were undermined by an outstanding bowling performance by Ravindra Jadeja.
Pujara on 79 and Ajinkya Rahane on 40 were batting at close
The duo put together a stubborn 93-run partnership for the
fifth wicket to lift India from a wobbly 120-4 at Bangalore's M Chinnaswamy
Pujara led the way with his controlled knock as he kept a
persistent Australian attack at bay, prompting skipper Steve Smith to rotate
his bowling options.
Rahane was equally persistent in his resolve to give the
visitors a daunting fourth innings chase as he hardly played a loose shot
during his 105-ball stay.
The 29-year-old Pujara, who recorded his 14th Test fifty in
his 46th Test, capitalised on a dropped chance by Smith at first slip off
Nathan Lyon when he was on four.
Off-spinner Lyon, who had grabbed a career-best Test haul of
8-50 in the first innings, went wicket less on a day when Indian spinner Jadeja
claimed six wickets.
It was Australian seamer Josh Hazlewood who rattled the
Indian top-order with his three wickets, including the prized scalp of skipper
Virat Kohli in the afternoon session.
Hazlewood trapped Kohli lbw 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.
India's move to promote all-rounder Jadeja in the batting
order also backfired when the left-hander was bowled by Hazlewood for two to
leave the hosts reeling at tea.
India's trouble started when opener Lokesh Rahul fell to
left-arm spinner Steve O'Keefe after hitting a dominant 51 and handing India a
Rahul, who top-scored with 90 in India's first innings, put
on 45 with Pujara after Abhinav Mukund (16) was bowled by Hazlewood early in
the lunch session.
O'Keefe lured Rahul into a drive outside off stump and a
diving Smith took a brilliant one-handed catch at first slip.
In the morning session, left-arm spinner Jadeja returned
with figures of 6-63 to help dismiss Australia for 276 in their first innings,
a lead of 87.
Australia lead the four-match series 1-0 after humbling the
hosts in the first match in Pune.