India reach 86/2 at tea; stretch lead to 101 runs
Adelaide, Dec 8 (CRICKETNMORE): India lost both openers after a steady start to reach 86/2 and stretch their second innings to 101 runs over Australia at tea on Day 3 of the opening Test at the Adelaide Oval here on Saturday.
At the breather, Cheteshwar Pujara (11 not out) and skipper Virat Kohli (2 not out) went back undefeated after the fall of the opening duo of Murali Vijay (18) and Lokesh Rahul (44).
After gaining a slender 15-run first innings lead, Vijay and Rahul gave the visitors a slow-but-steady 63-run start and more importantly denied the home pacers any early inroads on a rain-affected day.
Despite the initial run-rate going at just over 1 run per over, both Vijay and Rahul didn't attempt any silly shots and played the ball to its merit, until Rahul broke the shackles with a boundary by the 10th over.
The Bengaluru right-hander continued the onslaught by dispatching Pat Cummins for a massive six and a couple of boundaries even as Vijay struggled to find his feet properly.
The partnership soon flourished past the 50-run mark before left-armer Mitchell Starc got Vijay to drive a wide delivery outside the off-stump, only to find a thick edge that landed on the hands of Peter Handscomb at second slip.
The fall of Vijay brought in the first innings centurion Pujara, who started off in his trademark fashion before getting a life on 8 when a DRS review saved him of a caught behind chance from off-spinner Nathan Lyon.
Rahul, on the other hand, failed to cash on the reprieve he got early in his innings, before being dismissed caught behind off Josh Hazlewood.
With just an over to go for the tea break, skipper Kohli joined Pujara in the middle, and the duo saw the team to safety before heading to the dressing room.
Earlier, in the truncated first session, Australia resumed the day at 191/7 but pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami soon cleaned up the remaining three wickets with the addition of just 44 runs to the overnight score.
Travis Head top-scored for the hosts with a gritty 72 before Shami struck twice consecutively to hand India a psychological 15-run edge.
Brief Scores: India 250 & 86/2 (Lokesh Rahul 44, Murali Vijay 18, Mitchell Starc 1/11, Josh Hazlewood 1/18) vs Australia 235 (Travis Head 72, Peter Handscomb 34; Jasprit Bumrah 3/47, Ravichandran Ashwin 3/57).