Ranchi: Australia captain Steve Smith struck a cultured unbeaten century on Thursday to steer Australia to 299 for four wickets on the opening day of the third test against India at the Jharkhand State Cricket Association (JSCA), Ranchi on Thursday.
Smith's 117 not out is only the second century of the spin-dominated series -- following his 109 in the first test in Pune -- as the 27-year-old joined the 5000-run club in his 53rd test.
Glenn Maxwell celebrated his return to test cricket with a career-best 82 not out, his burgeoning partnership with Smith already worth 159 runs.
Home captain Virat Kohli injured his shoulder while diving to save a boundary in the 40th over and missed the rest of the day's play.
Earlier, Smith won an important toss and had little hesitation in batting first, something of a ritual on India's low-bounce tracks, and Matt Renshaw led their brisk scoring with his boundary binge.
The tourists cruised to the 50-run mark in the 10th over.
Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja got the breakthrough in his first over when David Warner slapped a juicy full toss back to the bowler to depart for 19.
Renshaw looked good for his third fifty in the series before edging Umesh Yadav in the slip having played and survived an identical shot on the previous delivery. Renshaw's fluent 44 included seven elegant boundaries.
Australia were reeling at 89 for three when Smith and Peter Handscomb (19), protagonists of the review controversy in Bengaluru, joined forces for a half-century stand.
Yadav trapped Handscomb (19) lbw with an inswinging yorker but Smith found an able partner in Maxwell, who shunned his natural aggression, and played judiciously to justify his selection replacing the injured Mitchell Marsh.
Australia - 299 for 4 (Smith 117*, Maxwell 82*, Yadav 2-63)