Dharamsala: An inspired spell of spin bowling from Nathan Lyon has put Australia into a strong position to take a first-innings lead after a captivating day of Test cricket in the deciding Border-Gavaskar Series match in Dharamsala on Sunday.¬†
India were 248 for six at stumps on the second day, still 52 runs behind Australia's first innings total with wicketkeeper Wriddiham Saha (10) and bowler Ravi Jadeja (16) at the crease.
India had frustrated Australia's bowlers with a patient approach, reaching tea at 153 for two. That quickly became 167 for four with Lyon removing the dangerous and well-set Cheteshwar Pujara in last ball of the fist over after tea for 57, and quickly adding new batsman Karun Nair for five.
The first wicket was courtesy of a sharp diving catch by Peter Handscomb in close, while Nair went in similar fashion, popping a catch off the glove that was easily caught by Wade.
Bowling an extended spell, Lyon then claimed another pair of quick wickets, removing India skipper Ajinkya Rahane for 46 thanks to a sharp catch by Steve Smith at slip, while Ravi Ashwin was given out leg before, and failed to have it overturned on review as the hosts slumped to 221 for six.
Before tea, it had been tough going for the Australian bowlers who remained disciplined to dry up the runs in the absence of wickets. Pat Cummins unleased a fiery short-pitched assault and Josh Hazlewood was at his metronomic best but India's batsmen were stubbornly obdurate to keep the Test in a delicate balance.
Cummins cranked up the pace to the high 140kph range, and was rewarded when KL Rahul was suckered into attempting a pull shot for the second-session wicket. A miscue off the toe end of the bat popped a simple catch to David Warner, ending the opener's stay on 60 from 124 balls.
It broke an 87-run stand for the second wicket between Rahul and Pujara.
Earlier, Josh Hazlewood had scored the early breakthrough for the visitors, who only need a draw to retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy with the series currently tied at 1-1.
Australia - 300 (Smith 111, Made 57, Warner 56, Kuldeep 4-68)
India - 248 for 6 (Rahul 60, Pujara 57, Lyon 4-67)
Status - India trail by 52 runs