A gritty 48 from Marnus Labuschagne kept Australia alive in the second Test Saturday versus a fired-up India who went to tea in charge after some fine bowling on a fascinating opening day in Melbourne.
Batting after captain Tim Paine won the toss, the hosts were 136 for five at the break in front of some 30,000 socially-distanced fans, the maximum allowed at the 100,000-capacity Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Cameron Green was on six and Paine had yet to rating after some first-class bowling led by Jasprit Bumrah (2-24) and Ravi Ashwin (2-25) on a wicket offering turn and bounce.
After their horror program in the first Test at Adelaide, where they lost by 8 wickets and were skittled for 36 in their 2nd innings, India were desperate to begin well in Melbourne.
India took 3 wickets in the first session of the 2nd Test versus Australia AFP/ William WEST
And with Ajinkya Rahane captaining the side in location of Virat Kohli, who has returned house for the birth of his first child, they did simply that with the wickets of Joe Burns (0) Matthew Wade (30) and Steve Smith (0) before lunch.
It left Australia in big trouble however Labuschagne rode his luck, making it through two evaluation choices, to lead the healing, putting on 86 with Travis Head (38) to consistent the ship.
After going to lunch at 65 for 3, the runs started streaming more freely in the 2nd session when debutant Mohammed Siraj was brought into the attack.
Head had a worried start however calmed down and grew in self-confidence, striking 4 borders before Bumrah attracted an edge which carried to Rahane at gully.
Marnus Labuschagne led the fightback for Australia AFP/ William WEST
Labuschagne looked set for a ninth half-century but a brilliant catch by Shubman Gill, in the group for Prithvi Shaw, handed Siraj his very first Test wicket and left Australia on the back foot once again.
With David Warner still injured, the hosts went into the clash the same, with Burns opening along with Wade.
Burns struck an unbeaten 51 in Adelaide to relive some pressure after a long lean spell, however his efficiency Saturday will once again raise questions over his location in the group.
He looked tentative against Bumrah and played and missed out on several times before getting a nick to a shipment he need to have left.
Rishabh Pant, back behind the stumps in location of Wriddhiman Saha, took the catch and Burns was gone without scoring.
At the other end, Wade had an escape on four when Gill directly missed a catch at slip.
He began finding the spaces prior to attempting a success off Ashwin, which showed his failure for 30.
Ravindra Jadeja took the catch, but only just with Gill likewise beneath it. The set collided however Jadeja handled to hang on to the ball.
Ashwin then declared the important wicket of Smith, who was undone by an off-break with Cheteshwar Pujara holding a catch at slip after the world’s leading batsman faced simply eight balls.