NAGPUR: Skipper Rohit Sharma showed a lot of composure to inch towards his ninth Test hundred with India reaching 151 for 3 at lunch against Australia on the second day of the opening Test, here on Friday.
At the break, Rohit was batting on 85 off 142 balls with 12 boundaries and two sixes to his credit. Virat Kohli (12 batting), giving him company, also looked in ominous touch as the Australian bowling didn't look threatening despite getting a couple of wickets -- Ravichandran Ashwin (23) and Cheteshwar Pujara (7) -- during the session.
The idea will be bat the next two sessions and build a sizeable lead to finish the match inside three days. The pitch, however, hasn't shown signs of any further deterioration from what it was on the first day.
Australia captain Pat Cummins (0/41 in 8 overs) had set the bait for his opposite number with a deep fine leg and deep mid-wicket fielder but bowled fuller during his morning spell.
Rohit brought his favourite pull shot out of the closet during the Australian skipper's second spell when a delivery was dug in short.
In fact, the low bounce made it easier to defend as both Rohit and Ashwin, during their 42-run stand, often plonked their front foot to frustrate the bowlers.
However, the slowness of the track did affect the Australian bowlers as both off-spinners, Nathan Lyon (0/66 in 20 overs) and Todd Murphy (3/35 in 15 overs), had to bowl quicker in order to get some purchase from the track.
The slowness could be best gauged from the fact that Australia's second pacer Scott Boland (0/7 in 9 overs), who normally bowls upward of 135 clicks, asked wicket-keeper Alex Carey to keep up to him in order to prevent the batters from using their feet. Boland, though, bowled like a workhorse and kept the batters quiet at one end.
Against spinners, there was no problem in easily rocking onto the back foot and playing on both sides of the wicket.
Ashwin looked confident as he slog swept Lyon for a six and finally it was Murphy, who came round the wicket, bowled one that pitched on the leg-middle line and straightened enough to find the batter's pads.
Cheteshwar Pujara, would curse himself for bringing about his downfall to a Murphy delivery which was anything but a wicket-taking one.
It was a tossed-up delivery on the imaginary 'fifth leg-stump' and Pujara swept it for Boland, standing at '45', to take an easy catch.
Kohli came and immediately made his presence felt with a drive for four off Murphy. He also played a bowler's back-drive off Lyon during the session.
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