NAGPUR: Captain Rohit Sharma scored a brilliant unbeaten century, his ninth hundred in Tests and first since September 2021, to help India reach 226/5 against Australia at tea on the second day of the first Test at the Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) Stadium here on Friday.
Sharma, who started the day on 56, waged a grim battle against a strong Australian bowling side, reaching his 100 off 171 balls, hitting 14 fours and two sixes.
With him going strong, India were 226/5 off 80 overs at tea on the second day, leading Australia by 49 runs with five wickets in hand. Rohit was batting on 118 off 207 balls, his 341-minute unfinished vigil at the wicket was studded with 15 boundaries and two sixes. Ravindra Jadeja was keeping him company at tea, batting on 34 off 82 balls.
The Indian captain survived some close calls, including a DRS review on an lbw appeal and a few appeals. But he played some glorious shots, a few of his boundaries and the two sixes, This was Rohit's second hundred at Nagpur, his birth place, as the 35-year-old had scored 102 against Sri Lanka at the VCA Stadium in 2017.
Rohit and Jadeja have stitched together crucial 61 runs for their unfinished sixth wicket partnership that took India beyond Australia's first innings score of 177.
However, the hosts lost two key wickets in this session, Virat Kohli was out on the first ball after lunch, while Suryakumar Yadav plodded around for 20 deliveries in his debut Test before being bowled by Nathan Lyon, playing all over a flighted delivery that went straight.
Kohli's wicket was the key one for Australia as he and Sharma could have taken the match away from them. But soon on resumption after lunch, Kohli tried to flick at a loose delivery bowled by Tod Murphy and handed a thick edge to wicketkeeper Alex Carey.
Yadav swept Murphy for four off the second delivery he faced. However, he did not read Lyon's delivery and was cleaned up.
Debutant Todd Murphy is the best Australan bowler on the day with figures of 4-59.
India will be hoping to build their lead in the last session of the day with Australia are likely to take the new ball and hope to restrict the lead to as few as possible.
Brief scores: At Tea, Day 2: Australia 177 v India 226/5 in 80 overs (Rohit Sharma batting 118, Ravindra Jadeja batting 34, Ashwin 23; Todd Murphy 4-59). India lead by 49 runs.
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