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India strong in reply after Smith shows at Ranchi

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18th-Mar-2017       
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Agency, Ranchi :
India has made a strong response to Australia's mammoth first innings total of 451 runs, with the hosts at 120/1 at the end of second day's play at the JSCA stadium in Ranchi.
Opener KL Rahul produced another classy innings as he took the attack to the Australian bowlers, playing some attractive shots to blaze his way to a fourth half-century of the series.
Rahul's flourish was supplemented by a dour defensive display by Murali Vijay who showcased great temperament and defensive skills to mine his way to 42 off 112 deliveries. The duo put on 91 runs for the opening wicket until Pat Cummins removed the impressive Rahul with a vicious short delivery that kissed the Indian opener's gloves before being caught by Matthew Wade. Rahul had scored 67 runs.
Cheteshwar Pujara (10*) and Murali Vijay (42*) ensured there were no more jolts to the hosts as India ended the day trailing Australia by 331 runs with 9 wickets in hand.
Earlier, Australia were bowled out for 451 in their first innings, with captain Steven Smith staying unbeaten on 178 in what was a chanceless knock by the world's top ranked Test batsman.
The visitors had resumed at their overnight score of 299/4 with Smith unbeaten on 117 and the impressive Glenn Maxwell on 82. Umesh Yadav broke Maxwell's bat with a vicious delivery first up on Day 2 but that did not dent Maxwell's confidence as he soon made his way to a maiden Test century.
Maxwell thus became the second Australian after Shane Watson to score a century in three formats.
But just after completing his ton, Maxwell succumbed to the guile of Ravindra Jadeja, who managed to induce an outside edge off Maxwell's bat and Wriddhiman Saha took a smart catch. Maxwell was dismissed for 104 and Australia were on 331/5.
That brought wicket-keeper batsman Matthew Wade to the middle and he along with Steven Smith decided to get some quick runs. The duo put on 64 runs for the sixth wicket before Jadeja provided the hosts with a much needed breakthrough. Wade was caught behind for 37 and Australia were 395 for 6.
Jadeja gave India another breakthrough in the same over as he cleaned up the stumps of Pat Cummins, who departed without scoring any runs.
Steven Smith has been in imperious touch and he went past the 150-run mark, for the eighth time in his Test career as Australia went into lunch at 401/7.
Smith and Steve O'Keefe frustrated the Indian bowlers in the post lunch session as they stringed together a 51-run stand for the eighth wicket. Umesh Yadav finally ended Steve O'Keefe's doughty innings of 25 to leave the Aussies on 446/8.
Ravindra Jadeja completed a five-wicket haul by getting Nathan Lyon caught at silly point for 1 and then affected a smart run out of Josh Hazlewood to bring an end to Australia's first innings.

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