After losing Virender Sehwag (6) early, India stabilised their innings via a patient, watchful partnership between Murali Vijay (29 not out) and Cheteshwar Pujara (15 not out) to take lunch on Day Two of the second Test at 54 for one. India are still 183 runs behind the visitors' first-innings total of 237 for nine declared.
Peter Siddle (one for 20) got rid of Sehwag in the sixth over of the day as the Indian opener edged a short-pitched delivery to wicketkeeper Matthew Wade. And that was about all the action that transpired in the morning session, as Vijay and Pujara rebuilt the innings at a snail's pace.
It wasn't the best of sessions for both teams, although Australia would probably be more pleased with their efforts. Even though they would have liked a couple more wickets, they kept India's run-rate down to below two runs an over.
Vijay, after losing his partner early, had the eyes of a hawk as he saw through a steamy session from the Australian quicks. Siddle, James Pattinson and Moises Henriques, all, asked the questions constantly with yorkers, short-pitched deliveries and a few that the pitch kept low. However, Vijay refused to budge from the crease and played a composed 106-ball 29. He set himself up for a long innings and made his intention clear — grind the bowlers down.
Pujara, on the other hand, wasn't at his solid best as he got beaten quite a few times and had some close calls. He struggled to get into his groove and was finding it difficult to connect. But the important thing is that he is still there and India have nine wickets in hand.
Australia have two spinners in their side, but did not utilise even one of them until the last half-an-hour of the session, when Xavier Doherty was brought on. The two Indian batsmen still refused to shake off their languor as the lunch bell approached.
David Warner brightened things up with a direct hit from mid-off to the striker's end where Pujara just about managed to make ground.
However, it was just a matter of time, after 110 minutes of patient stroking, as Vijay charged down the pitch to Doherty and smacked him one-bounce to the long-off fence. It was India's first boundary in 107 deliveries, which summed up their strategy for the session.
Brief Scores: Australia 237 for 9 dec. (Michael Clarke 91, Matthew Wade 68; Ravindra Jadeja 3 for 33, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 3 for 53) lead India 54 for 1 (Murali Vijay 29; Peter Siddle 1 for 20) by 183 runs.
First Published: March 3, 2013, 11:35 am