India upped the ante in the post-lunch session as Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara, both unbeaten on 73, scored at above three runs an over, up from the first session rate of under two. India took tea on Day Two of the second Test against Australia at 160 for one, now 78 runs behind a lead.
The boundaries increased drastically; India had hit just six in the morning session, and added 15 fours and one six to their sheet post lunch.
Vijay was the first to reach a fifty — his third in Tests — and got there with a heave straight down the ground for six off Xavier Doherty. His half-century took 141 balls including seven other boundaries. Vijay appears set for a much-needed big score and is timing the ball to the tee. His cover drives, especially, have been a treat to watch as he nears three figures.
Pujara, then, limped his way to a gutsy second Test fifty with an exquisite cover drive off debutant Glenn Maxwell. The 25-year-old's injury concerns with his knee are well documented and the Saurashtra batsman seems to have aggravated something there when he dived into his crease to avoid a run-out in the first session. He was seen hobbling while running between the wickets and seemed to be in some pain. But the youngster hung in there with Vijay as the duo's partnership crossed the 100-run mark.
India would be pleased with a wicketless session in Hyderabad's sweltering heat. The second-wicket pair managed to keep the crowd, most of whom were in open stands directly under the sun, entertained as they took India closer to Australia's total.
Michael Clarke, perhaps, missed a trick when he brought on the second spinner, Maxwell, only in the 47th over, which was much after Vijay and Pujara had settled in. Clarke then had Maxwell and a grunting Doherty to bowl in tandem as the last throw of the dice to unsettle the two Indians, but they stuck on till the tea break and put India in command.
In the first session, Peter Siddle got rid of Virender 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.
India could add just 49 runs to their overnight total in the morning session and took lunch at 54 for one.
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 160 for 1 (Murali Vijay 73, Cheteshwar Pujara 73; Peter Siddle 1 for 41) by 77 runs.
First Published: March 3, 2013, 2:14 pm