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India were 120 for 1 at stumps on the second day, trailing by a daunting 331 in the first innings © IANS

Indian batsmen will be needed to step up to the challenge and reduce the deficit of 331 runs in the first innings, in the third Test against Australia in the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2016-17. Australia scored 451 in their first essay, leaving India a mountain to climb. Thanks to KL Rahul — who scored a brisk 67 out of India’s total of 120 for 1 — the hosts were able to make a strong reply. But the job is far from done as Australia still have a huge lead and India are fretting over the availability of their captain Virat Kohli. At stumps, Murali Vijay was batting on 42 and Cheteshwar Pujara was on 10 not out. Live Cricket Scorecard: India vs Australia 3rd Test at Ranchi

Indian batsmen will be needed to step up to the challenge and reduce the deficit of 331 runs in the first innings, in the third Test against Australia in the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2016-17. Australia scored 451 in their first essay, leaving India a mountain to climb. Thanks to KL Rahul — who scored a brisk 67 out of India’s total of 120 for 1 — the hosts were able to make a strong reply. But the job is far from done as Australia still have a huge lead and India are fretting over the availability of their captain Virat Kohli. At stumps, Murali Vijay was batting on 42 and Cheteshwar Pujara was on 10 not out.

Both the teams have had their fair share of domination so far in the Test. The wicket at the Jharkhand State Cricket Association (JSCA) International Stadium in Ranchi has remained a haven for the batsmen, and the bowlers have found it difficult to take wickets on a regular basis. So far, the wicket has neither crumbled nor shown any specific signs of deterioration, which would make Australia’s job a lot more difficult since they will be keen to obtain a healthy lead at the end of the Indian innings. FULL CRICKET BLOG & UPDATES: India vs Australia 3rd Test at Ranchi, Day 2

India have done well with the bat so far, but their task remains a mountainous one. India trail by 331, and with the cloud of uncertainty hovering over the participation of Kohli, it remains to be seen if at all the Indian captain will walk out to bat. After Pujara strode out to the middle at his usual No. 3 slot, following the dismissal of KL Rahul, it was Ajinkya Rahane who was spotted sitting in the stands in all readiness to bat at Kohli’s spot.

For India, the task will not only be to bring down Australia’s advantage but also bat long and big on a wicket which has remained excellent for batting. Rahul may have perished, but Vijay has primed up himself well for a big score and Pujara too has shown aggressive intent to make runs during his brief stay at the crease. Kohli fit to continue playing in 3rd Test vs Australia, says Umesh

There was some amount of turn which only Ravindra Jadeja could generate on the second day. But to do so, Jadeja had to consistently aim for the rough patches created by bowlers’ footmarks and make the ball spin away from the right-handers. Interestingly, Australia did not opt for any such imitation in their 40 overs bowled on the second day.

For India, the setting is apt for their batsmen to make big runs. The wicket has not much for the bowlers to look forward to, and the hosts’ batsmen have a chance to do something which they have not done so far — register big scores and bury the opposition under the mountain. If India are able to put behind the last two Tests with ordinary batting shows, it will serve more than a warning to Australia going ahead. Also, India will have to keep in mind how they can pull things in their favour, but there is a lot of hard work to be done in order to achieve that. IND vs AUS, 3rd Test: Umesh Yadav admits to have worked hard

The visiting side will feel slightly disappointed having snaffled only one wicket in the Indian innings. Rahul was on-song and brought up his fourth half-century so far in this Test series and Australia will be happy to see his back. He struck 9 boundaries and faced 102 balls, but missed out on a big score once again. However, on a batting-friendly track with the likes of Rahane, Karun Nair, Kohli, Wriddhiman Saha and a dangerous tail yet to bat, Australia will know that the job is far from done.

Australia’s aim will be to keep making inroads and cut down scoring, and the initial stages of the third day’s play could set the tone for the remainder of the day. At the crease are Vijay and Pujara, who have rescued India from tough situations many a times in the recent past. Australia will be wary of what this partnership can do, which sets up an interesting day’s play at Ranchi.