virat kohli
Virat Kohli (AFP Photo)

India captain Virat Kohli and Adelaide hero Cheteshwar Pujara steadied their side after Australia grabbed two early wickets on day two of the second Test at Perth on Saturday.

At tea, the visitors were 70 for two, with Kohli on 37 and Pujara, who made a century in the first Test at Adelaide, not out 23.

Up 1-0 in the four-Test series, India made a terrible start to their first innings after cleaning up the Australian tail to dismiss them for 326.

With the last ball before lunch, left-arm paceman Mitchell Starc found a gap between opener Murali Vijay’s bat and pad to send his stumps flying for a 12-ball duck.

Shortly after the resumption both openers were gone, with Josh Hazlewood getting through KL Rahul’s defences to bowl him for two with India slumping to eight for two on a tricky pitch.

However, Kohli looked comfortable from the time he strode to the crease, a crisp on-drive from the second ball he faced from Hazlewood racing to the boundary.

His only real moment of concern came on 22, when he shouldered arms to a delivery from spinner Nathan Lyon and the ball just bounced over the bails.

The stubborn Pujara offered strong support, although he was fortunate to survive an early edge from the bowling of Hazlewood when he was at just two.

The ball bounced just in front of Shaun Marsh at first slip, with wicketkeeper Tim Paine electing not to go for the catch.

Earlier, India had cleaned up the Australian tail with Ishant Sharma (4-41) on a hat-trick in the second innings.

At 310 for six, the home side were edging towards an imposing first innings total after winning the toss and electing to bat.

But the Indians struck back to claim the last four wickets for just 16 runs.

Australia resumed at 277 for six, with overnight batsmen Paine and Pat Cummins building a useful lower order partnership.

The pair put on 59 before Cummins (19) was clean bowled by a sharp delivery from Umesh Yadav (2-78) to end his 66-ball knock.

That sparked the Australian collapse, with Paine then trapped lbw by Jasprit Bumrah two balls later for 38.

Sharma claimed the wickets of Starc (6) and Josh Hazlewood (0) in successive balls to end the innings.

Given the nature of the pitch, it seemed a competitive total by the Australians. They will be disappointed, however, that a number of batsmen got starts but failed to make big scores.

Opener Marcus Harris top-scored with 70, with Travis Head adding 58 and Aaron Finch contributing 50, with the latter’s 112-run partnership with Harris at the top of the order providing an excellent foundation for the home side.