Melbourne, Dec 26 (IANS) India hit back with two strikes in the post lunch session to reduce Australia to 174 for three at tea on day one of the third Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) here Friday.
Australian skipper Steven Smith was unbeaten on 23 while Shaun Marsh (batting 32) was giving him company in rebuilding the innings after the loss of two successive wickets.
Australia were comfortably placed at 92 for one at lunch but lost Chris Rogers (57) and Shane Watson (52) in quick succession, both perishing shortly after reaching their half centuries.
Rogers was dismissed by seamer Mohammed Shami while Watson was trapped leg before wicket by spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.
India’s bowlers hit good lengths and made it tough for the Australian batsmen to score freely.
At 115 for three, the Indians must have had thoughts of getting through to the lower middle-order by the end of the session but Marsh and Smith repelled everything that was dished out to them and hung around to keep the visitor’s at bay.
Run-scoring, though, slowed down a bit, with 82 runs coming in the 31 overs bowled in post-lunch the session.
Earlier, a 92-run unbroken first-wicket partnership helped Australia consolidate their position after losing a wicket early to reach 92 for one at lunch.
India began the proceedings with a bang as pacer Umesh Yadav picked up the dangerous David Warner even before Australia managed to open their account.
The early loss, coupled with some disciplined bowling from the Indian pacers, forced Australians to a sedate start, allowing just eight runs from five overs.
Opener Rogers then hit a few boundaries in quick succession to help the hosts pull up the run rate.
After the initial period of caution and circumspection, both Rogers and No.3 batsman Watson settled down comfortably and unleashed some great shots.
India got a chance to break the partnership just at the stroke of lunch but failed to latch on to it. Watson, under pressure for his poor batting form, edged a Mohammed Shami delivery but was grassed by a diving Shikhar Dhawan at second slip.