ADELAIDE: India stretched their lead over Australia to 101 on the third day of the opening Test in Adelaide on Saturday for the loss of two wickets, with opener KL Rahul plundering the attack for 44.
At tea, the visitors were 86-2, adding to their first innings total of 250. First innings century-maker Cheteshwar Pujara was not out 11 and captain Virat Kohli on two.
Australia were dismissed for 235 just before lunch, with Travis Head top scoring on 72 on a day hit by rain delays.
Rahul and Murali Vijay both failed to fire in the first innings and desperately needed some runs, with the pair battling for one opener’s spot once the injured Prithvi Shaw is fit again.
On a difficult batting track, Josh Hazlewood bowled four straight maidens to keep them contained before they began finding their range.
Rahul hit a big six off Pat Cummins as the pair grew in confidence and they put on 63 before Mitchell Starc got the breakthrough with Vijay nicking an attempted drive to Peter Handscomb in the slips and he was out for 18.
Rahul played some audacious strokes, including a reverse sweep, before a loose shot to a Josh Hazlewood ball found a big edge and he was caught behind by Tim Paine.
Earlier, Australia added just 44 runs to their overnight 191-7 with India easily accounting for their last three wickets.
Batting on his home ground, Head matched his highest Test score but missed out on a century, adding just 11 to his overnight 61.
It signalled a quick end for Australia, with the final wicket falling next ball and lunch called as rain came down before India’s batsmen could get to the crease.
After two days of stifling hot weather, play began 45 minutes late in gloomy conditions, with the Adelaide Oval lights on.
It only lasted 3.4 overs before the drizzle began again and the umpires called the players off after Starc was caught behind for 15 by Pant, getting a thin edge to a Jasprit Bumrah delivery.
Play resumed after an hour with Nathan Lyon accompanying Head, who looked on track to better his previous best Test score against Pakistan in October.
But he was enticed into prodding at a Shami ball and was out.
Hazlewood came to the crease but was gone first ball, again to the Shami-Pant combination, leaving Lyon unbeaten after a quick-fire 24, including a hooked six.
For India, Ravichandran Ashwin finished with 3-57 and Bumrah had 3-47.