Australia’s debutant off-spinner Todd Murphy made a significant impact on day two of the Nagpur Test, taking five wickets for 82 runs in 36 overs.
Despite Murphy’s impressive performance, India finished the day with a lead of 144 runs, with captain Rohit Sharma leading the way with a masterful century.
Rohit Sharma set a new Indian record by becoming the first captain from the country to slam a ton across all three formats in international cricket.
The batter smacked 120 runs off 212 balls, packed with 15 fours and two sixes.
In the morning session, India’s nightwatchman Ravichandran Ashwin put up a fight, reaching 23 runs before Murphy finally broke through with the help of the DRS technology.
The young spinner then took the crucial wickets of Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli before Nathan Lyon removed India debutant Suryakumar Yadav for 8.
Despite the loss of several key players, Sharma reached triple figures late in the afternoon session.
He combined with Ravindra Jadeja for a 61-run partnership, securing India’s lead.
However, the Indian skipper became his Australian counterpart’s first victim as a Pat Cummins delivery sent Rohit’s off-stump cartwheeling.
Australia had a chance to make a comeback when Scott Boland found Jadeja’s outside edge, only for the ball to land just in front of Steve Smith at first slip.
Smith also put down a regulation chance at second slip, giving Sharma an additional life on 118.
Nevertheless, captain Pat Cummins made sure to capitalize on the opportunity and knocked Sharma’s off stump out of the ground the very next delivery.
Murphy completed his five-wicket haul, sending Indian wicketkeeper KS Bharat back to the sheds following another successful DRS call from Cummins.
But just as Australia started considering a comeback, Jadeja and Axar Patel combined for an unbeaten 81-run partnership, putting India in a commanding position at stumps.
Jadeja bagged a five-wicket haul on Day 1 and then followed it up with an unbeaten half-century on Day 2.
Achieving the feat, Jadeja broke Kapil Dev’s (4) record of registering a fifty and picking a fifer in the same match and became the only Indian do so.
Jadeja smacked 66 runs off 170 balls, including nine fours.
Meanwhile, Axar hammered 52 runs off 102 deliveries, with eight blistering fours.
The duo will be aiming to build on their momentum on Day 3 and keep on piling up the runs in India’s scoreboard.
For Australia, Todd Murphy took five wickets while Cummins and Nathan Lyon bagged a dismissal each.
The Aussie frustration boiled over on the penultimate delivery of the day when Lyon finally found Jadeja’s outside edge, only for Smith to put down another low chance.
India 321 for 7 (Rohit 120, Jadeja 66*, Axar 52*, Murphy 5-82) lead Australia 177 by 144 runs