Editor’s note: This report was updated through the day.
Skipper Rohit Sharma hit a brave 120 on a turning Nagpur pitch as India extended their lead to 144 despite Australian debutant Todd Murphy’s five wickets in the opening Test.
India were 321/7 at stumps with all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja proving his worth for the second straight day of his international return with an unbeaten 66.
The 22-year-old Murphy took regular wickets with his off-spin in his attempt to check India’s surge but Jadeja kept up the charge following Rohit’s dismissal soon after tea.
Jadeja was batting alongside fellow left-hander Axar Patel, who hit 52, as the pair put on an unbeaten stand of 81 for the eighth wicket.
India vs Australia: Reactions to Rohit Sharma’s century in Nagpur Test – ‘Leading from the front’
Rohit led from the front with his ninth Test century to extend India’s dominance after they dismissed Australia for 177 on day one of the four-Test series.
The captain defied the spinners to reach his hundred with a boundary off Murphy in the second session, and took off his helmet to soak in the applause.
He put on a key 61-run sixth-wicket stand with Jadeja, who stood firm after Rohit’s departure to register a fifty after his five wickets in the Australian innings.
Jadeja, who has three Test hundreds, did his trademark sword swish with the bat to mark his 18th half-century in the five-day format.
Murphy stood out for the tourists with remarkable control to knock off the stalwarts of Indian cricket including Virat Kohli, caught behind for 12.
Murphy, who claimed KL Rahul as his first Test wicket on Thursday, trapped Ravichandran Ashwin lbw and got Cheteshwar Pujara caught at short fine leg in the first session.
Senior Australia spinner Nathan Lyon spoiled Twenty20 sensation Suryakumar Yadav’s Test debut after he bowled the batsman on eight to put India in a spot at 168-5.
But Rohit, who started the day on his overnight 56 and smashed Pat Cummins and Lyon for a six each, and Jadeja soon swung back the momentum with a mix of caution and aggression.
Cummins took the second new ball after tea to send back Rohit bowled, one ball after he was dropped by Steve Smith at second slip.
Murphy soon bagged his fifth as he trapped fellow debutant Srikar Bharat lbw – a decision that was given not out by the umpire but successfully reviewed by Australia.
Jadeja, who returned from a knee injury with a 5/47 on Thursday, soldiered on with Patel as they frustrated the opposition attack in the final hour of play.
Axar smashed eight boundaries en route to his second Test fifty.
Day two of saw more of the fluent batting from skipper Rohit Sharma who remained unbeaten on an assured 85 as India turned the screw on Australia despite debutant spinner Todd Murphy claiming his third wicket of the day.
India took lunch on day two at 151-3, closing on Australia’s first-innings 177, on a Nagpur pitch which could turn more as the match progresses.
Rohit was batting alongside Virat Kohli, on 12, at the break after losing overnight partner Ravichandran Ashwin for 23 and then Cheteshwar Pujara for seven.
Murphy, an off-spinner who made his Test debut in this match and claimed KL Rahul as his first Test wicket on Thursday, trapped Ashwin lbw – a decision successfully reviewed by Australia – and got Pujara caught at short fine leg.
Rohit started cautiously on his overnight 56 before he smacked fast bowler captain Pat Cummins for six over deep-square leg and hit another over the fence from spinner Nathan Lyon.
He mixed the right dose of caution and aggression and despite losing Ashwin and Pujara stood firm to see off the first session, as India trail by 26 runs.
Spinner Ravindra Jadeja was the first-day hero with his 5-47 against the tourists, who elected to bat first at the start of the four-match series, but were all out shortly after tea.
Images showed Jadeja rubbing a mystery substance on his finger, raising the possibility of ball tampering.
Indian team management told AFP that Jadeja applied a pain-relief cream to his index finger and nothing untoward had taken place.
Virat Kohli was dismissed by Todd Murphy in the first ball after lunch, handing India an early blow, followed by Nathan Lyon bowling Suryakumar Yadav through the gate soon after. However, Rohit Sharma remained resolute in his application to notch the first century of the series in a matter of 171 deliveries. This was his ninth century in the format, his first as captain and first against Australia. In the process, he also became the first Indian to score hundreds across Tests, ODIs & T20Is.
The classy Rohit was batting alongside Ravindra Jadeja, on 34, with the pair on an unbeaten stand of 58 at the break. The hosts reached 226/5 at tea on day two in response to Australia’s 177, a lead of 49 runs.
After taking a five-for in the first innings, Jadeja put yet another all-round show to bring up a fifty. Although skipper Pat Cummins bowled a cracker of a delivery to demolish Rohit Sharma’s off-stump and Murphy got KS Bharat to complete a five-wicket haul on debut, Jadeja was joined by another left-handed spin-bowling all-rounder Axar Patel to stitch a crucial 81-run partnership. In the process, Axar, who was the aggressor in the partnership, brought up his second half-century in the format. The duo helped India post 321/7 and extend the lead to 144 runs in the final session at Stumps on Day 2.
With inputs from AFP