India crossed the 400-run mark for the first time this year in a Test match away from home, Rohit Sharma got his 10th Test fifty, Cheteshwar Pujara scored his slowest century yet, Aaron Finch bowled two overs and Australia had to take a third new ball. Plenty of noteworthy things tend to happen when a team bats through nearly six sessions and that was the case on Day 2 of the third Test between India and Australia in Melbourne. India declared on 443/7, their highest total in Test matches away from home this year, and the Australian openers put up 8 runs on board before the umpires called for an end to the proceedings.
Virat Kohli and Pujara ensured that the first session of the day was a wicketless one, just like the third session on Day 1. The pair started the day with their partnership on 92 and Kohli three runs away from his half-century. He got there off the last ball of the first over of the day.
While both went along their business at a similar rate, Pujara ended the session having scored 11 more runs than Kohli. That enabled him to reach his 17th Test century. It came off 280 balls, making it his slowest to date and the third slowest by an Indian in Australia.
Kohli looked primed to get to a hundred himself but he soon needed medical attention for his back that has troubled him in the past. This seemed to prompt him to accelerate and soon succumbed. The Indian captain attempted to ramp a short delivery from Mitchell Starc and ended up putting it down the throat of Aaron Finch at third man. His wicket marked the end of a partnership that had lasted 409 balls and yielded 170 runs.
20 balls later, Pujara was given a rap on his fingers by Pat Cummins. The physio came out and sealed the wound with a tape and it looked like Pujara would carry on. But two balls later, Cummins bowled one short of a length and this time it did not carry. The ball clipped the off stump and Pujara looked rather stunned. He had faced 319 deliveries across nearly four sessions and was done for by the unpredictable bounce.
Kohli and Pujara’s attritional partnership yielded benefits for those that came after him. Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane and Rishabh Pant were given lifelines when the tired Australian fielders dropped absolute sitters.
Rahane made 34 swift runs before falling to Nathan Lyon. That would be the only wicket of the innings for Lyon who belted 48 overs. Pant played an uncharacteristically patient innings while a settled Rohit Sharma played some characteristically hypnotic shots to reach his 10th Test fifty. The pair added 76 runs for the sixth wicket before Pant fell to Starc. Ravindra Jadeja fell not long after that and his wicket prompted Kohli to declare the innings. Rohit remained unbeaten on 63.
This left the Australian openers with seven nervy overs to defend. Marcus Harris copped one on the helmet off Jasprit Bumrah and a number of deliveries whistled past his and Finch’s bat. Ishant Sharma bowled two overs, Bumrah bowled three and Ravindra Jadeja had one before umpires removed the bails to indicate end of day’s play.