Thakur (33*) and Sundar (38*) played brilliantly after Mayank Agarwal and Rishabh Pant were dismissed early in the second session. While Mayank was dismissed on the second ball of the post-lunch session after scoring 38, Pant was dismissed soon after. Pant was caught in the gully by Cameron Green.
Sundar – playing his debut game – showed great character and brilliantly negotiated against a quality Australian bowling attack. Thakur who is playing his second Test also showed great composure.
Earlier in the day, India lost the big wicket of skipper Ajinkya Rahane to a poor shot just before lunch as they reached 161 for four.
At the break, the visitors trailed Australia’s first-innings total of 369 by 208 runs with Mayank Agarwal (38) and Rishabh Pant (4) batting in the middle. This was after Mitchell Starc induced a thick edge off Rahane for Matthew Wade to complete a comfortable catch in the slip cordon after the India captain had got away with similar shots twice in the first hour of play.
If there is one word to describe the courage of this Indian team, it’s Dabanng. So daring and brave. Ati Sundar Thakur .
— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) January 17, 2021
The visitors started with their overnight pair of Rahane (37) and Cheteshwar Pujara (25) adding 43 runs before the latter fell to a nearly unplayable delivery by Josh Hazlewood in only his second over of the day.
Until Pujara’s dismissal, the experienced duo raised hopes of a big partnership by negotiating the formidable Australian bowling attack in the first one hour of play.
Pujara was his usual solid self while Rahane was a bit more adventurous and lucky as the ball flew past the gap between gully and third slip for boundaries on two occasions. Before getting out, Pujara square-cut Mitchell Starc for a boundary and also collected four runs with a back-foot square drive through deep point.
Introduced into the attack after 11 overs had been bowled in the day, Nathan Lyon saw Pujara straightaway dancing down the pitch and then running three, which gave Rahane the strike and he rocked on to the back-foot and played the cut shot against the off-spinner for a four through point.
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