Sydney - Skipper Steve Smith scored a controlled 133, Mitchell Johnson a
game-changing 88 and Australia's tail wagged vigorously as the hosts
barged their way back into the second Test against India on day three in
Brisbane on Friday.
Australia took a first innings lead of 97
after being dismissed for 505 to bring up tea and India had shaved 71
runs off the deficit by the close of play for the loss of one second
Murali Vijay, who contributed 144 to India's first
innings tally of 408, departed for 27, leaving Shikhar Dhawan (26 not
out) and Cheteshwar Pujara, who had made 15, to resume on Saturday, 26
Australia had looked to be facing a sizeable deficit
of their own when they lost two wickets in the first hour to slip to
247-6 but Smith and Johnson combined for a Gabba record seventh-wicket
partnership of 148 runs from 160 balls.
Both fell to paceman
Ishant Sharma in the same over an hour after lunch but Mitchell Starc
(52) continued the resistance with his fourth Test half century and
partnerships of 56 with Nathan Lyon (23) and 51 with Josh Hazlewood (32
Starc was the last Australian batsman to fall but the
left-armer returned after the innings break to bowl Vijay when the
Indian made the mistake of leaving an angled delivery.
deputising for the injured Michael Clarke, became the first Australian
to score a century in his maiden Test as captain since Graham Yallop in
It was his second century of
the series after his unbeaten 162 in the opening test victory in
Adelaide last weekend and a fourth in eight matches this year.
"I wanted to lead from the front with my performances so hopefully I've done that so far in this game," Smith told reporters.
"To be fair, our whole tail batted beautifully and to get us up over 500 was remarkable."
was Johnson's pugnacious 93-ball knock, though, that turned the day in
Australia's favour after Indian controlled the first hour and dismissed
Mitchell Marsh and Brad Haddin cheaply.
Fired up by some sledging
and short balls from the tourists, Johnson stopped the rot in no
uncertain fashion by clubbing the ball around the ground with 13 fours
and one six.
The lefthander looked to be heading for his second Test century when he chased an Ishant delivery only to get a top edge
which Mahendra Singh Dhoni snaffled up behind the stumps.
who had brought up his century with his 10th four just before lunch,
followed five balls later when he chopped on to be dismissed for the
first time in the four-match series.
"We tried our best to get
them out but you always have this up-and-down phase in cricket and
sometimes your strategy doesn't work," India paceman Umesh Yadav said.
"The wicket is a bit slow. It's good for batting now. We will take a good lead and after that we'll see."