India face uphill battle after Smith century


Australia were in strong command at stumps on day two of the fourth and final Test against India, with the visitors still 501 runs behind the Aussies at the SCG, on 71 for one.

Australia had declared on 572 for seven earlier in the day, thanks to yet another century from stand-in skipper Steve Smith, as well as half tons from Shaun Marsh and Joe Burns. India lost Murali Vijay before the close.

The day began with the hosts on 348 for two, with Smith on 82 and Shane Watson on 61. Together they pushed the score to 400 on the dot in the morning, before Watson was dismissed for 81 by Mohammed Shami.

The India paceman was by far their best bowler, taking five of the seven wickets to fall, though had very little help from the other end. The wicket of Smith was taken by Umesh Yadav though, 15 runs after Watson, for 117.

This left Marsh and Burns together, with the latter playing in only his second Test and looking to atone for his below-par debut. The Queenslander was far more impressive here, as he made his fifty off 94 balls.

The pair put on a century stand, taking the score to 529, before Marsh departed for 73. He was caught behind by Wriddhiman Saha, the keeper of the hour since MS Dhoni's retirement, off Shami's bowling.

Burns followed four overs later, for 58, also to Shami, leaving Ryan Harris to add a quick 25 before the declaration. When the veteran paceman was out, also to Shami, Smith declared the innings and left India a session to bat.

They started poorly, with Vijay out for a duck to Mitchell Starc in the first over, caught by BRad Haddin. But KL Rahul, under pressure since his debut, and Rohit Sharma stuck to their guns and recorded 31 and 40 respectively by stumps.