India make solid start after superb Smith ton


Australia were in a commanding position at stumps on day two of the third Test against India at the MCG, though India had made a solid start to sit on 108 for one in chasing the 530 the Aussies posted.

The hosts were able to make such an impressive score thanks to the efforts of skipper Steve Smith, who fell just eight runs short of his maiden Test double century. He was helped by half tons from Brad Haddin and Ryan Harris.

The day began with Smith on 72 and Haddin on 23, and the Aussies not yet at 300. They were five down at the time, and for much of the morning it stayed that way. The pair put on 110 runs together, before Haddin was removed for 55 by Mohammed Shami.

Smith continued at the other end, first with Mitchell Johnson, who made 28, and then Harris. The veteran paceman showed his batting prowess across 88 deliveries, before being trapped LBW on 74 by Ravi Ashwin.

Smith, meanwhile, passed his previous best score of 162 not out, and crept towards his 200. He struck 15 fours and two sixes in his innings, but fell agonisingly short when he was clean bowled by Umesh Yadav in the afternoon.

Smith's wicket brought about the end of the innings, and India had to endure 37 overs in the evening. They started well against the new ball, with Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan putting on 55 in less than 15 overs.

Dhawan was once again unable to capitalise on his good start though, and was out for 28 to Harris, caught by skipper Smith in the slips. This left Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara to see out the day, and the former reached his half ton just before the close.