By Ian Ransom
MELBOURNE, Dec.27 (Reuters) – A two-wicket explosion by paceman Pat Cummins in the morning rallied Australia and left India vulnerable at 90 for three at lunch on day two of the second test in Melbourne.
Cummins turned down debutant Shubman Gill for half a century and also returned Indian number three Cheteshwar Pujara for 17 in a five-ball blast midway through the session on a heavy Sunday at Melbourne Cricket Ground.
It was left to captain Ajinkya Rahane, 10 steps out, and Hanuma Vihari (13 steps out) to stabilize India, which is still 105 points away from Australia’s modest 195 first innings on grassy terrain.
Pujara and opener Gill recovered with India 36 for one and held on for the better part of an hour despite a few test lines from Cummins and compatriot Josh Hazlewood.
Cummins ultimately broke their 61-innings partnership with a ball that teased Gill (45) in an attempt to push away from the body, sending goaltender and captain Tim Paine a boost.
Cummins then drew a thick edge from Pujara, with Paine diving to his right to catch a brilliant one-handed grip.
Australia lead the series of four tries 1-0 after beating India by eight wickets in three days at the Adelaide Oval.