New Delhi, March 23 (IANS) Half-centuries by Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara took India to a comfortable 135 for two in their first innings at tea on day two of the fourth Test against Australia at the Ferozeshah Kotla here Saturday.
Vijay was batting on 54 along with Sachin Tendulkar, who was on 12, and by the break India reduced the first innings deficit to 97 runs. Cheteshwar Pujara fell after scoring a crafty 52.
India managed 76 runs in the second session as the Australian bowlers kept the hosts under check. Spinner Nathan Lyon bagged two wickets for 32. Pacers James Pattinson and Mitchell Johnson went after the Indian batsmen with their probing line and length.
Pujara and Vijay gave a steady start as India galloped to 59 for no loss at lunch after having bowled out Australia for 232 within the first hour.
Pujara was impressive and hit some crisply timed shots on both side of the wickets. Vijay, however, was living dangerously as some of his edges flew past the slips.
They added 108 runs for the first wicket and at a time when the partnership was growing stronger. Lyon struck to castle Pujara and in the next over got rid of Virat Kohli (1).
Tendulkar walked in and had to see off a fiery spell from Johnson and some clever bowling by Lyon.
Earlier in the day, off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin bagged his ninth fifer, and fourth in the series, as Australia were bowled out for 262.
Resuming at overnight 231/8, Australia added 31 runs with Peter Siddle emerging the top scorer with 51, his maiden half-century. Siddle became Ashwin’s fifth victim as the off-spinner finished with five for 57.
Left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha also completed his 100 Test wickets after he picked up James Pattinson (30) caught at first-slip Kohli to wrap up the tail.