Cricket - India v Australia - Third Test cricket match - Jharkhand State Cricket Association Stadium, Ranchi, India - 16/03/17 - Australia's Steven Smith (L) plays a shot . REUTERS/Adnan Abidi - RTX318X0
Captain Steven Smith scored his second century of the series to put Australia on course for a big first innings score on the first day of the third Test against India in Ranchi on Thursday.
The visitors finished the day on 299/4, with Smith (117*) batting alongside Glenn Maxwell (82*) as the duo put on an unbeaten partnership of 170.
The stand took the stuffing out of the Indian bowling, which had toiled hard to pick up four wickets by tea, including three in the first session.
Smith crossed the 5,000-run mark in Tests with his unbeaten knock as he anchored the innings with Australia in a tricky position at 140/4. But Maxwell was the real surprise, with the limited-overs specialist curbing his natural aggression to play a measured innings in which he faced the most number of balls in an innings during his four-Test career.
Umesh Yadav was the pick of the Indian bowlers taking two wickets, as spinners R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja finished the day with a wicket apiece. The Indians struggled to stop the flow of runs in the first and third sessions, with the Australians managing more than a hundred runs in each of the sessions.
Maxwell gloved a ball in the last half hour of the day, but the umpire did not give him out and India did not review the decision despite vociferous appeals.
Earlier, starting off positively after opting to bat first, Australia cruised to 50 for no loss in 9.3 overs but with the introduction of spin bowlers at both the ends, the visitors lost three wickets for a little over 100 runs on the board.
Ravindra Jadeja struck in his first over with David Warner (19) offering a simple return catch to the left-arm spinner.
Matt Renshaw (44) was going well and looked set to complete a hat-trick of half-centuries before falling six runs short with Umesh Yadav dismissing the opener in his second spell after a smart change of ends by Virat Kohli.
India's in-form off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin then dismissed Shaun Marsh (2) after India brilliantly used the DRS in their favour.
Aussie skipper Smith had criticised the pitch on the eve of the match, terming it mud rolled together, but all the three dismissals did not show any devil in the 22-yard strip.
Australia started well and were happy to score in boundaries on a quick and small outfield.
India made one change, bringing back a fit-again Murali Vijay in place of Abhinav Mukund.
The Aussie made the two forced changes with Glenn Maxwell and Pat Cummins figuring in the playing XI in place of the injured Mitch Marsh and Mitchell Starc.
The four-Test series is locked 1-1 with the last match in Dharmasala from March 25-29.
(with PTI inputs)