At Stumps on Day 3 of second Test, India were 213 for four, leading Australia by 126 runs in Bengaluru at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Bengaluru: Despite Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane putting up a strong show with the bat to bring back India in the ongoing second Test against Australia, batting coach Sanjay Bangar feels the match still hangs very much in balance.
At Stumps on Day 3, India were 213 for four, leading Australia by 126 runs here at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane remained unbeaten at the crease at their respective scores of 79 and 40. On a difficult, dry, cracking pitch, the duo batted the entire final session and lifted India's lead to 126 runs. Their partnership of 93 has turned this match firmly in India's favour, and even the hopes of regaining the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
"It has been a challenging wicket. There's been variable bounce and the cracks are gonna get wider as the game progresses. So, I think it will be a test for both the teams of how they adapt to batting and bowling. The game hangs very much in balance at this moment. I think if we can put up another good show with the bat for the next two sessions, I think we'll slightly had our nose ahead," Bangar told the media.
"The batsmen really applied themselves well. They used their feet quite a bit against the spinners, trying to get to the pitch of the ball as much as they could, as also playing on the back-foot. So, I think, all in all they have put in a better show than what they did in the first three innings of the series."
"We've fought really well over the last two days, having had the setback of not scoring enough runs in the first innings but clawing our way back, staying together and not letting the game away from us," he added.
Earlier, opener KL Rahul (51), who top-scored with 90 in first innings, put on 45 with Pujara after his partner Abhinav Mukund (16) was bowled by Josh Hazlewood just after lunch.
The Karnataka batsman batted with intent during his 85-ball knock and tried to take the attack to the Australian bowlers as and when he got the opportunity.
In the morning session, left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja took a six-wicket haul to help dismiss Australia for 276 in their first innings, a lead of 87.
Resuming at yesterday's score of 237-6, Matthew Wade (40) and Mitchell Starc (26) made significant contributions before being dismissed by Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin, respectively.
Jadeja then took wickets of Nathan Lyon (duck) and Hazlewood (one) in quick successions to eventually bowl out the visitors under 300 runs.
The left-hander finished with the figures of six for 63, including three from the second day. Ashwin scalped two wickets while Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav also chipped in with a wicket each.
The Virat Kohli-led side, which are currently trailing the four-match series 0-1, would be aiming to at least set a target of close to 200 to send jitters into the Australian camp, and seeing the condition of the pitch, that would definitely give Steve Smith and Co. nightmares.