Another decent day in office, and the Australian team appear set in achieving their goal of retaining the Border-Gavaskar Trophy by winning the second Test against India in Bengaluru. Despite the ups and downs that defined the second day, Australia were steady at 237/6 at the close of play, with the lead of 48 with four wickets in hand a cause of worry for the opposition at the moment.
The visitors resumed from their overnight score of 40/0, though opener David Warner could not stick around with Matt Renshaw for long, getting his off-stump uprooted by a vicious off-spinner from Ravichandran Ashwin. Captain and in-form batsman Steve Smith's dismissal for a lowly 8 shortly after was an added bonus for the hosts.
Renshaw (60), however, once again displayed maturity that belied his age, and it was his, as well as Shaun Marsh's (66) half-centuries that negated whatever little advantage the Indian bowlers got utilising the turning conditions. Renshaw, whose batting style is reminiscent of a more famous Queenslander, Matthew Hayden, continued to justify his selection as Warner's opening partner by racking up his second fifty of the tour.
Marsh, on the other hand, managed to put questions over his selection at bay for the time being, taking charge of the innings when the tourists looked vulnerable around tea while bringing up his sixth Test fifty.
The Australians did enjoy their share of luck though. While Virat Kohli and crew's prodigal use of the Decision Review System (DRS) helped their cause, with the hosts wasting both their reviews not long after it was reset after the 80th over, there were a couple of dropped chances that helped them gather a few extra runs. The Indian bowlers plied their trade with a lot more intensity on the second day, and the fact that the a few of the chances that the created were not taken could go on to haunt them on the longer run.
With wicketkeeper batsman Matthew Wade and pacer Mitchell Starc at the crease at the close of play, the visitors can certainly aim a lead of at least 100 on the third day, which certainly would help the Australian cause as far as steering themselves towards an unassailable 2-0 series lead is concerned. All that they would need is for Wade to play with patience at one end, while allowing Starc to go hammer-and-tongs at the other — something that he has already put up on show in Pune. A strong partnership between the two, which should translate into a big lead for them, that will be ideal for the Australians to then utilise the deteriorating conditions with a sense of calm.