India fight back post lunch as Aus reach 174/3 at tea

Melbourne: India fought back in the post-lunch session with two quick-wickets in consecutive overs as Australia reached 174 for three at tea on day one of the third cricket Test at the MCG here today.

If the Australians ran away with the first morning honours, India came back in the second session by grabbing two wickets and yielding 82 runs in the 31 overs bowled after lunch.

Skipper Steven Smith, on 23 off 58 balls, and Shaun Marsh, on 32 off 77 balls, put on 59 runs for the unbroken fourth wicket to hold back the visitors in the second session.

Chris Rogers (57 off 126 balls) and Shane Watson (52 off 89 balls) had begun the session looking to extend their 92-run partnership for the second wicket and further frustrate the Indians. They began where they left off, bringing up the 100-mark in the 30th over as also their century-stand.

In the very next over, left-handed Rogers went on to score his third successive fifty of the series, his eighth overall in Tests. He reached there off 113 balls, with five fours.

At the other end, Watson overcame his poor run of scores and scored his first Test fifty in nine innings, off 74 balls, hitting four boundaries.

The duo looked good for plenty more when Mohammad Shami (1/40) struck against the run of play. Rogers was caught behind in the 37th over after the bowler had regained his composure after a poor display in the morning session.

In the very next over, R Ashwin (1/26) removed Watson, trapping him LBW as he went for a sweep-shot. The two bowlers then bowled a consistent spell, putting pressure on the two new batsmen at the crease.

In fact it was the first sustained pressure-spell from the Indian attack this series, with Ishant Sharma (0/40) and Umesh Yadav (1/55) also keeping things tight. The ground fielding also improved after a horrendous display in the morning.

But Smith and Marsh settled down to keep the scoreboard ticking, picking up the odd boundary when the opportunity presented. Just before the tea break, they helped bring up the 150-mark in the 52nd over, and then their 50-run stand six overs later.