Damien Martyn impressed with an assured innings of 71 before retiring to give Australia's lower order some batting practice as the visitors went for lunch at 282 for six on the second day of the three-day tour opener against Ranji Trophy champions Mumbai here today.
The tourists, overnight 159 for three wickets in the first innings, put on 123 runs in 41 overs in the first session of play which was extended by half an hour to make up for time lost yesterday due to wet ground conditions. Play would be extended by another half an hour in the last session.
At the break, skipper Adam Gilchrist was unbeaten with an aggressive 32 that included two straight-driven sixes and one four with Brett Lee on 11.
The Aussies lost three wickets in the two-and-a-half hour session and barring Martyn the others got a start and then lost their way against the Mumbai spin duo of left-arm Nilesh Kulkarni and off-spinner Ramesh Powar.
The visitors, who lost the wickets of Justin Langer, Matthew Hayden and Simon Katich in the truncated days play yesterday, squandered those of Brad Hodge (30), Michael Clarke (10) and Shane Watson (0).
But they must have been pleased with the assured footwork of Martyn, who batted for close to three hours, faced 150 balls and struck five fours, against the slow bowlers on a wicket, which afforded sharp turn.
The right-hander, unbeaten on 28 last evening, completed his half-century with a classical on-driven four off home captain Sairaj Bahtule in 117 minutes and 102 balls.
Martyn was sure in going well back or well forward in tackling the spinners who troubled most others in the morning session. The list included the aggressive-looking Gilchrist too who edged Powar behind the stumps when on 3 but the ball hit the wicketkeeper on his shoulder and the edge fetched the left-hander some runs too.
Gilchrist, after being lucky early on, was looking in pretty good nick at the break. He smote Powar and Kulkarni for a six each over the straight field to make his intentions clear.
Earlier, overnight unbeaten batsmen Martyn and Hodge took the score past the 200 mark in the 14th over of the day without much bother, adding 60 runs for the fourth wicket, before the latter was snared by Powar with a sharply turning off break.
The batsman turned it straight into the hands of short-leg fielder Vinit Indulkar who later showed good reflexes to run out Michael Clarke when the batsman went forward to smother the spin of Kulkarni.
Kulkarni later got rid off Watson who had no clue to an arm ball and was trapped leg before. In the meantime, Martyn retired to the pavilion undefeated, the second Australian batsman to complete a half ton after Hayden's power-packed 67 yesterday, to provide a chance for the others to have time in the middle.
Barring a five-over spell from Ajit Agarkar in the first hour of play, the Mumbai attack revolved around the spin trio of Powar, Kulkarni and Bahutule in the opening session.