Hyderabad, Mar 3: It was a Super Sunday for Team India. Cheteshwar Pujara (162 not out) and Murali Vijay (129 not out) scored centuries to power India into a commanding position against Australia on the second day of the second Test here at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.
Pujara notched up his fourth Test hundred while Vijay completed his second, both against Australia. The pair set a new record for second wicket partnership against Australia by going past the previous mark of 224 between Sunil Gavaskar and Mohinder Amarnath in Sydney in 1986.
At stumps, India were 311/1 in 93 overs with a lead of 74 runs. Australia bowlers toiled hard for two full sessions without a wicket. The only success of the day came in the first hour of play when Virender Sehwag was out for 6 in the innings' eighth over and day's fifth. After that the visitors were left chasing leather for 85 overs. Today, India scored 306/1 making it one of the most dominating day's play against Australia.
Vijay and Pujara have closed in on a triple-ton partnership at close of play. In 85 overs they have batted together so far, they have added 294 runs at 3.45 runs per over. Pujara's 162 off 251 had 25 boundaries and a six while Vijay's 288-ball 129 was studded with 17 fours and two sixes.
The right-handers dominated Australian bowling which looked ordinary. Pujara reached the three-figure mark with a double to third man off Glenn Maxwell in the 73rd over. Vijay brought up his 100 with a four off Xavier Doherty in the 78th over. Soon India moved into the lead, going past Australia's 237.
This was also Pujara's second hundred at this venue. He had hit 159 against New Zealand in August, 2012.
Pujara's appetite for big scores is well known in domestic cricket. The number three batsman, who replaced Rahul Dravid, has shown the same hunger in international cricket as well. Today's score is the third 150 plus mark among his four centuries. His previous best were 206 not out, 159 and 135.
After reaching hundred, Pujara accelerated. He went to 150 with a hook over the boundary off Peter Siddle in the 88th over. He moved from 100 to 150 in 42 balls. He had a century off 188 balls and 150 in 230 deliveries.
Australia took the second new ball soon it was available after the 80th over. But that did not help them as runs continued to flow.
Vijay made the most of his comeback to the Indian team after twin failures in Chennai. Right from the start he was cautious. He took 141 balls for his fifty and then got to hundred off 245 deliveries.
With three days remaining, India are firm favourites to seal the match. It will take a herculean effort for Australia to come back into this Test.
At tea, India 160/1
Vijay (73 not out) and Pujara (73 not out) switched gears in the second session to put India in a strong position. The duo powered India to 160/1 in 63 overs at tea.
After a slow start to the day in the morning session, Vijay and Pujara were quick to get to the next level in the post-lunch play. They scored 106 in 33 overs compared to 49/1 in 27 overs in first session. Both batsmen reached to half centuries. Vijay was the first there, bringing up his third Test fifty with a six off Doherty. Pujara brought up his second in Test cricket with a boundary off debutant offspinner Maxwell.
Doherty and Maxwell bowled together but barring a few deliveries that turned from the former, it was easy for Indian batsmen. Both Vijay and Pujara were positive in their approach in the second session. So far, Vijay and Pujara have added 143 runs in 55 overs for the second wicket after the early loss of Virender Sehwag.
At lunch, India 54/1
Australia struck early as they dismissed Virender Sehwag for six runs. At lunch, India made a slow progress to reach 54/1 in 30 overs. They still trail by 183 runs.
India resumed at 5/0 and added 12 more runs when Peter Siddle removed Sehwag. The Delhi opener edged a ball to wicketkeeper Matthew Wade. India were 17/1 in the eighth over.
After Sehwag's dismissal, Vijay and Pujara took a cautious approach and ensure that India did not lose any more wickets till the lunch interval.
Vijay was 29 not out off 106 balls with four boundaries while Pujara was unbeaten on 15 off 55 balls with one boundary. In the first two hours of play this morning, India managed 49 runs in 27 overs.
The bulk of the bowling in the first session was shared by fast bowlers. Left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty bowled five overs for 12 runs.
On the first day, bowlers had put India on top as they restricted Australia to 237/9 and captain Michael Clarke made a brave declaration.
India lead the four-match series 1-0, having won the first Test in Chennai by eight wickets.