INDORE, India (Reuters) -Cheteshwar Pujara kept India alive in the third test against Australia after the touring side claimed a handy first-innings lead of 88 on day two of the contest in Indore on Thursday.
Australia lost their last six wickets for just 11 runs to be all out for 197 in reply to India's first-innings 109 on a raging turner at the Holkar Cricket Stadium.
India slumped to 54-3 in their second innings before Pujara, batting on 36, steadied the ship and guided them to 79-4 at tea.
Shreyas Iyer was yet to open his account and India were still nine runs behind at the break.
Earlier, Australia looked in command at 186-4 and there was no sign of their impending collapse with Cameron Green and Peter Handscomb looking rather comfortable against the spinners.
After an opening hour of risk-free accumulation of runs, both the batsmen fell in successive overs, which triggered a collapse.
Ravichandran Ashwin (3-44) induced an inside edge from Handscomb and Iyer took a sharp catch at short leg to break the dour fifth-wicket stand.
Handscomb, who was trying to defend the ball, soaked up 98 deliveries for his 19.
Green fell for 21 in the next over, trapped lbw by Umesh Yadav, who generated enough reverse swing to trouble the Australian tail.
Both Mitchell Starc and Todd Murphy lost their off-stumps to the seamer who finished with figures of 3-12.
Nathan Lyon (3-27) rattled India early in their second innings dismissing both the openers, Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma.
Matt Kuhnemann removed Virat Kohli (13) and Ravindra Jadeja's endless blocking did not work either but Pujara arrested the slide with a judicious mix of caution and calculated aggression.
India are 2-0 ahead in the four-test series for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Robert Birsel)