Ranchi : Glenn Maxwell staged a grand comeback by scoring his maiden hundred before Ravindra Jadeja struck thrice to leave Australia at 401 for seven at lunch on day two of the third Test against India here today.
India fought back towards the end of the morning session but Australia still went into the break in a strong position with captain Steven Smith standing strong at 153.
Maxwell (104) was caught behind off Jadeja soon after reaching the three-figures to end a stellar 191-run stand with his skipper. The others who fell to Jadeja were Matthew Wade (37) and Pat Cummins (0) as the visitors collected 102 runs in the session.
Shedding his T20 specialist tag, Maxwell built innings with tremendous restraint and punished the loose deliveries in his 185-ball innings comprising nine fours and couple of sixes.
Smith, who was on an overnight 117, continued from where he left off, eclipsing eclipsing Michael Clarke’s 130 for the highest score by the visiting Australian captain.
After Maxwell’s departure, Wade and Smith forged a quick 64-run sixth wicket partnership.
But Jadeja put the brakes on with his twin blow in three balls to dismiss Wade and Cummins 10 minutes before lunch to infuse some energy into the Indian camp.
Introduced in the sixth over, Jadeja (4/106) bowled a non-stop spell and took all the three wickets in the first session.
The Jharkhand State Cricket Association International Stadium Complex track looked perfect for batting as Indian camp looked dispirited in absence of skipper Virat Kohli who remained away from the field, recovering from a shoulder strain.
Kohli’s deputy Ajinkya Rahane led the team and made some smart bowling changes but they struggled to get the first breakthrough of the day after the Aussie resumed on 299/4 with Smith and Maxwell holding fort.
Maxwell was watchful initially and conceded a maiden to Jadeja on 99 but in the next over he powerfully cut a widish delivery off Umesh Yadav through slips to get to complete a memorable century.
Maxwell is now the 13th player to score centuries in all the three formats of the game.
Having played his last of the three Tests in October 2014, Maxwell made a comeback in place of an injured Mitchell Marsh and made full use of the opportunity, becoming the second Aussie after Shane Watson to post centuries in all formats.
His partnership with skipper Smith was a series-high 191, as Australia took a giant leap in retaining the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with the four-match series locked 1-1.
Before play started, Kohli was seen joining his teammates at the warm-up and had a long discussion with coach Anil Kumble and selector Devang Gandhi.
The skipper also had a light warm-up but was mostly seen in conversation with the coach.