Hyderabad: Cheteshwar Pujara struck his second Test double century to ensure a huge first-innings lead as hosts India took a stranglehold of the second cricket Test against a hapless Australia here Monday.
Pujara's masterly knock of 204 and his record 370-run partnership with Murali Vijay (167) helped India pile up a commanding 503, giving the hosts a lead of 266 runs on the third day at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.
Such was the impact of the Pujara-Vijay effort that India managed to cross the 500-run mark despite losing their last nine wickets for only 116 runs.
With a huge cushion under their belt, off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin came out all guns blazing, dismissing David Warner (26) and Phillip Hughes (0) in quick succession as Australia finished the day at a shaky 74 for two in their second innings.
Both Warner and Hughes were guilty of trying to sweep Ashwin deliveries, which pitched on the leg-stump before disturbing their stumps.
At the close of play, Australia required another 192 runs to avoid an innings defeat, and Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Co going 2-0 up in the four-match series seemed inevitable.
With still two more days to go, the question now is not how but when will India wrap up the match.
While the second day totally belonged to Vijay and Pujara, the duo did its bit on the third day as they frustrated a lacklustre Australian attack which looked clueless and waiting for the batsmen to make mistakes.
While Vijay hit 23 boundaries and two sixes in his 361-ball knock, Team India's newest 'run-machine', Pujara's magnificent knock, spanning 341 balls, was laced with 30 boundaries and a six.