India hit back with three wickets but Smith bats on in Sydney
SYDNEY: India hit back with three wickets before lunch on the second day of the third test on Friday but Steve Smith looked in ominous form on 76 not out as Australia reached the break on 249 for five.
Spinner Ravindra Jadeja scalped the initial wickets for the tourists under cloudy skies at Sydney Cricket Ground, first breaking a potentially dangerous partnership by dismissing Marnus Labuschagne for 91 before removing Matthew Wade for 13.
Paceman Jasprit Bumrah then pitched in with the new ball to trap all-rounder Cameron Green lbw for a 21-ball duck and bring an end to the extended session.
Labuschagne had appeared to be cruising towards his fifth test century when he was undone by a little extra bounce and edged the ball to India skipper Ajinkya Rahane in the slips.
His partnership with Smith was worth 100 runs which, with a neat symmetry, was exactly the same number of runs as he put on for the second wicket with debutant Will Pucovski on Thursday.
Smith's stand with Wade had totalled only 26 runs when his partner stepped aggressively down the track but only managing to get a leading edge which ballooned the ball to Bumrah at mid-on.
Labuschagne's dismissal leaves Australia still without a century in the series, which is tied 1-1 after the first two tests in Adelaide and Melbourne.
Smith, looking to have rediscovered his form after scoring only 10 runs in his previous four innings, will do his best to remedy that when he resumes for the second session.
There was an early start on Friday after four hours of play were lost to rain on day one and the weather again disrupted the action with two brief delays as showers swept across the ground.
The overcast conditions contributed to a muted atmosphere at a ground sparsely populated by a socially-distanced crowd of fewer than 10,000 fans all obliged to wear face masks.