RANCHI, India, March 17 (Reuters) - Glenn Maxwell scored his maiden test century and his captain Steve Smith an unbeaten 153 as Australia reached 401 for seven at lunch on the second day of the third test against India on Friday.
Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja claimed three wickets in the opening session, including two in three balls, to somewhat lift the mood for the hosts, who were missing the inspiring presence of injured skipper Virat Kohli.
There was more application than inspiration from Maxwell as the normally swashbuckling batsman assiduously inched his way to becoming the second Australian cricketer after Shane Watson to score a century in all three formats of the international game.
Better known for his exploits in the shorter formats, the 28-year-old grasped his chance of a first test outing in more than two years to build a series-high 191-run partnership with his skipper.
Smith was still batting at the break with Steve O‘Keefe on one at the other end and the Australians would have headed to lunch more than satisfied with the highest innings total of the series so far.
His counterpart Kohli, meanwhile, stayed put in the dressing room to give himself more time to recover from a shoulder injury he suffered on Thursday.
After Australia had resumed on 299-4, paceman Umesh Yadav broke Maxwell’s bat into two with the very first delivery but could not otherwise unsettle the batsman.
After reaching his hundred with a fierce cut that flew through the slips for his ninth boundary, Maxwell looked quite overwhelmed by the achievement as he embraced Smith with a huge bear hug, took off his helmet and kissed the badge.
He added four more runs to his score before edging Jadeja to wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha for 104. Maxwell also hit two sixes and faced 185 balls in his four-hour vigil, the longest he has spent on the crease in an international game.
Smith, who crossed 5,000 test runs in Australia’s 800th test, the first ever at the Jharkhand State Cricket Association Stadium, was a picture of solidity at the other end.
His 19th test century, which contained 16 boundaries, is already the highest score by an Australia captain in India, eclipsing predecessor Michael Clarke’s 130 in Chennai four years ago.
Jadeja struck twice in his 41st over, dismissing Matthew Wade for 37 and the scoreless Pat Cummins, who was playing his first test innings after more than five years in the wilderness.
The four-test series is all square at 1-1. (Editing by Nick Mulvenney)