Mahendra Singh Dhoni
India skipper MS Dhoni will be happy with his side's performance against Australia after the second day of the third Test in MohaliReuters

For the first session it looked like the Australian batsmen would finally catch fire in the series, before a now all too familiar collapse gave India the first day's honours in the third Test at Mohali.

The Aussie openers Ed Cowan and David Warner put together a century partnership, but regular wickets following the loss of Warner saw India claw their way back with the visitors closing their day on 273 for seven from 104 overs.

It all began splendidly for Australia, who won the toss and chose to bat first, with their openers doing exactly what they should have done in the last four innings, which is give this inexperienced batting lineup a good start at the top.

Ed Cowan and David Warner, clearly loving the manner in which the ball was coming onto the bat, played well to set Australia up for a big total.

Warner (71, 147 balls, 9x4) began in ruthless fashion, as is his wont, smashing a couple of boundaries in the first over of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, before taking his time to get his eye in. Slowly but surely the duo built that ever so crucial opening partnership which a frustrated India, who brought in Shikhar Dhawan and Pragyan Ojha for Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh respectively, looking for a way into the game.

Warner was enjoying the skiddy nature of the pitch, which Dhoni said would aid the spinners eventually, with the left-hander playing his shots on the up and getting much of his boundaries in that vein.

The opener's time at the crease was not unblemished though, with a couple of inside edges and lbw appeals nearly ending his stay on the crease a little prematurely.

However, he hung on to battle it with the dogged Cowan as MS Dhoni looked to his spinners to get the breakthrough.

However, there was no immediate magic from the likes of R Ashwin, with the Aussie duo taking their time and making sure they hit the bad balls to the boundary. A flat hit straight over Ashwin's head was one of the shots of the day from Warner as the Indian bowlers were left scratching their heads looking for the elusive first wicket.

Australia went into lunch right on top, with the score reading 109 for no loss.

A little while into the second session, though, India broke the partnership of 139 with Ravindra Jadeja striking. A little bit of indecision from Warner led to the left-hander inside-edge a delivery that bounced a little more than usual with Dhoni running up to take the catch after the ball looped up off the top of the batsman's pad.

The very next delivery saw Jadeja (three for 56) get the Australian captain out for the fourth time in the series, and it was a delivery to match the peach that the India left-arm spinner produced in the second innings in Hyderabad.

Jadeja drew Clarke forward with a perfect off-spinner, which pitched on off stump and left the batsman, with Dhoni, quick as lightning, knocking down the stumps with the Aussie skipper's foot out of the crease.

Phillip Hughes, not exactly a batsman you want to see playing spin too often, just about negotiated the hat-trick delivery, but it did not take too long for the left-hander to return to the pavilion.

Ojha fired a delivery outside leg stump, with Hughes (2) only managing to nick the ball to Dhoni, who completed a nice catch.

Steven Smith came in and produced a few one-day style shots, taking the game to the bowlers with some aggression. Cowan, at the other end, was happy to drop anchor and stay at the crease while his partner moved the scoreboard along.

Australia went into Tea on 180 for three from 72 overs, before India ended Cowan's stay six overs into the final session.

Ashwin picked up his first wicket of the match, enticing the edge off a nice off-spinner, with Virat Kohli completing the catch at slip the third time of asking -Kohli had dropped Cowan (86, 238 balls, 8x4) on two previous occasions in the day.

Brad Haddin hung around for a while, scoring 21 in 36, before falling prey to the reverse swinging Ishant Sharma (two for 41). The Indian fast bowler picked up two wickets in three balls, with Haddin falling first, unluckily playing on from a wide delivery.

Moises Henriques, so impressive in the first Test, only lasted two deliveries, with a nice in-swinger catching the all-rounder unawares. Peter Siddle followed soon after, trapped in front if the wicket to the ever-impressive Jadeja.

Smith (58 in 137) played some nice shots on his way to a half century with Mitchell Starc giving him company at the close of play.

Australia will be wondering, though, what might have been had they shown a little more application, as India now look to press forward their advantage in the third day.

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