Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane, the pair of captain and his deputy, led India's charge on Day 2 of the second Test and propelled them to 172/3 at stumps, trailing Australia by 154 runs in Perth on Saturday. Earlier, Ishant Sharma claimed four wickets as India bowled out Australia for 326. Pacers Umesh Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah took two wickets each, while all-rounder Hanuma Vihari chipped in with the scalps of Marcus Harris (70) and Shaun Marsh (45).
Starting the innings for India, openers KL Rahul and Murali Vijay failed to put up an impressive show. Vijay was dismissed for a zero, while Rahul made just two runs as Australia sent both the openers back to the pavilion inside the first six overs.
Captain Virat Kohli and Test specialist batsman Cheteshwar Pujara showed composure to rescue India from 8/2. Pujara, who was the only batsman to score a century in the gruelling Adelaide Test that India won by 31 runs, stood tall for a while to help India recover.
Mitchell Starc, who had earlier dismissed Vijay, struck again in the 39th over to claim the important wicket of Pujara. The right-hander made 24 runs off 103 runs and hit a single boundary.
It came seven overs after the tea break as Pujara glanced a delivery down leg only to be caught behind, as his 74-run partnership with Kohli for the third wicket came to an end.
Following the departure of Pujara, the captain-deputy pair of Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane made sure no wicket fell before stumps on the second day.
Kohli made 82 runs off 181 balls with the help of nine boundaries, while Rahane scored 51 off 103 balls, including six boundaries and a six.
Earlier, India were placed at six one at lunch with Starc bowling Murali Vijay for a 12-ball duck.
Starting from overnight 277/6, Australia added 49 runs to their total for the loss of four wickets. Tim Paine (38) and Pat Cummins (19) frustrated Indian bowling and enhanced their eighth wicket partnership to 59 runs.
In doing so, they took Australia past 300 in the 100th over. For their part, India were guilty of bowling too short again and there weren't enough full deliveries attacking the stumps or making batsmen play.
India were content with keeping a lid on the scoring as only 29 runs came in the first hour of play. They started the day's proceedings with Ishant and Mohammed Shami (0/80), with Umesh Yadav (2/78) starting as first change.
Jasprit Bumrah (2/53), who was India's standout bowler on day one, was the fourth to bowl in an inexplicable tactic from the skipper.
Finally, Yadav got the breakthrough with an over of full deliveries, knocking off Cummin's off-stump in the 105th. Two balls later, Bumrah trapped Paine lbw and the decision stayed despite a DRS review from the batsman. Nathan Lyon (9 not out) stayed unbeaten for the third innings in a row as he added quick-fire 16 runs with Mitchell Starc to push Australia to a healthy total on a tough wicket.
Ishant then finished off things with two wickets in two balls, with Starc and Josh Hazlewood (0) caught behind with some acrobatic help from Rishabh Pant.
(With PTI inputs)