India got themselves back in the game with four wickets in the morning session on day two, but Australia maintained their upper hand in the World Test Championship final by reaching 422 for seven at lunch, following Steve Smith's 31st hundred. (More Cricket News)
Resuming the day at 327 for three, Travis Head (163 off 174 balls) and Steve Smith (121 off 268) walked into the middle under bright sunshine at The Oval on Thursday.
Smith, who was on 95 overnight, got two freebies on the pads from Mohammed Siraj in the first over of the day and he happily put them away for consecutive boundaries to complete his seventh hundred in England and third at the venue.
India were guilty of not using the short ball tactic early enough on the opening day, but Siraj went for that from the get on Thursday. Mohammed Shami too tried to mix it up with an odd bouncer, but was not able to get the same zip from the surface as much as Siraj did.
While Smith was not bothered by India's tactic, Head looked in a bit of discomfort.
Siraj banged one short into his body in the sixth over of the day and Head walked across the stumps to pull it, but ended up edging it to wicketkeeper K S Bharat.
Cameron Green was the next to go as he went for an expansive drive off a full ball from Shami and ended up being caught at second slip by an alert Shubman Gill.
The prized wicket of Smith came out of nowhere as he dragged an innocuous ball from Shardul Thalur back on to his stumps. It was Thakur's first ball of the day, highlighting his uncanny ability to provide a breakthrough out of the blue.
A brilliant piece of fielding from substitute Axar Patel got India their fourth wicket of the day as his one-handed direct hit from mid off left Mitchell Starc well short of his ground.
Though the sunny weather has made the pitch easier for batting, there still is enough help for the fast bowlers.