India strode to 2-230 for a commanding 431-run lead over Australia at lunch on day four of the second Test in Mohali.
Resuming at 0-100, openers Virender Sehwag (90) and Gautam Gambhir (104) pushed their stand to 182 in just 39 overs before Sehwag was dismissed by debutant Peter Siddle (1-62).
India’s acting captain Mahendra Dhoni made a statement of sorts by promoting himself in the order to No. 3 and making an unbeaten, rapid fire 26 up to the interval.
Gambhir’s century was his first against Australia and a just reward after his innings of 67 on the first day went a long way to setting the game up for India.
All that remains now is for Dhoni to decide how much time he wants to bowl the Australians out, and whether he thinks a few more runs are necessary to snuff the visitors out of the contest completely.
Brett Lee was a curious absentee from the bowling crease this morning, with captain Ricky Ponting preferring to use part-timer Mike Hussey in the lead-up to lunch.
Lee has had an ordinary series thus far, returning total figures of 3-198 from 67 overs.
Allrounder Shane Watson had said the tourists needed to tighten up in the field after allowing the Indians to heap 100 runs in 23 overs to stumps last night, but his rhetoric had no practical back-up this morning as Gambhir and Sehwag continued on their merry way.
Cameron White (1-30) was quickly withdrawn from the attack after the batsmen helped themselves to 15 from his second over of the morning, while the pacemen fared little better as one 10 over stretch gave up 60 runs.
Sehwag, though, was living dangerously as he neared a century.
Mitchell Johnson was wrongly denied Sehwag’s wicket when a clear edge through to Brad Haddin was not spotted by umpire Asad Rauf.
Ponting was angered by the non-decision, and seemed to direct some of his fury at Sehwag for not walking.
The batsman was not to reach three figures, however, getting an even thicker edge to a Siddle delivery to be caught behind three overs later.
Dhoni signalled an intent to keep things moving apace by sliding up the order – ahead of three former captains in Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly – and played with his customary attacking intent.
Gambhir went to his hundred by flicking White through the legside for four, but was caught at mid off four balls later.