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Ton-up Rohit steers India into lead in first Australia Test

India's captain Rohit Sharma plays a shot during the second day of the first Test. ©AFP

Nagpur (India) (AFP) - Skipper Rohit Sharma hit an unbeaten 118 to defy Australia's spinners on a turning Nagpur pitch as India took a first-innings lead in the opening Test on Friday.

The hosts reached 226-5 at tea on day two in response to Australia's 177, a lead of 49 runs.

The classy Rohit, who recorded his ninth Test hundred, was batting alongside Ravindra Jadeja, on 34, with the pair on an unbeaten stand of 58 at the break.

Australia's debutant spinner Todd Murphy took four of the five wickets to fall including star batsman Virat Kohli, caught behind for 12 soon after lunch.

Senior Australia spinner Nathan Lyon spoiled Twenty20 sensation Suryakumar Yadav's Test debut after he bowled the batsman on eight to put India in a spot at 168-5.

But Rohit stood firm and bravely handled the spinners to reach triple figures with a boundary off Murphy, taking off his helmet and raising his bat to the cheering Nagpur crowd.

The captain found an able partner in the left-handed Jadeja, who soldiered on after surviving a few close calls including an lbw appeal by Murphy.

Murphy, an off-spinner who claimed KL Rahul as his first Test wicket on Thursday, trapped Ravichandran Ashwin lbw -- a decision successfully reviewed by Australia -- and got Cheteshwar Pujara caught at short fine leg in the first session.

Rohit started cautiously on his overnight 56 before he smacked fast bowler and captain Pat Cummins for six over deep-square leg and hit another over the fence from Lyon.

He mixed the right dose of caution and aggression and saw off another session of play, despite losing wickets at the other end.

Jadeja was the home side's hero with the ball on Thursday.

The spinner returned figures of 5-47 day against the tourists, who had elected to bat first at the start of the four-match series but were all out shortly after tea.

Images had showed Jadeja rubbing a mystery substance on his finger, raising the possibility of ball tampering. 

Indian team management told AFP that Jadeja applied a pain-relief cream to his index finger and nothing untoward had taken place. 

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