Plot watch - Ranchi pitch continues to behave itself
Standard, slow Indian Test-match pitch with something in it for everyone: fact.
Stitched-up, tailor-made, doctored, raging, cracking dustbowl, which spits venom like a basilisk: alternative fact.
After 177.3 overs of competitive Test cricket, Steven Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Ravindra Jadeja, India's openers and Australia's fast bowlers deserve all the headlines. The pitch does not. For starters, it has produced the longest innings of the series yet, as Smith and Co posted 451.
India followed up with a 91-run opening partnership, without being put under any serious pressure by Australia's spin attack. If they had any trouble dealing with the Australian bowling, it was because of the steep bounce the pace bowlers extracted from the pitch, and a testing spell of reverse swing from Josh Hazlewood after tea.
As if to mock all the talk about a possible lack of bounce, the only Indian wicket on the day fell to a perfectly directed Cummins bouncer. Otherwise, it was normal service for the best part of the day, and any misbehaviour from the track was a rare, countable-with-one-hand exception. What will day three hold?
For a while, KL Rahul and Pat Cummins had a duel going on, starting with the Indian opener giving him a brief glare after flicking one down the leg side for four. Cummins then treated him to some chin music, with steep rising ones directed at his head. He eventually came back to snare a well-set Rahul with a well-directed slower bouncer. Otherwise, this was a calm yet competitive day of Test cricket by this series' lofty standards of punching and counterpunching.
A Ctrl+F on ESPNcricinfo's ball-by-ball commentary for "DRS", "review" and other such terms returned a grand total of zero results until the penultimate over of the day; then, Australia lodged an entry in the book of unsuccessful DRS referrals, calling for a review against M Vijay after significant deliberation. It returned nothing more than a flat line on the snickometer, and life moved on.