India 3/216 ( VVS Laxman 109, R Dravid 53) trail Australia 463 (A Symonds 162 no, G B Hogg 79, B Lee 59, R Ponting 55, A Kumble 4/106, R P Singh 4/124) by 247 runs with 7 wickets in hand.
Australia won the first session and the last few minutes of today's play. India won the rest, which does not give them the upper hand, but, with rain forecast ("showers in the vicinity" as Yahoo weather puts it) a draw looks possible.
In the morning session the Australian batting machine, represented by Andrew Symonds, Brett Lee and, briefly, Mitchell Johnson, piled on another 87 runs in 22.3 overs. Symonds 's 162 no/226b (18x4, 2x 6) confirmed his standing as a big occasion Test match batter while Lee's 59/121b (10x4) showed once again that he is probably the best Test no 9 in world cricket at present.
The Indian innings began with an echo of Melbourne: Wasim Jaffer bowled Lee for 3; 1/8. I expected the others to follow fairly closely on his heels, but it didn't happen. VVS Laxman stroked his way to a third consecutive century at Sydney with an ebullient 109/142b (18x4) while Rahul Dravid plodded to a valuable if rarely eyecatching 53/160b ( nine 4s meant that his other 17 runs came from 151b). The pair added 175 before both were dismissed within 7 balls, leaving their team precariously poised at 3/185. A circumspect Sachin Tendulkar and a more forceful Saurav Ganguly steadied the boat somewhat and took the score to 216 without further loss.
India still have a long way to go to trouble Australia, but at least the match is set up as a contest. The possibility of Tendulkar and Ganguly jointly or severally putting the Australian attack to the sword is something which will keep me glued to the TV tomorrow.