Australian captain Steve Smith took one of the all-time great catches, as he used skill rather than words to try and turn the second test against India.

Resuming Day Three on 237-6, the tourists lost their last four wickets for just nine runs to finish with 276 in their first innings and enjoyed a first-innings lead of 87 runs.

At 84-1, India were edging ahead with the bookmakers midway through the middle session on day three, when Smith produced an extraordinary piece of athleticism, reminiscent of some of his show-stopping catches in the one-day series against New Zealand back in December.

Despite failing twice with the bat, counterpart Virat Kohli has had a major influence on the match on the back of the fierce, in-your-face sledging campaign he led against Smith and the Australians in the field.

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The relentless attack even prompted former Australian test wicketkeeper Ian Healy to declare he'd lost respect for Kohli over his complete lack of regard for his opponents, umpires and the spirit of the game.

However, Smith preferred to let his hands do the talking, launching full-stretch to his right at slip, off the bowling of Steve O'Keefe, to dismiss danger man Lokesh Rahul for 51.

Smith had earlier put down a key chance off Nathan Lyon's bowling, where he couldn't grasp an edge from Cheteshwar Pujara, low and to his left at first slip.

But in one moment, Smith showed his sheer class and, in the process, broke a key 45-run partnership between Rahul and Pujara.

Rahul looked stunned and commentators declared it a special piece of fielding.

"That's one of the best catches I've ever seen live," said former Aussie fast bowler Brett Lee on Star Sports.

Indian great Ravi Shastri agreed it was "one of the best catches you'll ever see".

Former test opener Matt Hayden marvelled at the athleticism required.

"That's a phenomenal catch at an absolute premium time," said Hayden. "The extra reach and ability for him to get his head in that position for a start gives him that extra stretch - Superman."

India ended the day at 213-4 and a lead of 126 runs.

Meanwhile, Healy launched a scathing attack on Kohli for his controversial sledging tactics in the first innings, labelling them disrespectful.

"The pressure is starting to tell on [Kohli]," Healy told Melbourne's SEN radio.

"I'm losing respect for him. He's not only now continuing his disrespect of the Australian players and umpires, but I think he's putting pressure on his own players now.

"I've said in the past, he's the best batsman I've ever seen. His feistiness and real aggression towards the opposition has been good [in the past], especially when he wasn't captain.

"It would lead his team with him. They're more timid than they look and they let on, the Indian cricketers, so Kohli's aggression was good for them.

"But I think it's not good for them anymore. He's really putting some pressure on [his players].

"You can read pressure all over Ravi Ashwin's face. I think there's massive cracks showing in [Kohli]. He's got to be a lot more respectful of his opponents.

"The stuff he did with Steve Smith was unacceptable."