May 28, 2017

Pujara steals show with 11th hundred, India trail by 91 runs

20 March 2017, 09:56 | Joan Schultz

"The way Marsh and Handscomb batted today was fantastic".

Resuming on the fifth and final day at the precarious position of 23/2, Matt Renshaw and Australian captain Steven Smith batted steadily in an effort to carry the visitors to safety.

"Credit to the groundsman, the wicket held together beautifully".

Short leg Karun Nair snatched at a half-chance when Handscomb was on six, while on 44 he survived a tight review and animated lbw appeal from Umesh Yadav. "There's always a little bit of tension when Australia and India are playing in Test matches". "We were happy that we got ourselves into a position where we could play for a win".

India on day four declared their first innings at 603 for 9 in reply to Australia's 451 and also managed to take two wickets at the end of day's play.

But Pujara, who scored a sublime 202 along with Saha's 117, was up to the task and used the classic retort to the touring tearaway when he was confronted on day four.

There was a late twist when Marsh and Glenn Maxwell departed in quick succession with Australia leading by only 38 with a minimum of seven overs remaining but India had run out of time to conjure a miracle.

At the end of the day, India were at 360/6 in 130 overs.

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Australia will have plenty of exhausted legs in the pavilion, with Steve O'Keefe having sent down a mammoth 77 overs, returning a manful three for 199, while seamers Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins bowled 44 and 39 respectively.

"If there's anything called momentum, it's with us": Steve Smith. Pujara and Vijay however carried on to take India past the 100 run mark and keep the initiative with the hosts.

India started the day at 120 for one, trailing Australia's first innings total by 331 more runs.

A bigger blow awaited Australia in the next over when Jadeja, who already has eight wickets in the match to go with an unbeaten fifty with the bat, spun one past Smith's advancing pad and uprooted the off-stump. The duo had a bust up when Renshaw moved away from the batting crease just as Ishant approached the bowling screen, citing movements in front of the sightscreen.

Left-arm spinner Jadeja relentlessly attacked the rough outside Renshaw's off-stump, while Ishant Sharma bowled to Smith with a seven-two off-side field.

He is the first Indian to face more than 400 balls in a Test innings at home since V.V.S. Laxman batted 452 deliveries during his 281-run knock against Australia during the Kolkata Test in 2001.

Rahul had been the aggressor in a 91-run opening stand although he and Murali Vijay, back in the team for his 50th Test after missing out in Bangalore because of a shoulder injury, did not take many risks. He tried to hook a short ball over the wicketkeeper and caught behind by Wade.

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