Mon, Mar 20, 2017 - Page 11 News List

Pujara smashes 202 to put India on top


A 199-run seventh-wicket partnership between Cheteshwar Pujara and Wriddhiman Saha gave India a 152-run lead after they declared their first innings at 603-9 against Australia yesterday.

Australia were put in for eight overs until stumps, a spell that cost them with the tourists at 23-2 when play ended.

Matt Renshaw was unbeaten on 7.

Ravindra Jadeja (2-6) bowled David Warner (14) in the sixth over with a delivery that turned in sharply after hitting the rough outside the left-hander’s off-stump. He also bowled nightwatchman Nathan Lyon (2) in the final over of the day.

“Obviously, we want to save the game. It was tough to lose two wickets tonight. We have practiced different scenarios in Dubai and you need to do that when coming to India,” Australia coach Darren Lehmann said. “So tomorrow we have to put into practice what we did there and deliver on the big stage.”

The dismissals came after both Pujara (202) and Saha (117) reached their individual milestones post tea.

First, Saha got to his third Test century off 214 balls, then Pujara scored his third double-century off 521 balls. It was also his second double-century against Australia, after 204 runs in Hyderabad in 2013.

Thereafter, the duo looked for some quick runs. The change in approach did not work, with Pujara playing a loose shot and getting caught at short mid-wicket off Nathan Lyon (1-163) in the 194th over.

In all, Pujara faced 525 balls and hit 21 fours, batting for a staggering 675 minutes.

Saha was out three overs later, caught at cover off Steve O’Keefe (3-199).

“When the ball gets softer, it plays better. So the batsmen will keep it in mind tomorrow. There are no real dings in the track as Pujara and Saha showed today. If India can bowl 10 balls like they did with one off the rough to Warner, then so be it,” Lehmann said.

Umesh Yadav (16), dropped early at mid-on off Josh Hazlewood (1-103), added 54 runs with Ravindra Jadeja (54 not out) for the ninth wicket.

That partnership hurt Australia as Jadeja brought up his sixth Test half-century off only 51 balls. In all, he hit five fours and two sixes.

Yadav was last man dismissed in the 209th over, as India declared shortly afterward with a handy lead.

Pat Cummins finished with 4-106.

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