Cheteshwar Pujara rescues India with fighting ton in Test

Reuters, ADELAIDE, Australia

Fri, Dec 07, 2018 - Page 16

Cheteshwar Pujara yesterday struck a defiant century in an Adelaide Oval furnace to rescue India after Australia’s pacemen threatened to dominate day one of the series-opening Test.

The India No. 3 was a rock as his partners crumbled around him, pushing India to 250-9 at the close with a brutal assault on the second new ball.

Unbroken by fierce pace bowling, Pujara was dismissed by a piece of brilliant fielding, with Pat Cummins throwing down the stumps to leave the batsman well short of his ground.

Tail-ender Mohammed Shami survived to stumps on 6, with Jasprit Bumrah the last batsman to resume on day two.

It was nonetheless a positive finish for Virat Kohli’s side, who had slumped to 86-5 after lunch, falling to a combination of dreadful shotmaking and Australia’s fierce pace after winning the toss.

Pujara anchored vital partnerships with young wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant and Ravichandran Ashwin before completing his 16th Test century with a flick off his pads after scoring his 5,000th run in Tests.

India resumed on 143-6 after lunch with seamer Cummins having Ashwin edge to the slips and Mitchell Starc bowling Ishant Sharma for 4.

Spinner Nathan Lyon struck twice to expose India’s tail after lunch, having Rohit Sharma slog-sweep to a fielder for 37 before Pant fell for 25 feathering an edge behind.

India had lost 41-4 in the morning to Australia’s fired-up seamers, with Usman Khawaja taking a brilliant one-handed catch to remove Kohli for 3 after both the openers fell cheaply.