An impeccable century from Cheteshwar Pujara and a 82-run knock from Murali Vijay helped India reach a respectable 360/6 in reply to Australia’s 451 on day three of the third Test match here on Saturday.
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.
Earlier, Australia went wicket-less in the first two sessions of the day. They limped to stumps precariously placed at 2-23, a deficit of 129. India were 328 for six at that stage. In their three wins after losing the toss, they employed much the same modus operandi as they have in Ranchi. Saha’s third century came in his 34th innings, compared to Dhoni’s 62.
Looks unlikely but someone did say that cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties. “So tomorrow we have to put into practice what we did there and deliver on the big stage”.
“Once the ball gets a little bit softer it plays really well”. There are no real dings in the track as Pujara and Saha showed today.
Pujara’s grit, readiness to bat for long hours, and take a blow or two on his body for the team, makes his role one of the most vital ones for the Indian Test team and time and again he has proven that he is exactly that package. He did his job by protecting his captain from having to enter the fray with the crowd baying for wickets and India appealing for the every possibility of a dismissal.
Given eight overs to survive against R. Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja with a suddenly fizzing and biting new ball, Matthew Renshaw looked shaky but it was David Warner who fell, inside-edging Jadeja onto his stumps. Chopped and changed as best as they could in the conditions.
Pujara and Saha added 199 runs and recorded highest seventh-wicket stand for India against Australia, breaking the 69-year-old record of Hemu Adhikari and Vijay Hazare.
Team India is now playing the 3rd Test against Australia which has started in 16th March, 2017.
“I also told him to go and bowl the next ball”.
This was the type of scenario Australia’s brains trust had been dreading when they gambled on the highly talented but injury-prone Cummins. Pujara is the first to score over 2000 runs in an Indian first-class season. For the Indian team, and for Test cricket, Pujara being himself is important.
OUT! Marsh’s wonderful knock comes to an end on 53, caught in close to hand Jadeja his fourth. Both Marsh and Handscomb showcased exemplary patience and defensive skills to first take the visitors safely to lunch at 83/4 and then kept on chipping away at India’s lead all the while keeping their wickets safe.