INDvsAUS: Pujara, Saha bring India on top; Australia reels at 23/2
Ranchi: Riding on the back of a magnificent double century by Cheteshwar Pujara and a gritty hundred by Wriddhiman Saha, India piled up a huge first inning total of 603/9d in reply to Australia's first inning total of 451, taking a handsome lead of 152 runs in third of the four-Test series at the JSCA International Stadium here on Sunday.
The hosts declared the inning with just around 10 overs remaining on the fourth day of play. At Stumps, Australia was 23/2, as they lost their opener David Warner (13) and night-watchman Nathan Lyon (2) early to Ravindra Jadeja. Matt Renshaw (3*) remained unbeaten at the end.
Ravindra Jadeja also completed a quick half-century and remained unbeaten at 54 runs off 55 balls with 5 fours and 2 sixes. Earlier, Pujara perfectly exhibited his excellence by facing 525 balls for his 202-run inning which ensured India reaches into an unbeatable position in the match.
He decorated his double century with 21 flourishing boundaries. He was well accompanied by Saha, who kept the Aussie bowlers in check and completed his third Test century, during their 199-run stand for the seventh wicket. He scored 117 runs off 233 balls, with 8 fours and a six.
Playing 525 deliveries for his 202-run knock, he broke the record of ‘The Wall’ Rahul Dravid, who had earlier faced the most number of balls for India in an inning (495 balls against Pakistan at Rawalpindi in 2004). This is Pujara's third double century and the batsman has a healthy average of 51.93 in Test Cricket.
On the other hand, a gritty and timely century has also come from wicket-keeper batsman Wriddhiman Saha's bat who found ropes seven times along with a biggie in his 106-run knock. Both Pujara and Saha have shared a partnership of 199 runs.
Earlier, India ended Day 3 at a score of 360/6. Classy Pujara completed his 11th Test ton to register his name as the only batsman to hit century in the maiden Test of four venues - Indore, Rajkot, Vizag and Ranchi. The greats like Richard Headley, Patsy Hendren, Steve Waugh, Sachin Tendulkar, Jacques Kallis, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Simon Katich are the other who have done the same on three venues.
Patt Cummins was the leading wicket taker from Australia’s side with bowling figures of 4/59. Steve O’Keefe bagged three, while Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon picked one wicket each.
Earlier on Day 2, Kangaroos posted 451 runs in the lights of Steven Smith (178) and Glenn Maxwell’s (107) brilliance.