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Superb batting by Cheteshwar Pujara and Wriddhiman Saha coupled with excellent bowling by Ravindra Jadeja put India in a strong position on the fourth day of the third cricket Test against Australia here on Sunday.

Pujara scored a double-century and Saha notched up a ton as the duo produced a partnership of 199 runs to enable India declare their first innings at 603/9 for a lead of 152 runs.

Opener Murali Vijay scored 82, while Ravindra Jadeja remained unbeaten at 54.

For Australia, pacer Pat Cummins bagged four wickets, while left-arm spinner Steve O’Keefe took three wickets.

Australia had scored 451 in their first innings.

Jadeja then claimed the wickets of David and Nathan Lyon as Australia struggled to 23/2 in their second innings at the end of the day’s play.

Following is the scoreboard at the end of the fourth day’s play in the third cricket Test match between India and Australia here on Sunday.

Australia 1st innings: 451 all out

India 1st innings: overnight 360/6
Lokesh Rahul c Wade b Cummins 67
Murali Vijay st Wade b O’Keefe 82
Cheteshwar Pujara c Maxwell b Lyon 202
Virat Kohli c Smith b Cummins 6
Ajinkya Rahane c Wade b Cummins 14
Karun Nair b Hazlewood 23
Ravichandran Ashwin c Wade b Cummins 3
Wriddhiman Saha c Maxwell b O’Keefe 117
Ravindra Jadeja not out 54
Umesh Yadav c Warner b O’Keefe 16
Ishant Sharma not out 0

Extras (b 14, lb 5) 19
Total (9 wickets dec; 210 overs) 603

Fall of wickets: 1-91 (Rahul, 31.2 overs), 2-193 (Vijay, 70.4), 3-225 (Kohli, 80.4), 4-276 (Rahane, 91.2), 5-320 (Nair, 107.4), 6-328 (Ashwin, 115.4), 7-527 (Pujara, 193.2), 8-541 (Saha, 196.1), 9-595 (Yadav, 208.2)

Bowling:
Josh Hazlewood 44-10-103-1
Pat Cummins 39-10-106-4
Steve O’Keefe 77-17-199-3
Nathan Lyon 46-2-163-1
Glenn Maxwell 4-0-13-0

Australia second innings:
David Warner b Jadeja 14
Matt Renshaw not out 7
Nathan Lyon b Jadeja 2

Extras 0
Total (2 wickets; 7.2 overs) 23

Fall of wickets: 1-17 (Warner, 5.1 overs), 2-23 (Lyon, 7.2).

Bowling
Ravichandran Ashwin 4-0-17-0
Ravindra Jadeja 3.2-1-6-2

Earlier, Cheteshwar Pujara and Wriddhiman Saha helped India get closer to taking the lead with superlative batting as the hosts posted 435/6, 16 runs behind Australia’s 451 at lunch on the fourth day of the third Test here on Sunday.

The two stitched together an unbeaten 107-run stand for the seventh wicket, with Pujara batting on 164 and Saha on 59. This is the highest run partnership in the innings.

Both the batsmen survived two LBW appeals as they were on the right side of their respective DRS calls.

Pujara, who has now batted 530 minutes playing 434 balls, became the first Indian to face more than 400 balls in a Test innings at home since V.V.S. Laxman in 2001.

Throughout his marathon stay at the crease, Pujara was involved in all six partnerships barring the opening stand of 91 runs between K.L. Rahul and Murali Vijay.

The Saurashtra right-hander, who was rock solid on the backfoot, scored most runs off left-arm spinner Steve O’Keefe taking 52 runs from 177 deliveries hitting him for seven fours.

But what got captain Virat Kohli smiling was the fact that India got both their reviews right on the money. First Saha was given out when he was batting on 19 and the score was 362/6.

But after the diminutive wicketkeeper-batsman went upstairs, replays showed the ball was missing leg stump, leaving Aussies’ wrecker in chief Pat Cummins (4/71) high and dry.

Pujara was next, taking DRS to a Nathan Lyon delivery which pitched on off stump and turned tad too much to miss the leg, forcing umpire Ian Gould to reverse his original decision.

The rub of the green continued going India’s way as in the next over, visiting stumper Mathew Wade grassed a Saha cut off O’Keefe.

Either side of all this, Saha swept, drove and even hit a six to bring up his first half century against Australia.

Saha’s innings was laced with four fours and a six. The Bengal stumper, like Pujara, also took a liking to O’Keefe scoring 24 runs off 52 balls from his overs with three fours coming in the way also.

Pujara was an epitome of concentration as he brought up his 150 in typical fashion, stealing a run of a defensive jab.

Shortly before the interval, Lyon again appealed and then referred, this time for caught behind when Saha executed a sweep shot.

But replays found no evidence of contact leaving the visitors more frustrated.

First Published | 19 March 2017 12:15 PM
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