Pow­ers In­dia’s re­vival as hosts lead by 126 runs

New Straits Times - - Sport -

BATS­MAN Chetesh­war Pu­jara hit an un­beaten half-cen­tury to lead In­dia’s spir­ited fight­back against Aus­tralia on the third day of a grip­ping se­cond Test yes­ter­day.

The hosts were 213 for four at stumps, lead­ing Aus­tralia by 126 runs in their se­cond in­nings af­ter the tourists’ hopes of build­ing a big lead were un­der­mined by an out­stand­ing bowl­ing per­for­mance by Ravin­dra Jadeja.

Pu­jara on 79 and Ajinkya

Ra­hane on 40 were bat­ting at close of play.

The duo put to­gether a stub­born 93-run part­ner­ship for the fifth wicket to lift In­dia from a wob­bly 120-4 at Ban­ga­lore’s M Chin­naswamy Sta­dium.

Pu­jara led the way with his con­trolled knock as he kept a per­sis­tent Aus­tralian at­tack at bay, prompt­ing skip­per Steve Smith to ro­tate his bowl­ing op­tions.

Ra­hane was equally per­sis­tent in his re­solve to give the vis­i­tors a daunt­ing fourth in­nings chase as he hardly played a loose shot dur­ing his 105-ball stay.

The 29-yearold Pu­jara, who recorded his 14th Test fifty

in his 46th Test, cap­i­talised on a dropped chance by Smith at first slip off Nathan Lyon when he was on four.

Off-spin­ner Lyon, who had grabbed a ca­reer-best Test haul of 8-50 in the first in­nings, went wick­et­less on a day when In­dian spin­ner Jadeja claimed six wick­ets.

It was Aus­tralian seamer Josh Ha­zle­wood who rat­tled the In­dian top-or­der with his three wick­ets, in­clud­ing the prized scalp of skip­per Vi­rat Kohli in the af­ter­noon ses­sion.

Ha­zle­wood trapped Kohli lbw for 15 on a shoot­ing in­swinger and a re­view did not help the star bats­man

as he walked back to a stunned si­lence at Ban­ga­lore’s M Chin­naswamy Sta­dium.

In­dia’s move to pro­mote all­rounder Jadeja in the bat­ting or­der also back­fired when the left­hander was bowled by Ha­zle­wood for two to leave the hosts reel­ing at tea.

In­dia’s trou­ble started when opener Lokesh Rahul fell to lef­t­arm spin­ner Steve O’Keefe af­ter hit­ting a dom­i­nant 51 and hand­ing In­dia a good start.

Rahul, who top-scored with 90 in In­dia’s first in­nings, put on 45 with Pu­jara af­ter Ab­hi­nav Mukund (16) was bowled by Ha­zle­wood early in the lunch ses­sion.

O’Keefe lured Rahul into a drive out­side off stump and a div­ing Smith took a bril­liant one­handed catch at first slip.

In the morn­ing ses­sion, lef­t­arm spin­ner Jadeja re­turned with fig­ures of 6-63 to help dis­miss Aus­tralia for 276 in their first in­nings, a lead of 87.

Aus­tralia lead the four­match se­ries 1-0 af­ter hum­bling the hosts in the first match in Pune.


In­dia’s Chetesh­war Pu­jara plays a shot in their se­cond Test against Aus­tralia in Ban­ga­lore yes­ter­day.

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