Pa­tient In­dia buy time, take lead

Gritty Pu­jara digs in again as visitors ex­tend lead to 166 af­ter fin­ish­ing Day 3 on 151/3; Aus­tralia re­move Kohli to keep hopes alive

DNA Sunday (Mumbai) - - SCITE H - —PTI

Ade­laide: The sun took a break but In­dia shone to stay ahead of Aus­tralia in the open­ing Test af­ter spo­radic rain in­tru­sions, KL Rahul’s en­ter­prise and Chetesh­war Pu­jara’s ob­du­racy cul­mi­nated in a 166-run lead here Satur­day.

Vi­rat Kohli was dis­missed late in the fi­nal ses­sion as In­dia reached 151 for three at stumps on day three at the Ade­laide Oval.

The In­dian skip­per lunged for­ward to de­fend off Nathan Lyon (1-48) but was caught at short leg for an un­char­ac­ter­is­tic knock of 34 (104 balls). At close of play, Chetesh­war Pu­jara was un­beaten on 40 runs, while Ajinkya Ra­hane was bat­ting on 1 not out. In­dia led by 166 runs.

Post tea, Kohli and Pu­jara took their third-wicket part­ner­ship to 71 runs, al­beit it was low on strike-rate, com­ing off 197 balls.

Pu­jara sur­vived early in the last ses­sion, cour­tesy DRS again, as the ball seemed to miss the stumps on ac­count of bounce in the 40th over by Lyon.

At the other end, Kohli be­came the fourth In­dian bats­man af­ter Sachin Ten­dulkar, VVS Lax­man and Rahul Dravid to score 1000-plus runs in Test cricket against Aus­tralia.

The hosts though cut off most of his scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, and Kohli was happy to play for time as he didn’t dom­i­nate the bowl­ing for once. Their third-wicket part­ner­ship crossed 50 off 149 balls.

In­dia’s lead swelled past 150 shortly there­after, and just when it ap­peared to be smooth sail­ing for the visitors, Lyon struck to re­move Kohli be­fore stumps and put the match in bal­ance again.

Ear­lier, Rahul scored a quick-fire 44 off 67 balls as In­dia reached 86 for two at tea. Rain had fur­ther caused de­lays post lunch and an­other 23 min­utes were lost be­fore play could fi­nally get un­der­way, with 61 overs re­main­ing for the day.

As op­posed to the first in­nings, Rahul and M Vi­jay were more care­ful and ne­go­ti­ated the Aus­tralian pace bat­tery with­out much dis­com­fort. They left well and looked to cut out any high-risk shots as In­dia were placed at 19 for no loss in 10 overs.

Sud­denly, Rahul cut loose and smacked Pat Cum­mins all over the park as the score sped to 35-0 in the next two overs. Vi­jay was the first to go, out driv­ing again, and caught at sec­ond slip off Mitchell Starc (1-18). It fiz­zled out the In­dian mo­men­tum, even as Rahul con­tin­ued play­ing his shots.

Pu­jara sur­vived a scare in the 24th over, us­ing DRS to over­turn a caught-be­hind de­ci­sion off Lyon. But two balls later, Aus­tralia’s des­per­a­tion for a wicket paid off as Rahul edged be­hind off Josh Ha­zle­wood (1-25).

(Clock­wise from left) In­dia’s Chetesh­war Pu­jara plays a shot as Aus­tralian field­ers re­act on Day 3 of the first Test at the Ade­laide Oval in Ade­laide on Satur­day; Aus­tralia cap­tain Tim Paine (L) cel­e­brates In­dia skip­per Vi­rat Kohli’s dis­missal; A young In­dian fan en­joys the ac­tion —AP/Reuters

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