PU­JARA’S TON HELPS IN­DIA CLAW BACK

Millennium Post - - Front Page -

ADE­LAIDE: Chetesh­war Pu­jara rose to the oc­ca­sion with a maiden cen­tury in Aus­tralia, pulling In­dia out of a deep hole to a re­spectable 250 for nine on day one of the first Test here on Thurs­day.

Pu­jara showed the same grit and gump­tion that is typ­i­cal of him en route a 246-ball 123 that kept In­dia in the game af­ter be­ing re­duced to 127 for six in the 50th over.

It took a bril­liant di­rect from Pat Cum­mins to re­move him on what hap­pened to be the fi­nal ball of an ab­sorb­ing day one of the four-test series.

Skip­per Vi­rat Kohli opted to bat in ideal con­di­tions but the top-or­der once again failed to ap­ply them­selves against the po­tent pace trio of Mitchell Starc, Josh Ha­zle­wood and Cum­mins.

Any­thing close to 250

looked a moun­tain to climb with In­dia reel­ing at 56 for four at lunch. But Pu­jara stood tall amid the ru­ins to save In­dia from em­bar­rass­ment on way to his 16th Test ton. His fight­ing ef­fort com­prised seven fours and two sixes.

The 30-year-old put on two cru­cial part­ner­ships with the

lower-or­der bats­men to en­sure In­dia give their bowlers some­thing to bowl at.

Post tea, Pu­jara added 62 runs with R Ash­win (25) for the sev­enth wicket. The lat­ter played watch­fully, un­like the In­dian top-or­der, and played a great role in this mi­nor re­cov­ery.

Cum­mins (2-49) fi­nally got the break­through in the 74th over when Ash­win edged to se­cond slip. Ishant Sharma

(4) then put on 21 runs with Pu­jara, push­ing the score past 200 in the 79th over.

Ishant sur­vived a loud lbw shout via DRS, but Mitchell Starc (2-63) bowled him with a fuller de­liv­ery there­after. As he started to run out of part­ners, Pu­jara hit a few lusty blows to gather some quick runs.

Ear­lier, Pu­jara’s ef­fort was the sole sil­ver lin­ing af­ter In­dia were re­duced to 143-6 at tea.

This was af­ter a hor­ren­dous shot se­lec­tion by Ro­hit Sharma (37) left In­dia in the lurch at 86 for five in the 38th over.

Post lunch, Ro­hit and Pu­jara started off well as they added 45 runs for the fifth wicket.

While Pu­jara was se­date at one end, the for­mer took the lead in scor­ing as he hit sixes at will. Two came off Cum­mins; the first a pull shot that sailed for six and the other a proper cover drive that cleared the ropes as well.

It seemed that Ro­hit was in­tent on dig­ging In­dia out of this hole as he hit Nathan Lyon (2-83) for a six on the se­cond ball of the 38th over. Mar­cus Har­ris al­most caught it, with the ball barely cross­ing over the ropes and the um­pire took some time to call it a six.

That should have been a note of cau­tion for the bats­man, but he didn’t heed it and skied the very next ball for Har­ris to take an easy catch in the deep.

Rishabh Pant (25) too ar­rived at the crease with in­tent of at­tack­ing the bowl­ing. He scored two fours and a six in the space of a few de­liv­er­ies, be­fore Pu­jara asked him to calm down.

The duo then added 41 runs for the sixth wicket as In­dia crossed 100 in the 41st over, in­clud­ing five sixes sur­pris­ingly.

Pant didn’t look com­fort­able though as he was forced to play against his nat­u­ral game. And it showed when he edged Lyon be­hind to be dis­missed shortly be­fore tea.

In the morn­ing ses­sion, Ha­zle­wood (2-52) re­duced In­dia to 56 for four. The Aus­tralian pac­ers struck reg­u­larly with the new Kook­aburra ball and made in­roads into the In­dian top-or­der that never got go­ing.

Hanuma Vi­hari was left out as the vis­i­tors drafted in Ro­hit for the num­ber six spot. For Aus­tralia, Mar­cus Har­ris made his Test de­but as an­nounced a day prior.

AP/PTI

Chetesh­war Pu­jara cel­e­brates af­ter reach­ing his ton in Ade­laide

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