India in strong position after three days of first Test
Hamilton unwell but will attend FIA awards ceremony
ADELAIDE: First-innings century maker Cheteshwar Pujara again blunted Australia’s attack to put India in a strong position after a rain-interrupted third day of the first Test.
India reached stumps at 151 for three in its second innings, an overall lead of 166 runs.
Pujara was 40 not out and Ajinkya Rahane unbeaten on one run.
Pujara shared a 71-run third-wicket partnership with captain Virat Kohli.
They threatened to bat through the session before Kohli prodded to short-leg from the bowling of spinner Nathan Lyon.
Kohli made 34 from 104 deliveries but fell to Lyon for the sixth time in his Test career.
Kohli received a hostile reception from the Adelaide Oval crowd on his way to the crease and he was watchful against probing Australian bowling.
With footmarks to aim at, Lyon was the main threat but Pujara successfully reviewed decisions twice from his bowling.
India’s second innings was delayed due to rain interruptions either side of lunch.
Openers Murali Vijay and K.L. Rahul produced a 63-run partnership, their highest outside of India.
Vijay fell to Mitchell Starc for 18 and Rahul (44 off 67 balls) was dismissed just before tea by Josh Hazlewood.
The out-of-form Rahul only scored one run off his first 25 deliveries.
After seeing off Starc, he opened up and counter-attacked Pat Cummins, hitting a cover drive for six.
India had a first-innings lead of 15 runs after bowling out Australia for 235.
After sweltering conditions during the opening two days, only 10.4 overs were bowled in the first session.
Travis Head top-scored for Australia with 72 and equaled his highest Test score.
He received invaluable support from Lyon, who hit an unbeaten 24 from 28 balls.
India’s four-pronged attack shared the wickets with paceman Jasprit Bumrah and spinner Ravichandran Ashwin picking up three apiece. Australia resumed day three at 191 for seven but it was Lyon who stole the show after the early wicket of Starc.
Lyon dominated the strike in his partnership with Head and counter-attacked with a six off a hook shot from Mohammed Shami’s first delivery.
Two balls later, Head played away from his body to be caught behind and Hazlewood fell first ball, leaving Shami on a hattrick when Australia bat in their second innings.
A crowd of 30,348 braved the inclement conditions to record the second highest attendance for a day’s play between the teams in Adelaide.
Sixteen overs were lost on day three after the rain delays. ST PETERSBURG: Five- time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton (pic) was a no-show at an official news conference before he was due to collect his trophy, with his Mercedes team saying he felt unwell.
They said the Briton, who was in St Petersburg, was attending the awards ceremony, however.
“I think maybe he’s not coming to the press conference because he’s fed up with always the same questions from the same guys,” said Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff when questioned about his driver’s absence.
“No, he’s not well. He’s attending the championship celebrations and that’s what matters,” added the Austrian.
Ferrari’s runner-up Sebastian Vettel and teammate Kimi Raikkonen did attend.
Wolff said Hamilton had barely made a mistake on track this year but was still looking for ways to improve and had discussed that on the plane to Russia.
Mercedes are collecting the constructors’ championship trophy for the fifth year in a row, a feat only previously achieved by Ferrari.
Under F1’s sporting regulations, the top three drivers in the championship must attend the prize giving ceremony.
Hamilton has not hidden his dislike of awards ceremonies in the past, while media commitments were also cut back last season.
After the last race in Abu Dhabi in November, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen joked that finishing fourth overall in the championship at least meant he would not have to attend the awards ceremony.
“Lucky you,” replied Hamilton, who has won four of the past five championships with Mercedes and finished runner-up in the other.
In 2016, his then-world champion teammate Nico Rosberg shocked F1 by using the pre-awards news conference to announce his retirement from the sport.