In­dia take stran­gle­hold on 1st Aus­tralia Test

Sunday Times (Sri Lanka) - - SPORTS -

ADE­LAIDE, Aus­tralia, Dec 8, 2018 ( AFP) - In­dia built a 166- run lead over Aus­tralia on the third day of an ab­sorb­ing open­ing Test in Ade­laide on Satur­day with dan­ger­man Chetesh­war Pu­jara not out 40, al­though the late wicket of master bats­man Vi­rat Kohli gave the home team a glim­mer of hope.

At stumps, the vis­i­tors were 151- 3, adding to their first in­nings to­tal of 250. Ajinkya Ra­hane was not out one, along­side Pu­jara who scored a gritty first in­nings cen­tury.

It was look­ing omi­nous for Aus­tralia with Kohli and Pu­jara com­pil­ing a 71- run third-wicket part­ner­ship, but spin­ner Nathan Lyon got a mas­sive break­through when he snared the In­dian skip­per for 34 near the close of play.

Aus­tralia were dis­missed for 235 just be­fore lunch, with Travis Head top scor­ing on 72 on a day hit by rain de­lays, leav­ing them 15 runs adrift.

In­dia got off to a solid start, with KL Rahul and Mu­rali Vi­jay en­joy­ing a 63- run part­ner­ship. Both failed to fire in the first in­nings and are bat­tling for one opener's spot once the in­jured Prithvi Shaw is fit again.

On a dif­fi­cult bat­ting track, Josh Ha­zle­wood bowled four straight maid­ens to keep them con­tained be­fore they be­gan find­ing their range.

Rahul hit a big six off Pat Cum­mins as the pair grew in con­fi­dence and they were rac­ing along be­fore Mitchell Starc got en­ticed Vi­jay into nick­ing an at­tempted drive to Pe­ter Hand­scomb in the slips and he was out for 18.

Rahul played some au­da­cious strokes, in­clud­ing a re­v­erse sweep, be­fore a loose shot to a Josh Ha­zle­wood ball found a big edge and he was caught be­hind for 44 by Tim Paine.

The un­flap­pable Pu­jara cru­cially sur­vived two de­ci­sions by the um­pire giv­ing him out, with both re­versed on re­view in a cruel blow to Aus­tralia.

In the first, he was ini­tially dis­missed caught be­hind off Lyon on eight, and in the sec­ond was ad­judged out lbw, also to Lyon, on 17.

Master-blaster Kohli, who emerged to boos from a sec­tion of the crowd, shunned his trade­mark flam­boy­ance to grind out runs be­fore jab­bing at a short ball from Lyon and Aaron Finch took an easy catch.

On the way, he reached an­other mile­stone, join­ing a select few In­di­ans -- in­clud­ing Sachin Ten­dulkar and Rahul Dravid -- to score 1,000 Test runs in Aus­tralia.

Ear­lier, Aus­tralia added just 44 runs to their overnight 191-7.

Bat­ting on his home ground, Head matched his high­est Test score but missed out on a cen­tury, adding just 11 to his overnight 61.

It sig­nalled a quick end for Aus­tralia, with the fi­nal wicket fall­ing next ball.

Af­ter two days of sti­fling hot weather, play be­gan 45 min­utes late in gloomy con­di­tions, with the Ade­laide Oval lights on.

It only lasted 3.4 overs be­fore the driz­zle be­gan again and the um­pires called them off af­ter Starc was caught be­hind for 15 by Rishabh Pant, get­ting an edge to a Jasprit Bum­rah de­liv­ery.

Play re­sumed af­ter an hour with Lyon ac­com­pa­ny­ing Head, who looked on track to bet­ter his pre­vi­ous best Test score against Pak­istan in Oc­to­ber be­fore prod­ding at a Mo­hammed Shami ball.

Ha­zle­wood padded up but was gone for a golden duck, again to the Shami-Pant com­bi­na­tion, leav­ing Lyon un­beaten af­ter a quick- fire 24.

For In­dia, Ravichan­dran Ash­win fin­ished with 3- 57 and Bum­rah had 3-47.


In­dia's bats­man Chetesh­war Pu­jara (C) bats against Aus­tralia dur­ing day three of the first Test match at the Ade­laide Oval

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