Calm In­dia turn the screw on Aus­tralia

Pu­jara soldiers on but cap­tain Kohli’s dis­missal gives hosts a glim­mer of hope in the first Test

Bangkok Post - - CRICKET -

>> ADE­LAIDE: In­dia built a 166-run lead over Aus­tralia on the third day of an ab­sorb­ing open­ing Test in Ade­laide yes­ter­day 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.

“I think it’s slightly in our favour,” said In­dian pace­man Jasprit Bum­rah.

“The late wicket was a good thing for them and the first ses­sion to­mor­row will be very im­por­tant. If we cap­i­talise on that, it will leave us in a very good place in this match.”

He added that Pu­jara was key. “He’s showed a lot of pa­tience and that is the key el­e­ment in Test cricket. A great knock and hope­fully he con­tin­ues to­mor­row.”

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.

Bat­ting in front of his home crowd, Head said he was dis­ap­pointed to not add more runs but be­lieved the game was “evenly poised”.

“It’ll be a big first hour to­mor­row, if we can get a cou­ple of wick­ets and put them un­der pres­sure. I think the bowlers did a won­der­ful job to con­tain and con­tinue to put pres­sure on them tonight.”

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 en­ticed Vi­jay into nick­ing an at­tempted drive to Peter Hand­scomb in the slips and he was out for 18.

Rahul played some au­da­cious strokes 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.

The pro­lific 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.

In­dia’s Chetesh­war Pu­jara bats dur­ing the first cricket Test be­tween Aus­tralia and In­dia in Ade­laide.

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