Cheteshwar Pujara’s monk-like focus enabled India to breathe easy as the home side finished at a steady 360/6 at stumps on Day 3 of the Ranchi Test, still 91 runs behind Australia’s first innings total. Pujara looked ultra-diligent and shepherded his team with his remarkable unbeaten knock of 130 off 328 balls.
After starting off on a steady note, the hosts began to lose their foot as skipper Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and Karun Nair fell cheaply. Ravichandran Ashwin also struggled to perform. While wickets fell at one end on a consistent basis, Pujara continued his superior work with little distraction and loads of finesse.
Murali Vijay, playing his 50th Test, was the only batsman apart from Pujara who could make any significant contribution to India’s total. The Tamil Nadu right-handed batsman resumed at his overnight score of 42 and went on to hit 82 before losing his wicket.
At the post day interview, Vijay talked about India’s performance and Pujara’s epic knock.
“I wouldn’t rate it as good innings,” said M Vijay.
“But I fought out there, and that’s what matters. KL batted really well, I wanted to feed off his energy. I just wanted to play tight cricket. Today I wanted to push myself a little harder.
“Pujara was rock solid, hopefully, he can put up a great show for us tomorrow. Definitely, run scoring was difficult, they too bowled very good areas. If I had gone through to lunch, it would have been a different story altogether.”